a separate peace chapter 1 summary

Finny's rebelliousness is again reinforced by the swimming incident; he does not see a point in following the rules and making his record official, because others' recognition is not nearly as important to him as his own.

From a general summary to chapter summaries to explanations of famous quotes, the SparkNotes A Separate Peace Study Guide has everything you need to ace quizzes, tests, and essays. Finny's dream of the 1944 Olympics becomes a shared reality between the friends as the former athlete trains his replacement. There are certain things that Finny religiously does or refrains from doing, like saying prayers though he is not terribly religious, or stating his height as 5'8 _".

The first chapter introduces the frame in which the novel is to take place. Gene goes onto the diving limb with Finny, and loses his balance; Finny stops Gene from what could have been a very dangerous fall, and Gene soon realizes that his friend saved his life.

Since his last year as a student was in 1943, the present time must be 1958. John Knowles's A Separate Peace Chapter Summary. © copyright 2003-2020 Study.com. Gene has grown beyond his school and is no longer a part of it; yet the school and his memories of what happened here continue to shape him in ways he feels compelled to explore and finally to understand. Finny and Gene bike to the beach, where they spend a day and night together.

Later, after the war, Gene looks back and understands that he fought his real war at Devon. There are some specific places Gene revisits, both of which bring back memories of how terrified Gene was in those days. Nothing stays the same 'not a tree, not love, not even a death by violence' thinks Gene. Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!


Although Finny's knowledge of world affairs is scant, he discusses the subject of the bombing of central Europe with youthful abandon, and is not corrected or challenged on the subject, even with his lack of knowledge.

Changed by this encounter with his past, Gene heads back across the wet fields.

Have you ever gone back to a location where a significant event in your life took place?

A Separate Peace tells a story of initiation — the account of Gene Forrester's growth from adolescence into adulthood during World War II. Again, Gene portrays Finny as a person who is a harmonious conglomeration of many contradictory elements, which Gene seems to question, though Finny certainly does not. 3 chapters | Finny even seems to look perfect, according to Gene's description; he sports a "movie-star tan," and strangers on the street can hardly help but notice him and his good looks. We learn that Gene is sarcastic and scared and in the process of being dared to climb the tree and jump into the river by his best friend, the daredevil athlete and central focus of the the narration, Phineas (for more character information, see the Character Profile section).

High in the tree with his friend, Gene impulsively jounces the limb and causes Finny to fall.

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics. Finny's status as the best athlete inspires Gene to strive to become the best student in the school. As he stops for coffee, he concludes that Leper's "escape" must have been from spies.

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A Separate Peace begins with Gene Forrester, our narrator, visiting the prep school in New Hampshire he attended as a young man during World War II – the Devon school. Summary. We see that Finny is able to do well in his studies and sports and be a great member of his school overall, like Gene is; he has some discipline and a definite ability to achieve, and also to fit in, as Gene does as well. Get the eBook on Amazon to study offline. Gene insists that he acted without hatred — blindly — and Finny accepts the explanation with relief.

The tree seems smaller to Gene, like "the giants of your childhood, whom you encounter years later and find that they are not merely smaller in relation to your growth, but that they are absolutely smaller, shrunken by age" (6). Although Finny is a great rebel, as seen in Chapters 1 and 2, Finny is also a walking contradiction in that he does believe in rules to the spontaneity and chaos that take him.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member. Earning Your New Hampshire High School Diploma! Upon his visit, Devon takes its place in Gene's mind as a symbol of innocence, and of the youth that he is lost; he realizes when he is there how much he has changed since being a student there.

The fateful tree looms large in the past. Gene's recognition of the changes in Devon shows the ways he himself has changed. A Separate Peace Summary Chapter 1: The narrator, Gene, returns to the Devon School in New Hampshire, where he was a student with his friend Phineas 15 years ago, just as World War II began.

study However, when Gene gets angry with Finny in the next chapter, Gene's treatment of Finny changes dramatically; Gene projects his feelings about Finny into Finny's character, and also reveals Finny's academic challenges, which Gene had glossed over by making Finny out to be the perfect, all-around "model boy" in previous chapters. The beginning of Chapter 3 is a great contrast with the ending of Chapter 2 in terms of both tone and sentiment.

