18 October 2007

What kind of friend would Gene or Finny make?

This writing assignment is due Monday Oct. 22 before class starts.

Throughout the first several chapters of A Separate Peace, Gene struggles with his relationship to Finny. Finny, athletic and outgoing, is quite a contrast to Gene's moody and introverted personality. Author John Knowles spends a considerable portion of his novel exploring the friendship between the two teens.

If you were classmates with Gene and Finny at the Devon school in the 1940s, who would you be friends with? Knowing what you know of Finny and Gene so far, which of the two do you think would make a better friend for you? Point to specific incidents from the novel to make your decision. Your response should be 150 or so words long and should focus on evidence from the novel to answer the central question.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

If I were a student at Devon in the 1940's I'd most definitely be friends with Finny. He is outgoing, charming, and witty. He is adventurous and mysterious, great qualities in a person who loves to have fun! "He of course saw nothing intimidating about it. He wouldn't, or wouldn't admit it if he did. Not Phineas."(14) He lives his life to the fullest, something not many people do. I could imagine us riding to the beach and not caring how much trouble we were in; we would be young and care free. He'd let me forget the real world, the war, homework, and stress. He'd be exactly the kind of person I'd want to be friends with.

However, as much as I would want to be friends with Finny, it'd be safer and healthier if I were friends with Gene. He's reserved and knows his limits, a mental check Finny does not do. He'd tell me when I'd be in trouble, when to get my act together and show me we could have a good time without putting our lives in danger. Finny would not care and go along with his spur of the moment decision. He knew it was a silly idea and risky to bike to the beach and to jump from the tree. (But he did it anyway.) But because Gene was able to keep in tune with what was safe and what wasn't, it proves he'd make a healthier, safer friend.

Jenna G. Period 6

Anonymous said...

If I were a student at Devon in the 1940's i think i would make very good friends with Finny. Finny is very athetic, outgoing, adventerous, and clever. I beleive Finny and i share most of these qualities, we would have a lot of things in common. For example Finny is a very clever, he sweet talks his way out of almost everything. Also he is very adventerous and loves to have a lot of fun. For example He is always wanting to jump off the tree. I would love to jump off the tree with Finny. Also he invented Blitzball, " Blitzball was the surprise of the summer, everyone played it". I think Finny and I would have a great time playing a game of Blitzball. Lastly i think Finny and I have one more thing in common, athletics. Finny is a very good athlete, in one occasion Finny breaks the school swimming record without a day of practice. "He had broken A. Hopkins Parker's record by .7 seconds...Dont say anything about it to anyone". In that quote Finny breaks the record and doesnt want Gene to tell anyone. In my life athletics is a big part of my life, i play hockey and lacrosse year round. I beleive Finny and I would make good friends because of all the things we have in common.


Pat M. period 6

Lindsay, Per. 4 said...

If I were a student at Devon school back in the 1940's, I would much rather be friends with Finny than Gene. Even though Finny is in fact athletic and adventurous, that is not why I would be friends with him. I believe that Finny did not realize he was ordering Gene around, like when Gene was playing Blitzball. Finny means well, some of his actions just come off as him thinking he's superior to others. When he calls Gene at the end of chapter 6 and spends his own money on a phone call, it shows he really is interested in what has been going on in Gene's life. The fact alone that Gene jounced the limb of the tree and caused Finny to fall, shows that Gene seems to make some ridiculous decisions. He is very sensitive and assumes things for the worst. This thinking of his leads him to feel betrayed by Finny and want to get back at him. The only problem in being friends with Finny is that I would be taking a risk. Since Finny is adventurous, I may be lead into things I wouldn't necessarily do if I wasn't his friend. An example would be the super suicide society. Gene felt he had to agree with Finny on creating the society because he was his best friend. I may feel this way to, and therefore end up in a similar situation Gene has wound up in. Overall though, I believe Finny would be a better choice of a friend, even though neither of the boys would be ideal.

Anonymous said...

