A Separate Peace Chapters 12 and 13 Summary

     Chapter twelve begins the boys trying to assist Finny by not moving him and fetching a doctor. Someone ran for Phil Latham, the wrestling coach who knew first aid, and he stretched Finny on one of the steps of the staircase. Then they wrapped Finny in a blanket. When the doctor arrived, the boys put him on a chair and carried him out. Gene tried to ask the doctor how Finny was doing as they left the building. The doctor replied that it seemed to be a broken leg, but he had a cleaner break this time. Gene followed the car and listened below the window of the room in the infirmary that they put Finny in. When Gene heard the voices cease, he climbed up to the window and pushed it open. When Finny saw Gene, he accused him of wanting to break something else in him. Finny tried to move toward Gene but just ended up with his top half flopped over the edge of the bed. Gene allowed Finny to pull himself upright as he crept back down out the window, apologizing as he went.

     Gene didn't return to his room; he fell asleep in a corner under a ramp in the stadium. He found a note on his door that instructed him to bring some of Finny's clothes and supplies to the infirmary. Gene brought a suitcase to Finny and tried to tell him that he had attempted to tell him the truth about the accident the first time he went to visit him at home in Boston. Finny lamented the war because it made a man with a busted leg feel even more useless. He told Gene how he had written to many different branches of the armed services, but no one wanted his help. He asked Gene if it was just a blind impulse that made him shake the tree branch, and Gene agreed that it was. Gene wished there was a way he could show Finny that it wasn't anything personal, but Finny just cried and said he believed Gene.

     Gene left to go to class and planned to return at 5:00 after Dr. Stanpole set the bone, and Finny came out of the anesthesia. Gene sat in the waiting room before going in when Dr. Stanpole sat down beside him. He told Gene that Finny had died. In the middle of the procedure, Finny's heart had stopped without warning. The doctor believed that some of the marrow must have gotten in Finny's blood stream and gone to his heart. There are always risks in an operating room, just as there are in a war. Gene didn't cry then or even when they lowered him into the ground in Boston. People don't cry at their own funerals.

     Chapter thirteen starts with Gene back at school with Brinker watching a shipment of sewing machines being brought in. He asks Brinker not to talk about Leper anymore, and no one will talk to him about Finny. Brinker tells Gene that his father is in the Butt Room, and he wants to meet him. Mr. Hadley talks to Gene who tells him that he has enlisted in the Navy and is heading to Pensacola for training. Brinker, meanwhile, was set for the Coast Guard. Like Gene, Brinker was not going to glamorize the war despite what his dad felt about it. He knew it would be rough.

     Gene flashes forward to say that he never killed anybody since he never got to the point where he had to put on a uniform and fight. Even so, he felt that only Phineas had escaped feeling fear or hate. All of his other friends had to face the war and were changed by it.

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