Gene's uncertainty, his unwilling obedience, and his sudden euphoria after the jump represent an early expression of the mixed feelings he has for Finny. Finny, on crutches, returns to school and is still Gene's roommate. Gene is with Phineus (Finny) and a few other boys, as Finny always liked to run with a group. Later that day, in an operation to set the leg again, Finny dies when some marrow from the broken bone enters the bloodstream and stops his heart. A very important transformation has occured for Gene during the fifteen years since he has last seen Devon: "I could see with great clarity the fear I had lived in, which must mean that in the interval I had succeeded in a very important undertaking: I must have made my escape from it" (2). Aside from being shinier, Gene doesn't find the school much different from when he was a student. Gene also admits to experiencing fear's accompaniment, joy, during his days at Devon. Here, it is a nickname for the quiet, aloof Elwin Lepellier. 's' : ''}}. He notices that the ocean appears dead, as does the sleeping Phineas. When Gene revisits the school, he dwells on the sight of the old marble steps in the First Academy Building, and seeks them out especially, as if they have some great significance in his life.

The tree seems smaller than he remembers, much less isolated and imposing, because he has grown in height, and the tree has also been shriveled by age. courses that prepare you to earn At a distance, Gene follows Finny to the infirmary, hoping to talk with him alone.

Have you ever faced something that used to scare you and discovered much later that it is not as daunting as you remembered? Why Gene treats this event with such a tone of doom is unclear at this point; Finny's purpose in this swimming event was just to see if he could do it, while Gene treats it like some dark secret that he doesn't want to keep. At each initiation, Gene and Finny make the first jump, but Gene never gets over his fear. Seeing these two significant monuments in Gene's history seems to have a healing impact on him. Gene walks through the campus on a bleak, rainy November afternoon, revisiting the buildings and fields he remembers — and especially two places he recalls as "fearful sites."

credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. Gene takes a very dramatic stance on Finny's record-breaking; he calls it "a mistake, a lie," and says it is a secret that he has to force it down into the recesses of his mind. The extent of Finny's ability to charm and persuade is explored in Chapter 2, with his encounters with and triumphs over authority coming to the fore.

Like a cinematic effect, the image of the adult Gene dissolves as the young Gene emerges, an indication that the novel will not be an adult's retelling of past events, but a reliving of the experience through the young boy's eyes. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of A Separate Peace and what it means. He leaves school.

Leper escaped the war and his mind is unhinged. He puts on some pants that Finny also wore, and begins... Gene and Finny talk in their dorm room.

Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. Gene's destination is a particular tree alongside the Devon River that appears to hold a special significance for our narrator. Gene is normally a conservative, conformist type person, but under Phineas' potent influence, he becomes more devil-may-care and consents to break the rules with his friend. from your Reading List will also remove any Devon is full of "permanent hanging gardens" of ivy, with the leaves on the trees also seeming "permanent and never-changing" (22).

A Separate Peace Summary and Study Guide.

Gene accepts the news without crying, because he feels as if he has died, too. In Chapter 3, Finny's characterization through Gene reaches a praise-filled peak; up to this point, Gene has painted a picture of a flawless super-athlete, a characterization soon to be marred in Chapter 4. Gene quits as assistant to the crew of the Naguamsett River rowing team. Gene Forrester, our narrator, returns to look at the school grounds fifteen years after he was a student there. The story is a first-person narrative, and the narrator is telling of events that took place fifteen years before the time he is recording the story; because of this, the tone is colored with nostalgia, and tempered with the narrator's feelings about his past. At this point in the novel, he does not say what meaning these steps have; but that he remarks on their qualities, especially the hardness, foreshadows their significance in future events. A Separate Peace essays are academic essays for citation. Gene jounces the tree limb and Finny falls, shattering his leg and ending his athletic pursuits. Finny invents blitzball, and all the senior boys in his dorm play it. The first rule is that Finny and Gene must jump from the tree at the beginning of every meeting; Gene cannot get used to this daredevil stunt, though he has done it many times before. Perhaps Finny was not completely the rebellious good-boy that Gene presents; after all, he is writing this from fifteen years afterward, and the narrative is tinged with memories that are a combination of emotion and fact. While the reader still is unsure why, Gene appears to be haunted by his past at the Devon School. Finny proposes that they go to the beach, which is far away and means they will be in big trouble if they are caught; Gene, against his better judgment, says he will.

© 2020 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. "It had loomed in my memory as a huge lone spike dominating the riverbank, forbidding as an artillery piece, high as a beanstalk," he says, his similes characterizing the tree as a great, forbidding mass (5). When Gene tells Finny the boys have been shoveling snow off railroad tracks, Fin... Gene is immersed in Finny's fantasy of peace, and he is happy. Under this tree, Gene and Finny now appear together, their physical similarities underscored, even down to height and weight; and yet, as the scene progresses, their fundamental differences emerge.


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