Gene had very mixed feelings about Finny and they changed frequently as he became aware of new and deeper levels of emotion and reaction. At the time of the Butt Room incident, Finny was at his parents' home recovering from the broken leg after the first fall from the tree. Gene's feelings of guilt over causing him to fall were deeply felt but were caused by his envy of Finny's abilities and the ease with which Finny achieved many of the social and physical feats that Gene realized he couldn't equal. Gene couldn't simply admit all of this to the others in the Butt Room because he couldn't yet admit all of it to himself and because he was concerned about preserving his own position among the boys. The fictional scenarios Gene presented to explain his actions allowed him to shift the initial cause that led to the fall to Finny. At the end of the scene, Gene and Finny were seen by the others as being equals, both at fault in what was perceived by the other boys as being nothing too serious.