A Separate Peace

How was Finny's behavior different in front of Gene from the way it was in front of the other boys?


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Upon his return to bDevon, Finny proves to be his old self again, despite his bum leg, by making wisecracks immediately and expressing his distaste for Gene's work clothes. Finny looks very well and athletic again, completely unlike his small, invalid-like appearance at his home in Boston just a few weeks earlier. Gene helps Finny make up his bed, since there are no maids at the school that year, and notes how Finny is completely dignified and doesn't seem helpless in any way, although he does need Gene's assistance for some things.

Although Finny is injured and needs help, he manages to retain his dignity around Gene, even when he needs assistance. Around others, like Brinker for example, he stubbornly refuses to admit his limitations and will accept no help; but he and Gene seem to have some kind of silent agreement, that Gene will watch Finny and help out where he can, and that it will be a natural part of their relationship. A new kind of sensitivity marks their relationship that wasn't there over the summer; Finny is sure to keep quiet while Gene says his prayers, Gene makes up the bed for Finny, who doesn't ask for help but definitely needs it. Still, not everything is smoothed over for Gene, who is still dogged by guilt, and has a few identity issues to contend with.