If I were a student at Devon school back in the 1940's, I would have Finny as a friend. The reasons are that finny is athletic and is good at a lot of thing. I would much rather have finny on my side then Gene because Gene is very unpredictable and I would not want a friend to do something stupid to make me get hurt like when Gene made Finny fall by shaking the limb. Finny is a person that does not like to do the same thing over and over again and I am the same way too. Finny is a very daring person and I believe that I am daring myself so this is another trait we have in common. Lastly Finny would probably be much more fun to have around than Gene because Gene is too serious and even though he does not really like getting in trouble Finny would be able to baby talk his way out of it and Gene does not have that ability.

Andrew Per. 4

Chelsea, period 4 said...

If I were a student at Devon in the 1940's I would rather be friends with Finny that I would Gene. In the book, I think that Finny is a better friend than Gene is. I don’t think that friendships should be based on competition, and Gene makes his friendship on Finny completely focus on competition. I don’t think that Finny even realizes that he may be better than Gene in many ways. You can tell that Finny doesn’t necessarily try or want attention, because in chapter 3 when Finny broke the school record for swimming, he didn’t want anyone to know about it; not anyone. This proves that he didn’t really want attention and he wasn’t trying to brag about everything he could do, he just wanted to prove certain things to himself. Finny includes Gene in a lot of things; he always wants Gene to do fun things with him; like when they went to the river. Finny also saved Gene’s life in chapter 2. Gene wasn’t even appreciative of it; he felt no gratitude towards what Finny did for him. I would rather be friends with an outgoing, spontaneous, talented person than someone who is going to make everything a competition and let all of the jealousy issues they have get in the way of our friendship.

Anonymous said...

If I were a student at Devon in the 1940's, I would be friends with both. People aren't that simple, Gene has some traits I see in myself and so does Finny. You can be friends with many different types of people. Gene is very reserved and follows the rules; often he's not much of a risk-taker. For example, "We'd better hurry or we'll be late for dinner, I said.."(p.18)This example shows how Gene has to be following the rules all the time and has to be where he's supposed to be all the time, on time. I'm that way sometimes, but once you get to know me, I'm also very much like Finny. Finny is very talkative, goofy and independent. I'm very much like that in many ways. For example, when Finny decides he's going to wear a shirt that represents the war, it's a good example of showing his independence and his choice to stand up for what he believes in. I see this independence in myself because I always stand up for what I believe where others may just try to fit in. I see a lot of indiviudality in Finny that I don't see in Gene.

Macy P.4

Anonymous said...

I think that if I were classmates with Gene and Finny at the Devon school in the 1940’s I would be friends with Gene. I would be friends with Gene because we have similar personalities and my friends and I have similar personalities. I wouldn’t be friends with Finny because I’m not like him. Finny is adventurous and athletic. I think Gene would make a better friend for me. We both follow rules and like to do well in school. Also, we aren’t that athletic and adventurous. We both have friends who are adventurous and make us try things they know we’ll like. “You were very good,” said Finny good-humoredly, “once I shamed you into it.” “You didn’t shame anybody into anything.” “Oh yes I did. I’m good for you that way. You have a tendency to back away from things otherwise.” (18)

Megan H. Period 6

Anonymous said...

If I were to choose between the two boys which one would make a better friend, I would choose Finny. Although I don�t admire some of his attributes such as getting away with breaking the rules and getting friends into trouble, he is an honest person to Gene. One example of this is when the two boys are caught by their principal for skipping dinner and Finny defends the boys and they don�t get into trouble. Finny is an honest character and he is honest to Gene about his personality. That is something to admire in a friend because I would rather know what they think of me that keep it to themselves. Finny is honest to Gene when he tells him not to do the West Point Stride because it made him too eager to follow the rules and join the army. Overall despite some of his flaws, Finny is a friend who is honest, loyal, and personable.
Sean P

Anonymous said...

