10/22 – Socratic Seminar ASP Ch 2 & 3

Wahooo! 3rd hour today arrived at an interesting conclusion quite early and 5th hour was pure FUN.

If you were in the outer circle and you didn’t get to contribute, you may contribute here in the comments. Click on “LEAVE A COMMENT” and type (rant) (pontificate) (elaborate) away.

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8 thoughts on “10/22 – Socratic Seminar ASP Ch 2 & 3

  1. This is from Rachel S, actually, but she posted before today’s post was up. She wrote:

    “I wrote about the impact/role/affect of the war and rivalry on the characters, as well as the story in general. I think that the war represents a couple things. I think that generally it represents the conflict between the characters. However, on a deeper level I think it represents the personal struggle that Gene, and I suppose Finny too, are having. Gene feels obligated to do things that Finny wants him to. This is shown well in the river jumping scene where Gene realizes that he wouldn’t even have needed anyone to save his life at all if he wasn’t there, and that was all because of Finny. Gene always seems to be going back and forth between whether Finny is good or bad for him, should he do this or that. His personal “war” is that of finding where, or if at all, Finny fits in to his life. Just like in any war, things change and adapt to the situation, and after the swimming pool scene, their relationship isn’t the same, Finny has changed from his boisterous self into a more personal self when he decides not to share his record breaking moment with others. Even though they are “best friends”-which is stated over and over again in chapters 2 and 3, there seems to be an underlying rivalry between the two. Also, this isn’t so much about this particular answer, but going back to the original question: The war seems to be a far away thing that almost feels unreal or unreachable. These students are living in a fairly relaxed world, it’s summer and the adults are not present very much, they play lots of games. This is very different from the war situation that is happening elsewhere.”

    • I completely agree with you on how this situation is a bit of a war. But I feel there is a bit of a problem with that-in a war, both sides obviously know they are in a battle. We know that this “war” is between Gene and Finny, but I feel like Finny isn’t really seeing this war actually happening. Even though this book is from Gene’s perspective, I feel that Finny doesn’t seem to be fighting Gene because he seems so perfect (as we said in discussion Per. 5) that he doesn’t realize it because he believes that the two of them are such good friend.

      But in contrast, if Finny realizes that they are in a war, then his challenges, such as when they jump off the tree, are like his attack. This would mean that Gene’s defense/counterattack to this challenge is to fulfill the challenge. Sadly we can’t really get a glimpse into Finny’s thoughts, so it does complicate these two sides of this question I guess.

      Along with that, when you said how this war was so far away, it also appears to me that this subject of war between them too seems a bit unreal too. They are “best friends” having a fun time in school, yet they are having a war…not what I would usually expect.

  2. I agree with Rachel that the war represents the personal war that is going on between Gene and Finny. The war is constantly mentioned but typically there is a winner in a war. Who will win in this personal war?
    Gene doesn’t really want to do what Finny says most of the time but he does it. He never says exactly why but I think there might be a part of Gene that doesn’t know how or want to be without him. The way he always describes Finny as an amazing and god-like character and nothing negative signals there are deeper feelings between them not yet explored. This isn’t as clearly seen until the end of chapter 3 when they are at the beach.
    In the 3rd period discussion, we explored the idea that Finny is a Jesus character. Going off of this, I believe Gene is a disciple because of how he follows Finny and does what he says and how he describes him but which of the 12 is he? Could he be like Peter who denies him or Judas who betrays him? Or is he just a disciple who follows Finny faithfully?

  3. WOW! So many different ideas today in 5th period about the waves. I personally think there is a reversal of the roles in the waves scene (when Gene is riding the wave then gets pulled under). I think that- and this is just a guess here (and foreshadowing- sorry Mrs. B!)- but I think that Gene is supposed to represent Finny, and the wave is supposed to represent Gene or his power over the relationship (depending on whether you’re going for the literal comparison or the metaphorical one). As it is described, at first, Gene (Finny) is in relative control of the wave and is riding on top. But when the wave (Gene) comes again, it (he) is stronger, and is now in control and able to “knock down” Gene (Finny). I feel this is foreshadowing that, in the future, Gene will do either one of two things. Either he will literally “knock him down” or hurt him in some way physically, or he will gain control of the relationship and sort of “pull Finny under”. And it has to be Finny, because he is portrayed as “practically perfect in every way”, and perfect characters have a tendency to die (sorry, I just had to use that description, even though Mary Poppins doesn’t kick the boot in the end).

