By Cary M. Roberts
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Additional info for A Separate Peace, Notes
He first goes to the academic building (sometimes called the Main Hall and most often the First Building) because it was here that Phineas and Gene were brought before the group of students in order to be examined for the accident involving Finny's leg. Furthermore, it was in this building that Finny broke his leg for the second time. The second place he visits is the tree by the river. Gene pushed Finny from the tree and broke his leg the first time. Thus, the narrator is still noting ''how far [his] convalescence had gone'' as concerns his emotional maturity.
To complement this, we have the more personal war being fought between Finny and Gene, but this second war is staged almost entirely within the mind of the narrator. There are also intrusions of a third war based on the school's intense athletic rivalry. The difference between the past of fifteen years ago and the present can be seen in many of the descriptions. " Thus, by these suggestions, we realize that Gene, the narrator, has learned a great deal about himself. This idea is further emphasized then the narrator notes that he lived in great fear during the past, but nevertheless did not understand this fear.
The image is of one day, even though there is a greater time lapse. The chapter begins on the beach and ends when Gene jounces the limb, making Finny fall. On the beach, the emphasis is already on death. " Thus these death-images set the tone for the accident at the end of the chapter. Furthermore, the images of Finny and the images of the beach and the morning blend together to suggest that Finny is always immersed in the natural scenery. It is also ironic that it is Gene who is awake during these early hours.