If I was a student at Devon School in the 1940’s and I was classmates with Finny and Gene, I think I would be friends with Finny. I am very similar to Gene, which makes me think that I would be better friends with Finny. Gene is always worried about his school work and doesn’t take many risks unless he is with Finny. Gene also isn’t very athletic or outgoing. I have all of those things in common with Gene. However, Finny is very outgoing, takes risks, and just worries about having fun. That is why I would like to be friends with Finny. If I was friends with Finny, he would be saying to me, “You never waste your time. That’s why I have to do it for you.” (51). I can be shy and hold back from taking chances which is why I would want a friend like Finny to make me live life to the fullest.


Maria Period 6

Colin, Period 4 said...

The fact that Gene is introverted is what draws me to him in the first place. Finny seems too perfect and in control for me to get along with. It would always seem like a competition with him, like I had to prove myself to him rather than just enjoying his company. Our personalities might also clash; I am more of a leader, and less of someone who would blithely follow orders. I would not let Finny persuade me into doing things, such as jumping out of the tree and attending meetings when I have other things to do, which might make him angry. Gene, on the other hand, is quieter and more intellectual, both of which I admire. Gene is always thinking and feeling something, and his mind is never still. Even when he is supposed to be enjoying himself on the beach, he still worries about his test the next day. I feel as if I could have more in-depth conversations with Gene, and that he would truly understand something I told him. I feel that if Gene and I did argue he would not hold a grudge and be willing to reconcile; such as when he jounced the limb on Finny and immediately felt bad about it. Even if Gene has periods where he is paranoid or narcissistic, I would still find him likeable; to have a friend, you must learn to accept their good with their bad.

Kristina Period 4 said...

If I were classmates with Gene and Finny, I would chose Finny to be my friend. I wouldn’t choose Finny just because of his athleticism. The reason I would choose him is because he is the type of person who has a lot of confidence in himself and knows how to deal with situations. Finny showed confidence when he wore the pink shirt to school symbolizing something he believed in. Gene would never be able to stick up for himself and do what he wanted. Finny also shows a sense of uniqueness and revolt because he doesn’t take anything from anyone and is more of a leader than a follower, such as making up his own sport that everyone enjoys to play. The sport catches on and Finny dominates it. Being friends with Finny would also be beneficial to me because he could help me become stronger and prepare me for things such as the war. Finny does this to Gene when they missed dinner. He is trying to get him ready for what his future potentially will become, which is war.

Anonymous said...

Truthfully, I believe I could be friends with both Gene and Finny. I am more like Gene, following other people and never really doing my own thing which would easily make me friends with Finny since opposites attract. Also, I like people like Gene, where you have a lot in common and you can always confide in them because they usually think just like you. Both boys would make great friends and I think that they wouldn't do anything to jepordize their friendships with you. However, it seems as if Finny would be a true friend because he never complains about anything that Gene does and never talks badly of him. Then again, the book is opinionated by Gene. When it comes to having fun or having a friendship or even acquaintances, I believe Gene and Finny fall under those categories. But, when it comes to a true friendship, I believe Finny has your back.

Theresa p4

Jostlyn per.4 said...

If I was a student at the Devon school in the 1940’s and I was classmates with Gene and Finny I would rather have Finny as my friend. Finny is very outgoing and tells it like it is. When Gene lied about how tall he was Finny was quick to correct him and say no we are the same height; we are both on the small side. I would rather have Finny tell me the truth than have Gene lie and keep in his jealousy. Also Finny is more outgoing and just wants to have fun. Gene feels like he is always in constant competition with Finny. Finny isn’t like that at all the things that Finny does is to prove something to himself. When he breaks the school record for swimming he doesn’t want any one to know he just wants to have the satisfaction that he broke it. He is the only one who has to know because it doesn’t matter to him what other people think as long as he has his friends. When it comes down to friendship Gene turns his back on Finny after Finny tells him that he thinks of Gene as his best bud. That is not what I would want a friend to do.

Anonymous said...

