Socratic Seminar Comments -Last Call

As of 8:00 a.m. tomorrow (10/16), the blog will be “closed” to outer-circle Socratic Seminar comments.

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6 thoughts on “Socratic Seminar Comments -Last Call

  1. In the scene where Brinker, Finny, Gene, and others are talking about how Finny broke his leg the words “black” and “cold” are repeated. I think this foreshadows Finny’s death because black and cold are never meant to symbolize anything good but almost always something bad. Its also important how they’re used when talking about Finny breaking his leg because thats he ends up dying in the end by his broken leg leaking bone marrow that got to his heart.
    Also, during the conversation today somebody brought up how they thought Finny and Gene rebuilt the relationship they had before, but I don’t think they did. I think Gene never forgave himself for hurting Finny, and so though he acted like everything was fine with Finny, he always felt bad inside.

  2. The trial scene has a lot of foreshadowing of Finny’s death. On page 158, Gene describes the Assembly Room: “I could remember staring torpidly through these windows a hundred times out at the elms of the Center Common. The windows now had the closed blankness of night, a deadened look about them, a look of being blind or deaf. The great expanses of wall space were opaque with canvas, portraits in oil of deceased headmasters, a founder or two…a young hero now anonymous who looked theatrical in the First World War uniform in which he had died.” The words “torpidly” (lifelessly), “deadened,” “deceased headmasters,” and the dead young hero repeat the idea of death over and over in just one paragraph. The description of the windows as blank also reminded me of a description of a corpse’s eyes. All of this sets a mood of death so that when Finny falls, we know what will happen.

  3. I missed the seminar today! But I noticed a couple of things while I was reading.
    On page 169, Finny starts crying and runs out of the room. He also uses the F word for the first time, and I thought that was pretty significant in showing how upset he was. Finny realized that what Gene did was not an accident right before he fell down the stairs. I think this is symbolizing how Finny is unable to love Gene anymore.
    If going up the stairs is sex, and sex is shared between two people who love each other, then maybe falling down the stairs symbolizes the end of the friendship, because after Finny knows what Gene did they can no longer love each other.

    Another thing I thought was really strange was that Gene didn’t cry when he found out Finny was dead. He said it was because he felt like it was his own death, his own funeral..but Finny was supposedly his best friend. I think this proves what we predicted throughout the entire book, which is that Gene did not love Finny as much as Finny loved Gene.

  4. There is a quote on page 166 about what Leper saw when Finny fell out of the tree that has a ton of symbolism and importance in it. He says, “I could see both of them clearly enough because the sun was blazing all around them,” a certain singsong sincerity was developing in his voice, as though he were trying to hold the interest of young children,” and the rays of the sun were shooting past them, millions of rays shooting past them like- like golden machine-gun fire.” He paused to let us consider the profoundly revealing exactness of this phrase. “That’s what it looked like, if you want to know. The two of them looked as black as- as black as death standing up there with this fire burning all around them.” First, he mentions young children, relating to the innocence of Finny and the “pre-war” and “pre-fall” innocence. Then he references the war, how the fall was like the beginning of the war saying the sun looked like “golden machine-gun fire”. Both black and death are also like the war; gloomy, colorless, and death plays a big role in this story, it is mentioned a lot and used to describe many things, like with the suicide club. And lastly, the fire symbolizes war and also sex. According to Foster, a scene with fire is a sex scene.

  5. I find it interesting that we never really see Gene actually formally apologize to Finny about breaking his leg, twice. Yes, there is two whole scenes where he tries to get Phineas to understand that he did it, but not to actually say he’s sorry and receive Finny’s acceptance and forgiveness. But this could circle back to the fact that Gene is a part of Finny so that would be like Finny apologizing to himself for his own eventual death.

  6. I think the title “A Separate Peace” is talking about Gene. All through out the book Gene is jealous of Finny which causes him to knock Finny out of the tree. All the other boys are very worried about Finny and Gene feels bad too. But afterwards he is more independent and doesn’t try to be in the spotlight as much, so you could say he found peace within himself. Then at the very end of the book after Finny dies Gene says he was, “glad he fought his war at Devon,” referring to the struggle he and Finny had with their relationship. Even though everyone is worried about the real war going on Gene has a separate peace because the war between Finny and him are over.
    The snowball fight Finny starts is another type of war. Gene is worried about Finny falling again but Finny is very optimistic and tells Gene he wont fall. Right now the snowball fight is Finny’s own kind of war until he is stronger and able to fight in the real war which he is not expected to part take in, but still believes his leg will be stronger despite everyone’s concern.

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