  4. So today I didn’t get to talk about my leading question, which is cooperation and how that involves the characters.So I thought that cooperation is one of the main keys to finny and Gene’s relationship. I think that because Gene often forced into cooperating with finny to do something reckless, usually against the rules.However Gene says that if he doesn’t follow finny then their relationship would be in trouble, but if he does then everything is okay.So to me it seems like they both need to cooperate in order to have a stable relationship.

  5. Today in discussion it was decided that Finny represented Jesus. This fact explains Finny’s actions during the second baptism scene, when he breaks the school swimming record. “There was a complex moment when his body uncoiled and shot forward…”(35). This motion describes Finny’s dive, his flight in the air. This flight signifies his extraordinary talents and miracles. Jesus performed many miracles (some involving water) as did Finny, further supporting how he is a christ-like character.

    In the last few minutes of class as we were connecting the dots, I found another parallel between Finny and Jesus. Finny always seems to smooth talk his way out of trouble. In the tea party scene Mr. Patch-Withers’ became less angry after Finny rambles nonsense. “[Mr. Patch Withers’] seemed pleased or amused in some unknown corner of his mind. Phineas was going to get away with even this”(21). In the same way that Finny dodges trouble, Jesus dodges losing his reputation when talking to the Pharisees in the Bible. The Pharisees were always contradicting Jesus in the Bible, trying to poke holes in his message and ideals. But, in some ways like Finny, Jesus is able to talk and prove the Pharisees wrong.

    Lastly, we concluded that the relationship between Finny and Gene is complicated. Some people believed that Gene is resentful and jealous and that the friendship is unhealthy. I think Gene is ambivalent. After the tea party scene, Gene is disappointed that Finny didn’t get into trouble. “He had gotten away with everything. I felt a sudden stab of disappointment. That was because I just wanted to see some more excitement; that must have been it”(21). Then after they leave the party, Gene feels completely different. “[Finny] got away with everything because of the extraordinary kind of person he was. It was quite a compliment to me, as a matter of fact, to have such a person choose me for his best friend”(21). Jessica mentioned that Finny chose Gene but that Gene didn’t choose Finny as a friend. How true. This statement makes the friendship seem one-sided, as if it isn’t strong.

    Now I’m going to do some foreshadowing based off of the above sentences. Gene is the follower, as someone mentioned in discussion. In Bible context, a follower is a disciple. So if Gene is a disciple and this book follows the story of Christ (who dies), Gene will play a part in Finny’s death. Either he will betray him, as Judas Iscariot did to Jesus, or he will somehow deny/abandon the friendship as Peter did when he was questioned on whether or not he knew Jesus.

  6. I am Jonah Brook 5th Hour
    I noticed in the discussion today that the ocean wave scene was noticed as foreshadowing for Gene being unable to overcome a future event in the book, but even earlier at the end of chapter 2 Gene almost dies by falling of the tree. Now while Phineas saves Gene, Gene recognizes that Phineas got him in that dangerous situation to begin with. The ocean scene is almost identical to the tree scene with the exception that Finny didn’t save Gene. Now Gene would have never gone to the beach without Finny suggesting it, and because Gene follows Finny throughout the book he had to follow. The book has kept with the idea that Finny leads Gene into bad situations and leads Gene out of them, but the scene with the ocean is foreshadowing that Phineas will lead Gene into a problem that either Finny can’t solve or won’t solve. The idea of won’t solve comes from the school tie scene where Finny is shone to be extra manipulative and the scene in chapter 1 where Phineas makes Gene jump off the tree. Finny will make a test and manipulate Gene to do it and watch as Gene fails.

    Now for the friendship part of the discussion it is clear that Gene and Finny are more than just friends as Gene couldn’t say Finny was his best friend because that wouldn’t have conveyed the feelings Gene had for Finny because at the beginning of chapter 2 they had both watched a sunset and wrestled. In the “Its all about sex” wrestling was a clear metaphor for sex, and of course sunsets are romantic symbols in literature. Now the sunset and wrestling were not described in great details the frequent use of “friendship” between them was almost as if Gene needed to remind himself that he and Finny were just “friends.”

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