A Separate Peace

Symbols work by association. The tree, an important symbol in the story, is now associated with Finny's accident. What do you think the tree represents?

Finnys tree

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This particular tree is central to this novel. To Gene the tree seemed "tremendous". It was a "steely black steeple" on the riverbank. The tree symbolises risk and adventure. It is larger than life. It embodied his time at Devon and, in particular, his relationship with Finny. The tree changes in significance as the novel progresses. By the end of the novel when Gene re-visits Devon, the tree seems small and shrunken.