10/29 Seminar over Chapters 6 & 7

Today we had our seminar. Both classes earned the right to add online comments, so fire away.

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5 thoughts on “10/29 Seminar over Chapters 6 & 7

  1. What I found interesting was the very last paragraph of chapter 6. Finny tells Gene that he should play sports for him because he no longer can. Gene felt a “soaring sense of freedom” to being a part of Finny. It seems as if Gene has been waiting for Finny’s approval all along, from dressing up in Finny’s clothes, to letting his anger out on Quackenbush. I think Gene feels a sense of “relief” because he doesn’t need to compete with Finny anymore. He always was jealous of Finny and trying to convince himself that they were “even”. I think that Gene feels this sense of freedom because he doesn’t have to fight in a constant battle between him and Finny any longer. Along with that, Gene seems to want to live through Finny, because he struggles to identify who he is, so he finds it easier to live through Finny, someone who is confident and charismatic.

  2. I think that the scene with Quakenbush was particularly meaningful. One of the main points from this scene was that Quakenbush Is is a “vampire”. I know this because he fits the elements given to us by Foster: He is older and he strips away Gene’s dignity to make himself feel superior. The other thing that I got from this scene was that Gene feels “crippled” himself because of what he did to Finny. I think that this is important because Gene is again connecting himself to Finny by transforming his guilt into a “shared pain” between them. When Quakenbush refers to him as maimed, it hits that sore spot within Gene that makes him lash out.
    The fall into the river is a baptism. Afterwards Gene begins to see his guilt in a new light. The fall into the river is also important because his slip into the river also represents his “slip” from Devon’s rules. Just like the fall into the river was dirty, Gene also seems to be “dirtyed” by the event. This also seems to correspond with the change is season, the summer to winter session at school, which brings harsher enforcement from adults, and Phineas’s leave. In a way he has also slip from the friendship he and Finny had before the accident. However this is different when Finny calls and he seems to reassert his power over Gene, saying if he can’t play sports that Gene will have to do it for him. This is also an important scene because Gene admits again that, in a sense, he is becoming Finny.

  3. In Chapter 6, Finny is presented as a Christ figure. Gene thinks of Phineas standing on the prow of a canoe with his arms outstretched, which is a very Christ-like image, as he is both “walking on water” and he also has his arms outstretched. Gene also uses the word “exaltation,” which is often used in a religious context. The view of Phineas as a Christ figure suggests that he is caring and forgiving, rather than manipulative as he was presented in previous chapters. This is supported by the fact that even though Gene told him that he was the one who jounced the limb, Phineas greets him enthusiastically the end of Chapter 7. This could also show that the author is emphasizing forgiveness as an important theme of the novel.

  4. I agree with Rachel’s comment here that Gene falling into the river is a baptism, in that that is when the old, quite and academic Gene dies, and out from the river emerges a new, Phineas-like Gene. Afterwards, Gene goes down the to the dungeon and has a conversation with all of the boys down there. As he has the conversation it’s very clear that this is not the old Gene, as he seams to talk much more openly, sarcastically, and like Finny. He even goes out of his way to essentially humiliate one of the younger boys down there. On his way back up, however, Gene overhears one of the boys say, “Funny, he came all this way down here and didn’t even have a smoke.” What this here tells us is that Gene doesn’t do what most people who go down to the dungeon do, which is to have a smoke. The way the boy says this statement with surprise suggests that this is what boys who come down here normally do. From that I gathered That Gene can never be the new Finny. If he truly were Finny, he wouldn’t just go down there to talk and boost about himself, he would do what is expected of boys who come down there; which is to have a smoke.
    And another thing about when he falls into the river; I believe that as well as being a baptism, it is also somehow a “vampire.” Going off of what Ellen said in the class discussion today, the rebirth that occurs in the river seams to also be a death of Gene’s innocence because now Gene doesn’t seem to care about what he says or how his actions effect others. In the dungeons, when asked if he shook Finny off the tree, he sarcastically jokes: “Well, first I stole all his money. Then I found that I cheated on his entrance tests to Devon and I blackmailed his parents about that, then I made love to his sister…” Now he sarcastically jokes about having sex with his best friend’s sister just for the sake of being cool, whether or not his best friend would be hurt by the joke if he had heard it, as opposed to before he fell into the river when he always cared about his best friend’s feelings. Now, Gene openly humiliates younger boys in front of their friends just for the snake of looking superior to them ultimately so that he will be liked by others, as opposed to before when all he was concerned about was being liked by Finny.

  5. I was remembering that one of the foster chapters we did was about seasons. In chapter 7,Levi mentioned the first little snow fall then the really heavy snow. One of the seasons notes was that winter meant death. I think the first little snowfall was the “death of Finny”. His sports and athletics were taken away from him. Then te book mentioned that there was heavy snow for a week and it kept getting worse and worse. When Gene told Finny that he moved the branch that’s when Finny got mad and their relationship stared to go bad, like the snow. I think the snow is foreshadowing a bigger “death” whether it’s Finny or Gene or someone else. I also think this represents how the war is as well. When Teagan mentioned what America dos before we went to Eurpoe. There is still a bigger death to come.

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