Why would have being accused have been easier to deal with?
Gene admits that if anyone had been suspicious of what he had done to Finny he might have developed some defense of himself. What does Gene mean?
From Chapter 5
Guilt is a funny thing; and, it is one of the major themes of "A Separate Peace". Gene would have been able to defend himself better if someone had accused him because he could have spent his time coming up with his defense rather than feeling guilty about it. When people still think he's a saint when he believes he's not, the guilty feeling cuts deeper. It is easier to make other people out to be monsters when you feel justified. It is easier to live with yourself when you are a devil and everyone hates you rather than knowing how horrible you are and everyone loves you. It's ironic, too, that Gen drsses up in Finny's clothes in that same chapter and says, "But when I looked in the mirror it was no remote aristocrat I had become, no character out of daydreams" (62). During this "coming of age" time in his life, he is discovering who he is and who he isn't. At this point, he knows that he is capable of truly being mean.
This means that Gene would have rathered lied than no one expect him of doing this, because Gene is Finny's best friend. If he were accused, his guilt would have been less because some one suspected the truth. No one would have believed that Gene had purposfully hurt Finny; even Finny himself did not believe it; so Gene's guilt is much stronger. He hurt someone who should have been his best friend. It was all a big lie.
If anybody was suspicious or even accused Gene earlier in the book, he could have planed ahead and come up with a good excuse to make people like Brinker believe that he didnt do anything to hurt Finny. He'd rather lie than to feel guilty about it. In the end, Gene ends up telling Phineas about what he had done to him, and both of them had to face, even if they didn't want to believe it, what Gene had done. All the lies had ended up in one huge jumble of a mess and we can all learn (especially Gene) that it is easier to tell the truth at the beginning,no matter the consequene, it will save you and others the pain and guilt.
P.S.I know that it is easier said than done.