A Separate Peace Chapter 11 Summary

     In chapter eleven Gene returns to school to find Finny in the middle of a snowball fight. He has a smaller, lighter walking cast on his leg, and he tells Gene to join his team. Finny asks how Leper is doing, but Gene brushes off the question before they both become engulfed in the snowball fight. On the way home, Gene inquires if Finny should really be participating in such activities. Finny said the doctor said as long as he doesn't break it again, he's fine. Besides, he believes bones are supposed to be stronger once they have grown back together.

     Brinker comes into their room to ask how Leper is doing. Gene admits that Leper left the army because he couldn't take it. He told them that Leper cries a lot. Brinker says that makes two of their friends out of the war already, Leper and Finny. Gene tries to deny that Finny can't take part, but for once Finny knows it's true. Just like there won't be a 1944 Olympics, Finny won't fight in the war.

     Brinker pulled Gene aside after class one day. He told him he knew he was avoiding enlisting in the war because of Finny. He told Gene to stop pitying Finny and start admitting that he was crippled, maybe even tease him about it, so that he will accept it. Gene, however, could not do that since that would be admitting that the accident actually happened.

     Finny, on the other hand, is ready to admit that the war is real because Gene told him that Leper has gone crazy, and he has always believed Gene. Finny told Gene he actually saw Leper that morning hiding in the shrubbery by the chapel. Gene and Finny decide not to tell anyone about it. They hope that Leper is there to speak to the doctors and get some help.

     Brinker and a few friends showed up around 10:00 that night to take Finny and Gene to the First Building; they have no idea what's going on. In the Assembly Room they found ten members of the senior class on a platform wearing graduation robes. After a brief prayer, Brinker announced that they would be investigating Finny's accident. As Gene panicked, Brinker explained that it was best for everyone to get the facts out in the open so that there wouldn't be any rumors floating around. They began to question Finny about his fall. When they asked if anyone else was there, Finny admitted that Gene was. Finny asked if he was down at the bottom, and Gene went along with him and said yes. As Finny goes on to explain what he remembers about that day, he realizes he asked Gene to do a double jump with him, so Gene admits that maybe he was climbing the tree when Finny fell. Someone asks if Leper was there at the time, and they agree he was. When the boys seem disappointed that Leper isn't around to question, Finny mumbles that he saw Leper that morning. Brinker orders two boys to go look for him. A short time later they return with Leper. Brinker asks Leper what he recalls seeing that day, and Leper says he saw the two of them standing on the limb together. He describes how because it was sunny, he couldn't tell which boy was which, but he first saw the one holding onto the tree sink; then the other one sank. Brinker insisted that Leper tell which boy moved first, but Leper became angry and decided he didn't want to answer any more questions. Phineas also had enough of this mock trial, and began walking toward the marble staircase, crying. The boys heard his cane clunking down the hall before they heard Phineas tumble down the stairs.

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