Between having Gene or Finny as a friend I would rather be friends with Finny. Since I am the most like Gene anyway, I think my intelligence and Finny's carefree and rebellious attitude would match perfectly. The thing that I would most like about Finny is the way he's is never conforming to the rules. He does things that no one else would ever think of doing, like jumping out of the tree and inventing blitzball. Gene, on the other hand, is someone who never wants to break the rules and he sometimes seems moody. After hanging out with Gene for awhile, I would probably get tired of his attitude. Finny, on the other hand, is more outgoing and has a brighter personality. He always tries to look on the bright side of life. I like that in a friend, plus he typically doesn't judge you and what you do throughout your life. He also never blames you for anything that happens to him, and sometimes that can be a good thing, like when Gene jounces the limb and Finny falls and breaks his leg. He never suspects for a second that Gene had something to do with it. He believes that the fault was entirely his.

Sujata, per. 4 said...

If I were classmates with Gene and Finny at the Devon school on the 1940s, I would rather be friends with Gene. I find myself in Gene in so many ways. He lives by the rules and cares about his studies. He did things he did not want to do for the sake of his friendship with Finny. Although Finny is easier to hang out with, Gene seems more mature and responsible. Finny seems like he doesn't care about the consequences of his actions. It almost seems like Finny doesn't know Gene so much. "Nobody at Devon has ever been surer of graduating than you are. You aren't working for that." (51) Gene cares about his studies and grades and Finny was wasting all his time on doing stuff he wants to do. Also, I did not like Finny when he was taking charge at the blitzball game. He was making up all random rules to show off his athletic ability. Everyone was following the rules he made up. Almost for a second, I had a feeling that Gene was being tortured. He was targeting the ball to Gene and others were supposed to "attack" him to get the ball. Maybe Finny wanted Gene to make a better athlete, but Gene wasn't enjoying it so much. It was no wonder why he jounced the limb. Finny was not a good friend to Gene and all the time he had been "mistreating" Gene, he had fed up with it. He couldn't anymore. So, he did what his instincts told him to do. It's kind of hard to tell what is really in Finny's mind all this time because of Gene's moody thoughts. Finny has his own way of looking at world. Sometimes, you have to think of your actions twice before you actually do it. That's what Gene's character is like.

Charlotte P4 said...

What kinda of friend would Gene or Finny make?

If I were classmates with Gene and Finny at the Devon school in the 1940s, i would be friends with Finny. Finny is athletic and outgoing. Finny is also adventerous and easygoing. Naturally i would I want to be Finnt's friend, rather than Gene's. Finny is always up to something and always has good ideas. If i were Finny's friend I would never be bored. Finny does things like inventing the game "Blitzball" that was still played currently at Devon School. Finny also took Gene to the beach at the spur of the moment where they had a good time. Finny was also the founder of the Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session. The club met every night. Being Finny's friend , i know i would never be bored. However, i might find it hard to keep up with Finny.

Charlotte P4

Anonymous said...

I would much rather be friends with Finny than Ginny. Finny is more of a type of person that I would hang out with, talkative, energetic, upbeat. I would much rather have a friend that is always optimistic and positive than someone reserved like Gene. From what we have seen in the story so far, Gene is the type of kid who would be jealous of you just because you are better than him at something. At least with Finny I can joke around with, but with gene he would take evrything personally. Gene is just to quiet and it would not be fun hanging out with someone like that. At least with Finny he cares about you, he already said that gene was his best friend, but Gene said no such thing back. Also, Finny comes up with creative and interesting ways to have fun, such as the game, blitzball, so I would never get bored. Sure, Finny is daring, but danger and adventure are some of the most exciting things out there. Finny likes to live it up. Who would want to be friends with a kid that might subconsciously knock you off a tree, instead of a kid that lives life to the fullest and to the best of his ability?

Anonymous said...

By the way the comment above is from Dave Period 4. I forgot to put my name in.

Anonymous said...

If I was a classmate of Gene and Finny, I would want to be friends with Finny. He is the type of person that everyone can be best friends with. The author portrays him as a very loyal, truthful, and trustworthy person. Gene doesn't feel like he is deserving of having Finny as a best friend: "Now I knew that there never was and never could have been any rivalry between us. I was not of the same quality as he." (59)I would not want to be friends with Gene because he doesn't seem like he is a good friend. Sure, he hangs out with Finny all the time and has fun, but he only goes because he feels like Finny is making him go. He thought his whole friendship was a lie at one point, and that is not the type of friend that I would want to have. It is good to be focused on your studies, but I think Gene is too focused, which makes him on edge. He always seems like he is angry or upset, never like he is happy. I think that being friends with Gene would bring my spirits down, whereas being friends with Finny would bring them up.

