A Separate Peace

What does Finny accuse Gene of striving for? Is he? Is Finny jealous?

What does Finny accuse Gene of striving for? Is he? Is Finny jealous?

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All the enmity in the novel comes from Gene, not Phineas. It is Gene who wishes to find a petty motive behind Finny's actions. He suspects Finny of wanting to "finish me for good on the exam," by having him accompany him to a Super Suicide Society meeting, but Finny is without malice. For, he looks at Gene with "an interested, surprised expression. 'You want to study?'....Don't go. It's only a game."

As Gene "was groping for what lay behind his words," he realizes that Finny "had never been jealous of me for a second. Now Gene knew there never was or could have been any rivalry between us. I was not of the same quality as he" (Chapter 4). Gene also reflects, "Perhaps I was stopped by that level of feeling, deeper than thought, which contains the truth."

Gene states that "it was what you had in your heart that counted." His return to Devon as an adult is a return to the sight where he felt an enmity and jealousy of a friend who had none in his heart. Gene cruelly shakes the limb on Finny because of this virtue in Finny as so often people resent others who possess what they themselves do not have, Gene, the adult realizes as he returns to Devon to find his "separate peace."