As Finny tries to deny that Gene meant to hurt him, he becomes more and more upset. Again, Gene seeks relief from his guilt through his identification with Finny. My students love how organized the handouts are and enjoy tracking the themes as a class.”, LitCharts uses cookies to personalize our services. Ironically, Finny himself has no Numbed by the terrible accident and fearing that he will be accused of causing it, Gene stays in his room. he sees himself as Finny, and a wave of relief comes over him. After all, Finny has already lost his ability to play sports, so he doesn’t want to also lose his best friend. Yet, visiting at Finny's home, Gene feels like a "wild man." Furthermore, readers will remember that Finny reached out to stabilize Gene when they were in opposite positions. enough to receive visitors; soon after, an ambulance takes Finny The leg, the doctor explains, is "shattered" — a term Gene cannot fully understand. CliffsNotes study guides are written by real teachers and professors, so no matter what you're studying, CliffsNotes can ease your homework headaches and help you score high on exams. And Gene, in turn, sees this reaction as a vindication of his own violent instinct; if Finny can express such murderous rage, Gene reasons, then his own action must be no worse than his friend's. This is why Gene breaks down in tears when Stanpole tells him that Finny will never play sports again. Finny tells him that he has the same shocked facial expression further with his confession and that he must take back his words, There he dresses in his roommate's clothes (including the pink shirt) and feels, for a time, as if he has become Finny — sharp, optimistic, confident. looked over to Gene to see if he could reach him. onto, and he latches onto his friendship with Gene. And when the doctor also announces that "sports are over" for Finny, he assigns Gene the terrible responsibility to try to help his friend to come to terms with this devastating prospect. Finny says that something made him lose his balance and that he Dreading a direct accusation, Gene hesitantly probes Finny's memory of the fall, hoping, it seems, to find a lapse of memory that would make his guilt disappear. Gene spends an increasing amount of time When Gene momentarily accuses Finny of wanting to “drag” him down too, he reveals that he hasn’t fully let go of the idea that he and Finny are rivals, despite all that’s happened. line that separates his own identity from that of his best friend. to believe him and grows furious. Ironically, then, it is Finny who confesses out of innocence — he feels guilty for guessing the truth — rather than Gene, who should be confessing out of guilt. However, this isn’t actually what Finny is experiencing. Realizing that he is hurting Finny, Gene stops the talk, mumbling an excuse about being tired from the train ride. tries to comfort him, saying that he must be strong for Finny. no one suspects him of any wrongdoing. Actually, Gene welcomes the interruption, because he comes to his confession not so much out of contrition as shame. mimicking Finny’s expressions in the mirror. Are you sure you want to remove #bookConfirmation# Once again, then, readers see how off-base Gene is to think that Finny houses any animosity for him. alone in his room, questioning himself. Finny is pleased to see him, Reliving the fall with Finny in the infirmary room, Gene emphasizes his own pain and fear, insisting that the accident, in a sense, happened to him, too. someone else’s identity. Alone in the room he shares with Finny, Gene decides, on an impulse, to dress in his friend's clothes, including his pink shirt. Although he is absorbed in his own grief in this chapter and fearful of discovery, Gene still senses the deep sadness the masters feel over Finny's injury. Gene bursts into tears and the doctor In turn, readers see how toxic jealousy and resentment can be to a friendship. calmly that he wanted merely to keep from falling. This only emphasizes how heartless it was of Gene to send Finny falling to the ground. Finny would tell him the truth about his possible involvement. This chapter presents the consequences of the fall, physically for Finny and psychologically for Gene. becomes the center of his life, especially once he returns to Devon in to see Finny but, before expressing any of his own ideas about feeling of transformation lasts through the night but is gone in In their conversation, Gene probes to see whether Finny realizes what made him fall. LitCharts Teacher Editions. When he looks in the mirror, The chapter begins by exploring Gene's numbed reaction to the consequences of his unthinking action in the tree. he proceeds to Finny’s house. Finny at the infirmary. His impulse here suggests the beginning of his growing maturity and personal integrity, which prompts his need to confess. Finny refuses In fact, Finny's shattered leg becomes a poignant image of the peace that has been shattered prematurely. Yet even these attempted confessions show Gene struggling to cope with his psychological turmoil and still very much caught up in his conflicted emotions about Finny. what happened, asks Finny what his memories of the incident are. Of course, he’s right to suspect that Gene caused his fall, but he denies this because the idea goes against what he sees as the purity of friendship. However, Finny just looks at him in response and calmly tells him that he simply wanted to regain his balance. That Gene wonders whether or not he purposefully made Finny fall suggests that, even if he did do it, it wasn’t necessarily a conscious decision. the fall—but he refuses to admit such a possibility. It is significant that the first thing that Gene records Moreover, while becoming Finny allows Gene The roommates part as friends, with Gene promising, falsely, that he will not start "living by the rules.". By dressing up as Finny, however, As time passes, it becomes harder and harder for Gene to tell the truth. © 2020 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. a lot about Finny and the accident while at home. Interestingly enough, this appears to be a defense mechanism for Finny, as made evident when he refuses to listen when Gene tells him that he caused the fall. considerably. Numbed by the terrible accident and fearing that he will be accused of causing it, Gene stays in his room. Most interestingly, he begins to wonder if he actually caused Finny to fall on purpose, acknowledging to himself that his actions were subconscious. on Finny’s shoes, pants, and pink shirt. Gene avoids the endless discussions of the wounded Finny and nobody suspects him of acting maliciously. fireplace with hospital-type pillows. There Gene admits jouncing the limb deliberately in order to make Finny fall. — confusing his own unspoken violent impulses with Finny's simple and innocent instinct to save himself. Although he has a vague sense of Gene's involvement in the accident, Finny pushes these thoughts aside and apologizes to his friend for suspecting him. When Gene finally sees this, he recognizes that Finny is only mad because Gene is adding a new and emotional element of pain to the pain that Finny already has to endure. and accuses Finny of wanting to drag him down with him. He catches a taxi at Boston’s South Station, but instead Gently, Dr. Stanpole encourages Gene to cheer up, for Finny's sake. He says that Finny’s The next day, the doctor decides that Finny is not well Gene suddenly feels he must tell Finny the truth, but he is prevented by the arrival of Dr. Stanpole, who ends the visit.

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