A Seperate Peice Essay Research Paper Gene — страница 6

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dives with a calm certainty he has never had before. Gene’s envy climaxes in this chapter and crushes Finny in its denouement. Finny’s teasing of Gene about his aspirations to be valedictorian causes Gene to evaluate the motives behind his ambitions–he realizes that they stem from an intensely competitive spirit and a fear of being shown up, which naturally results in envying someone as talented as Finny. Gene dislikes this tendency in himself, and he turns outward to see if he can find something along the same lines in Finny. He latches onto some rather dubious evidence and concludes Finny must harbor the same pettiness and duplicity that he does, and their friendship abruptly shatters in Gene’s mind. Not just this particular friendship, but the idea of friendship itself

dissolves for Gene, and he feels he can trust no one. He looks desperately for some thought to comfort him in his newfound misery and clings to the idea that whatever their external differences, he and Finny are even in enmity and cold, calculating self- interest. He hated Finny for breaking the swimming record; Finny must have hated him for his good grades. Gene interprets Finny’s increased studying as an attempt to even things out in the rivalry and increases his own efforts to make sure he stays ahead of Finny in the system of comparison he has devised. Gene deplores forgetting the rivalry for even a moment and letting himself fall periodically into affection for Finny again. He guards against the seductive beauty of the summer and actively tries not to be affected by the

joyfulness and promise of the days because he knows there is hate around him, and he wants to dwell on that alone. Gene becomes cunning and devious and assumes Finny is as well. He attends the Suicide Society meetings because he doesn’t want Finny to understand him the same way he understands Finny. Gene doesn’t want to be excelled at jumping off the tree, but he believes that outward contests don’t matter since he and Finny are the same on the inside with their “lonely, selfish ambition.” Gene believes Finny is just acting when he looks like he does not know what is wrong with him when he tells him Leper is about to jump, but Finny slowly proves to him that he is sincere and honestly doesn’t take things as seriously as he does. Finny casually tells Gene not to go to

the tree if he has other things to do, a thought which never occurred to Gene, for whom everything important takes place internally, so much so that he often cannot formulate plans for outward action. Gene is horrified when he realizes his mistake. The fear brought on by the ensuing doubt of his own understanding is worse even than that of the tree; Gene thinks he must have been utterly wrong in his opinion of Finny and decides Finny is much better than him on the inside. Gene climbs the tree completely stunned by his revelation and feels that nothing matters at all. When he jostles the limb, the narrative reveals no direct motivation or even intention; it is somewhat ambiguous as to whether he shook the limb on purpose or accidentally. The narrative generally reflects only what

Gene thinks at the present moment in the story in this chapter, without much guidance from Gene’s older self as the narrator. This allows the reader to believe along with Gene that Finny is a selfish, conniving back-stabber and also leaves one of the central questions of the novel, whether or not Gene intended to hurt Finny, open to interpretation. An important theme in the book begins to come out in this chapter, that of transformation. The first transformation in this chapter comes as Finny reminds Gene of Lazarus, a Biblical character brought back to life by the touch of Christ, as he lies on the beach and wakes from a deathly sleep. More subtle transformations are that of Finny’s friendship into betrayal and enmity and the transformation that occurs when Gene projects his

own envy and bitter competitiveness onto Finny. All these transformations occur entirely in Gene’s perception, but they generally result in real transformations of Gene’s attitude and behavior. Finny’s leg is shattered. Everyone speaks about Finny’s injury to Gene in the days following, but no one suspects him of any wrongdoing. Gene spends an increasing amount of time alone in his room. One day, he decides to put on Finny’s shoes, pants, and pink shirt; when he looks in the mirror, he sees himself as Finny and feels relieved. The feeling of transformation lasts through the night but is gone in the morning, and Gene is confronted once more with what he has done to Finny. That morning at chapel, Dr. Stanpole tells him Finny is feeling better and could use a visit. He