A Seperate Peice Essay Research Paper Gene — страница 10

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coming back from his expedition to the beaver dam. Gene narrowly averts Brinker’s temper from flaring up on Leper, and as they walk away, Brinker tells Gene he is tired of school and wants to enlist tomorrow. Gene feels a thrill at the thought of leaving his old life to join the military, and that night he sits under the stars and decides to enlist himself. When he returns to his room, however, he finds Finny there and forgets about the rest of the day. Gene likes Brinker in spite of his Winter Session ways, but his joke makes him extremely nervous. His anxiety attracts attention and threatens to turn Brinker’s prank into an interrogation, which foreshadows the mock tribunal at the novel’s climax. Gene mentions the many masks that Devon students wear in public to disguise

their inner thoughts and feelings (as well to reveal them, to some extent). His own mask of innocence is somewhat transparent, causing more suspicion than it dispels. Gene worries when someone notices that he is not smoking despite coming all the way to the Butt Room, but no one gives the matter any further attention. The boys feel the War’s influence strongly in this chapter; their patriotism runs high and they are all eager to enlist. Gene says the War creeps into their lives subtly like the snow that year, which falls playfully and then disappears before coming on in full force. The War is just a bore at first, in Brinker’s words, but it suddenly seems very real and immediate for the boys when they see the troops passing by on the train. Brinker and the other boys scorn

Leper’s gentle, naturalistic hobbies and Quackenbush’s patience, and they chafe at the seeming futility of their studies. Brinker even scorns his own activities as a class politician (yet another transformation). Gene is excited by the possibility of breaking away from his old life to start over in the military. He is tired of the complexities he has woven into his life and yearns for the simplicity and homogeneity of the military. He knows it will not be a good life, but he accepts a tinge of morbidity in everything he loves, and when it is not there (as with Finny) he puts it there himself. The appeal of the War for him is that the dangers are all clear. He has been waiting for someone else to voice the idea of enlisting, and he quickly follows along with Brinker’s plan.

Gene’s ideas of the importance of place appear again as he considers his options under the cold, unromantic, northern stars, which seem made for hard decisions (as opposed to the dreamy, nostalgic stars of his home in the south). Gene decides he does not want to watch the War slowly chip away at what remains of the peace of the Devon summer (emphasizing the importance of place, again); he would rather face the crisis of the War right away at some other location. He feels he owes nothing to anyone and is free to enlist whenever he chooses. Then Finny appears, and the encroachment of the military abruptly falls away, like the first snowfall of winter. Finny uses crutches and accepts Gene’s help in making up his bed. The next morning, Brinker bursts in and starts to ask if Gene

is ready to enlist before he sees Finny there. They tell Finny about Brinker’s idea, and his unenthusiastic reaction lets Gene know that he does not want him to leave. Gene tells Brinker, to Finny’s obvious relief, that he no longer wants to enlist, and they drop the idea. As Gene and Finny make their way through the ice to their first class, Finny suggests they cut class to give him a chance to see the school. They set out immediately across campus for the gym. They go down to the locker room, and Finny asks Gene what team he joined. Gene tells him he did not try out for any teams and starts to give him an excuse about the diminished importance of sports during the War. Finny declares that there is no war, it is all a hoax orchestrated by the adult establishment to keep

young people in their place. Gene asks why only he can see through this trick, and Finny replies it is because he has suffered, an answer that surprises them both. An awkward silence follows, and Gene, reaching for some appropriate gesture, goes over to the exercise bar and begins doing chin-ups. Finny tells him to do thirty and directs him with his voice as he counts them. Finny tells Gene he wanted to be an Olympic athlete, and that now he will have to train him to go in his place. Finny convinces him to go along with his plan despite his objections that the war will preempt the Olympics in 1944. Finny begins to train Gene, and Gene tutors Finny in his classes; they are both surprised by their progress. One morning, as Gene runs a course around the headmaster’s house under