Colleen P.4

Mike P. P-4 said...

If i were to be a student at Devon in the 1940's, I would rather become better friends with Finny. I think this because Finny is very athletic, talkative, and fun to be with like myself. When hanging out with Finny I could never see myself being bored when being around Finny becuase it always seems that he comes up with ideas like when he had the idea to go to the beach or when he invented blitzball. Another reason why I would rather be better friends with Finny is because Finny turns out to be a much better friend. When Gene almost fell off of the tree when he was trying to jump off it, Finny was willing to risk himself to save Gene but when Gene was in a similar situation he did not risk himself and let Finny fall which would change his life forever. So i would definetly rather be friends with Finny because we have more in common, it is never a boring time with Finny, and that Finny would be a better friend.

Kevin p4 said...

For me, this is a decision that needs no cogitation because, in all honesty, I'm a jelous kind of guy. If I were classmates with Gene and Finny, I'd naturally choose to be friends with Gene despite the fact that Gene has obviously been doing a horrid job at being friends with Finny. Finny isn't "full of himself" as some of my classmates claim him to be, he is just "being himself"; he truly cares for Gene and had no intent on making him feel like he wasn't good enough. I became sure that Finny's friendship with Gene was not merely ostensible, in Finny's eyes, but true when he kept Gene from falling off their tree on page 31. However my personality, who I am, would just not be able to coexist with that of Finny's. Gene is a prevaricator with what he feels about his best friend and his activities; he is the reason why their whole relationship is but a fake. He has jelousy and he is envious of Finny. According to him, Finny is insurmountably superior. Gene would be a far better friend for me because these are just emotions I can relate to. I'd need those relations each and every day of my life in order to escape the real world and what it would do to me; in order to again and again reach that infinite consolation derived from the complex bond between to alike human beings.

Mike R said...

If I went to Devon School in the 1940’s I would defiantly be friends with Finny instead of Gene. Finny is outgoing, fun, adventurous and is always looking to do new thrilling things. “No upper middler had ever tried. Naturally Finny was going to be the first to try, and naturally he was going to inveigle others, us, into trying it with him.” (15) From the first chapter Finny pronounces himself as daring and outgoing when he decides he was going to be the first lower middler to jump off the tree. He knows very well that he is not really supposed to, that this tree is for the seniors but it doesn’t stop him from trying to do it, and it also doesn’t stop him from dragging others into it also. This quality – dragging other friends into things with you – is one that I do not like so much about Finny, but I tend to do sometimes do. The outgoing, fun, adventurous traits that Finny shows are the ones that I like and would pick Finny as a friend for.

Emily Peirod 6 said...

If I were a student at Devon School in 1940, I would like to be friends with Finny. I would want a friend who is fun to be around and who doesn’t take things too seriously, especially in a school with so many rules and restrictions as Devon. I wouldn’t have the patience to deal with all of the moods that Gene goes through. I would be too afraid of saying or doing something wrong to be myself around Gene. Finny would be a great best friend because he is proud and supportive of his friends. Finny wants Gene to study and continue doing well in school so that he can be the top of the class, while Gene’s main motive of being valedictorian is to prove that he is even better than Finny. Finny is always optimistic and upbeat even when he is not feeling his best, and the best part is that it is not that he is being fake; he just always looks on the bright side because that is how his personality is. Finny has a lot of nerve, being the daredevil that he is, and I think that it would be exciting to be his friend because he would always have something new to do or try. It seems like I might need someone like this to make my time in such a boring atmosphere a bit more enjoyable.

Dylan per. 6 said...

