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A Separate Peace

by John Knowles
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What hold does dinner have on Gene?

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At Devon School one evening, the dinner bell rings. As soon as Gene hears it, he doesn't hesitate to answer its insistent call. But Finny has other ideas. He teases Gene for wanting to be on time for dinner before wrestling him to the floor. This little episode illustrates the differences in character between the two boys: Finny's very much a free spirit, whereas Gene's more of a conformist. After their good-natured rough-and-tumble, Gene and Finny realize that they're so late for dinner that they should just go straight to their rooms instead.

The next morning Mr. Prud'homme, the substitute teacher, comes by to give Finny and Gene a ticking off for missing dinner. But Mr. Prud'homme is soon won over by Finny's easygoing charm and winning personality, and so lets him off without a punishment.

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