10/23-10/27 – A Separate Peace, ongoing

Friday 10/23

We had a reading day for Chapters 4 & 5 of ASP. Your lab book entries for ASP and LFA are all the same–you’re writing three questions (one of each type described on your Socratic Seminar Handout) and answering one. You can see details about that here under “Day 2.” And remember that your lab book looks something like this:

Socratic Seminar Journal Entries

Monday 10/26 

You had the usual writing day without me. Adding up all the writing days I’m missing (two due to illness and now two planned), I feel like I’m SOOOOOO out of touch with the day to day! 😦

…But I am reading and responding to your work as fast as I can. I’m also available for conferencing before and after school as well as during advisory, so please just ask!

The Task 2 deadline is the end of the trimester…two weeks away.

Tuesday 10/27

Socratic Seminar over Chapters 4 & 5. Feel free to comment here both 3rd and 5th hours earned the right to comment as necessary, since we had full seminars. 🙂

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6 thoughts on “10/23-10/27 – A Separate Peace, ongoing

  1. In think that Gene wares Finny’s clothes because he isn’t in love with him as a person, but the idea of him. So much to the point that he wants to be him because he is everything he isn’t; He’s able to influence people, he is much more willing and adventurous, he’s the better athlete and he is more popular. And so by trying on his clothes, he gets a brief glimpse into what it’s like to walk in Finny’s shoes. Literally. And so as a result of this, in Gene’s mind there is a one-sided rivalry between him and Finny. But, he never expresses it, letting the jealously and anger build up in side of him. Which is why I think he shakes the tree. He isn’t making a conscious and rational decision to to this, but rather letting his inner emotions take lead and putting logic to the side. In other words: his tightening of emotions reaches a point were they become so tight that they snap.

  2. (I was sick so I have no idea if this was mentioned in the Socratic seminar)
    Throughout chapter 4 the friendship made before disappeared almost instantly. Gene finds the one thing that he believes makes him equal with Finny, and he lets the desire to beat Phineas consume him. Because Gene gave into his hate he started to become like Phineas. This is found during the long after effects of Gene’s realizations, “I found myself describing to Mr. Prud’homme how Phineas and I had slept on the beach, and he seemed to be quite interested in it, in all the details, so much so that he missed the point: that we had flatly broken a basic rule”(47). He talked confidentially and with power now that he no longer looked to Phineas to do it for him. This could be a way of getting past the boundary guardian. He no longer need Finny and that is why he destroyed Phineas. That is why he jounces the tree limb. Phineas was completely destroyed by Gene. Not only is he unable to play sports, but Gene, his best friend, had caused his demise. In the chapter 2 and 3 discussion, Max Meyer had said that the book resembled a hero’s journey and a tragic hero. The truth at the end to chapter 5 show the realization moment whil the meantor in hero’s journey got “killed” or useless.

  3. During the Discussion, the class was split on whether Gene meant to cause Phineas to fall. I think that the Gene had no intention. Earlier in the book we learn that Gene feels that the branch is higher and higher and the water is farther away down. This provides a plausible explanation for Gene holding firmly to the tree trunk. After Phineas broke his leg, Gene tells him repeatedly that he purposely made him fall. This is common and is actually a term called survivor guilt. Gene was right there and blamed himself for Phineas falling because he was right there, watching, stunned. Finally in the scene were Gene was trying on Phineas’s pink tablecloth suit, I believe that Gene was paying an homage to Phineas, acknowledging that the fun loving, daring Phineas was gone due to his broken leg. He felt like he was Phineas in the colorful shirt, not because he wanted a little piece but rather he felt the energetic fun presence of Phineas in them. The presence that was gone.

    • I disagree with your statement that Gene didn’t mean to make Finny fall. Emma described how the way Gene was standing, alluded to a planned attack on Finny. Many examples were also found of jealousy that supported the idea that Gene did it on purpose.

      Not only do I think that Gene knew all along about his intentions, but I believe Phineas did too. In the hospital room Finny apologizes, after having described this feeling that Gene made him fall. Then a few months later as Gene is at Finny’s house trying to convince him of the truth, Finny denies it. This makes it easier for Gene to deny it because he can hide behind the reassurance of his friend. At the end of Chapter 3 and the end of Chapter 5, the concept of truth is brought up. I’m not sure what the significance is, but I feel this concept somehow connects the two chapters. (In Chapter 3 it is said that Gene doesn’t respond when Finny calls him a good friend because he was “stopped by that level of feeling, deeper than thought, which contains the truth” (40).

      I also disagree that the shirt scene was paying homage to Finny. Reading the passage I imagine an assassin trying on a king’s crown, not a friend paying homage. Then “[Gene] doesn’t go down to dinner” (54). This could be because he’s not hungry (and maybe I’m reading into it too much) or maybe their could be a relationship to the communion Foster chapter. Gene doesn’t go down to eat, further isolating him. With that shirt on he feels superiority and doesn’t feel like he needs to eat with anyone else. Also staying in the room, helps hide how he hurt Finny. If he doesn’t face people, he won’t need to face their questions and remember again what he did.

  4. Hmm. Sam. The other option is he did mean to do it (three active verbs in the sentence, only one passive) and decides to recant on his position to protect Finny.

  5. I was wondering about why Finny wasn’t more upset. Gene was devastated by the event and Finny almost seemed to be optimistic. Gene mentions on page 58 that Finny would never accuse him, even if he thought Gene did it. I think the reason that Finny didn’t feel the full affects of the accident and situation was because he is trying to make it easier on Gene. He can see the Gene is really taking it hard and he wants things to go back to “normal”, or to recover from the situation as much as possible. It’s pretty obvious that things will never go back to the way it was before. When they are talking about the accident, Finny deliberately denies the possibility that Gene could have done it on purpose. In fact, he seems hurt that Gene would even suggest it. Gene seems to have been more affected by the fall than Finny; dressing like him, almost wanting to BE him. The rivalry that was there before seems to be changed now. I totally agree with what Mrs.B was saying in class, in fact I wrote about this in a previous labook entry, that all of the explosive words in the passage she pointed out, tell us about the boy’s relationship: it’s like a war. Their relationship is devastating to both Gene and Finny in ways that I don’t think either of them were expecting. However, I think that inside Finny is more upset than he is letting on. I’m still not entirely sure why he’s is acting like this, typically in literature after an accident the victim is not like this. Like Issac said I think Gene is realizing that he has changed his own life drastically and he won’t ever get Ginny back in the same way.

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