Seperate Peace Summary

A Separate Peace

Gene Forrester is a quiet, intellectual student at Devon School in New
Hampshire. During the Summer Session of 1942, he becomes close friends
with his daredevil roommate Finny, who has a talent for getting away
with mischief through his sincere, disarming charisma. Finny prods Gene
into making a dangerous jump out of a tree into a river, and the two
start a secret society based on this ritual. Gene envies Finny\'s
astonishing athletic abilities, and he begins to suspect that Finny
envies his superior academic achievements and has been taking steps to
distract him from his studies. His suspicions turn to hatred, but he
makes sure to maintain an appearance of friendship so Finny will not
suspect him.
Gene realizes he was grievously mistaken about the existence of any
rivalry between them one day when Finny expresses a sincere desire to
see Gene succeed. He goes to the tree to jump with Finny while he is
still in a state of shock from the force of his realization, and when
Finny gets out to the edge of the branch, Gene shakes it, causing Finny
to fall to the bank and shatter his leg. The doctor tells Gene that
Finny\'s athletic days are over. Gene goes in to see Finny and begins to
confess what he has done, but the doctor interrupts him and Finny is
sent home before Gene gets another chance.
The Summer Session ends, and Gene goes home for a brief vacation. On his
way back to the school from his home in the South, Gene stops by Finny\'s
house and confesses that he shook the branch on purpose. Finny refuses
to listen to him, and Gene takes back his confession and continues on to
school. World War II is in full swing, and the boys at Devon are all
eager to enlist in the military. A prominent class politician, Brinker
Hadley, suggests to Gene that they go off to enlist together, and Gene
agrees. That night he finds Finny has returned to school, though, and he
drops his plans to enlist, as does Brinker. Finny expects Gene to take
his place as the school\'s sports star, and when Gene protests that
sports no longer seem important in the midst of the War, Finny declares
the War is all a massive hoax.
Finny tells Gene he once had aspirations to go to the Olympics, and Gene
agrees to train for the 1944 Olympics in his place. Everyone is
surprised when a gentle, naturalistic boy named Leper Lepellier becomes
the first one in their class to enlist. Gene and Finny go on training,
shielded within their private version of world events. During a winter
carnival Finny has organized, a telegram arrives for Gene from Leper,
saying he has escaped and desperately needs him to come to his home in
Vermont. Gene goes and finds that Leper has gone slightly mad. Leper,
who was present at Finny\'s accident, reveals that he knows the truth
about what happened. Gene becomes frightened by Leper\'s ranting because
of its possible implications for his own reactions to military life, and
he runs away back to Devon. When Brinker hears of what has happened to
Leper, he laments in front of Finny that Devon has already lost two of
its potential soldiers. Gene, afraid that Finny will be hurt by this
remark, tries to get him to launch into his hoax story again, but Finny
lays it to rest.
Brinker has always harbored suspicions that Gene had something to do
with Finny\'s accident, and in an attempt to dispel them once and for
all, he organizes a midnight tribunal of schoolboys and has Gene and
Finny summoned without warning. They question the two about what
happened, but Finny is too confused about the whole thing to speak
conclusively, and Gene maintains he does not remember. They bring in
Leper, who was seen earlier that day skulking about the bushes, and he
begins to implicate Gene in causing the accident. Finny declares he does
not care about the facts and rushes out of the room. He falls down the
stairs and breaks his leg again.
Gene sneaks over to the Infirmary that night to see him, and Finny sends
him away