In A Separate Peace by John Knowles, with what realization does Chapter Three open?

1 Answer | Add Yours

scarletpimpernel's profile pic

scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

At the end of Chapter Two in A Separate Peace, Finny pressures Gene into climbing the tree by the river so that they can jump off and form the Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session. Once he is out on the branch, Gene turns to Finny and loses his balance for a moment. He would have fallen to the ground far below if Finny had not grabbed him. After seconds of terror, Gene makes his way farther out onto the branch and jumps successfully into the water. Later that night after the shock has worn off, he recognizes the true peril he was in and that Finny saved his life.

However, when Chapter Three opens, Gene begins to resent Finny because he views Finny as the cause of his near-death experience. He thinks bitterly,

"I wouldn't have been on that damn limb except for him. I wouldn't have turned around, and . . . lost my balance" (33).

Although Gene convinces himself that he owes Finny no loyalty or gratitude, he does not act upon his realization. Instead, he goes along with Finny's Super Suicide Society meetings even when he would rather stay behind. At this point in the novel, he hates himself for allowing Finny to have such sway over him, and he resents Phineas for putting out edict after edict for all of the boys to follow.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,928 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question