If I were a student at Devon in the 1940's, I would pick Finny as a friend instead of Gene. I think that Finny is a better friend than Gene is. Gene seems a little nutty and paranoid about things. He thinks that the friendship has to be about competition. I don’t think Finny is really trying to compete with Gene. When finny breaks the swimming record, he doesn’t even show it off and he doesn’t want anyone to even know. He doesn’t brag or show off any of his success he just is happy about it. Finny just wants to be friends with Gene, he always includes him in the things he does like going places or jumping in the river. I would rather be friends with Finny because he is somebody who won’t get jealous of another friend and want to compete. Gene is just paranoid and I wouldn’t want to be friends with somebody who judges me like that.

Anonymous said...

If I were a student at the Devon school in the 1940s I would rather be friends with Finny than Gene. Finny is more outgoing and freespirited. Finny takes rules to be more like guidelines and doesn't mind breaking them once in a while. For example when he skips dinner, he doesn't care that he could get in trouble for it. It's the same thing as when he goes to the beach and brings Gene with him, he doesn't care that he could get in trouble for leaving the school grounds because he would rather have some fun. Finny also likes to speak his mind rather than keep his thoughts to himself and just do what he is told. When he wears the school tie as a belt and one of the school administrators sees it he thinks of what it could symbolize; and instead of saying it was an accident he gives reason for wearing it which could have possibly gotten him in more trouble than saying it was an accident. Gene seems too uptight and so Finny seems like he would make a better friend.

Josh Period 4

Anonymous said...

If i was a student at Devon i would deffinatly be friends with Finny. Finny is more of a likable person because he is fun, talkative, and adventurous. Finny would love to take trips to the beach while Gene would just sit around and do work. Finny brings more atmosphere to a party like when he wore the tie as a belt and made it into a big joke. Finny's personality is more noticeable in a group of people because he is so outspoken. Finny would deffinatly make a better friend because he appreciates his friends and likes to do stuff with them. He also has a very creative mind like when he created blitzball and it became the game of that era at Devon. I wouldn't want to be friends with Gene because he isn't that fun and he always just wants to study or do work.
-Mike K

Anonymous said...

Back in the 1940's, if I was a classmate of Gene and Finny, I would most likely become friends with Gene. Even though I see a side of myself in both characters I think Gene would be a better fit because I can identify with him. I am not completely sure who I am at this point in my life and not sure where I'm headed and Gene I think would identify with me there. Even though I am rather loud and out there like Finny and full of energy, there are parts of me which are still dark and need to be explored just like Gene. Gene doesn't necessarily sound sure of who he is yet and is having trouble finding his center point in which he is peaceful. Because of this we both tend to lie to ourselves about things so it seems alright. Gene is also a person of strong almost overpowering emotions. I am also like that but where Gene is more loose with his control of said emotions and tends to betray himself, I am more controlled with them instead of being at their whim. I would understand his emotions and I would express said control and he would then understand me. Furthermore, where Gene and I both have something to say yet we don't voice it. I don't because I weigh the outcome of the response and that is what Gene does too. The contrast, however, is in our personalities. I am very much like Finny in how I seem and react to people which is what I believe would be our mutual attraction.

Dominic period 4

Anonymous said...

I think that if I was a student in Devon school I would want to be friends with both of them. I would want to be friends with Finny because it seems like he is the person that everyone wants to be around and is really athletic. I would want to be friends with Gene because he is very smart and knows what his priorities are. You can see this because Gene wanted to be the head of the class and didn�t know if he should go to the club or not because he had work to do. Finny is one of those people that everyone loves because he is popular. One way you can tell this is because everyone always does what he wants and follows him like when Gene goes and jumps off the tree because he says so. I think it would be cool to be friends with both because it would be a challenge.
Said AnneMarie Class 4

Anonymous said...

I Would like to be friends with Finny because he would be fun to do thing with. I think it would be fun to hang with him because he is funny and he acts very casual, yet funny!
I think that Finny would be a better friend because he would be considerate about my feelings. For example, when Gene said he wanted to study instead of going to their club, Finny said, then don't go. That means that if you want to do something he won't stop you. Another time is when Finny helped Gene get out of trouble by talking his way out. Finny is the kind of friend I would like to have.
Aaron