A Separate Peace Chapters 5 and 6 Summary

     Chapter five begins with Finny in the infirmary. Since Gene can't visit him, he only hears rumors about how Finny has shattered one of his legs. Gene didn't know how to feel about what happened to Gene. He thought people would be suspicious of him for shaking the branch or that Phineas would tell on him, but so far no one said anything. One evening Gene put on Finny's clothes, even his pink shirt, but then he decided not to go down to dinner.

     Dr. Stanpole reported to Gene that Finny was better, and he could go visit him. He told Gene that Finny would soon be walking again, but he wouldn't ever play sports. When the doctor grabbed Gene's shoulder, Gene began to cry. He encouraged Gene to be cheerful as he was the one person that Finny had requested to see.

     Gene went in and soon realized that Finny had been given drugs. Surprisingly, Gene started questioning Finny about what happened at the tree even though he knew perfectly well. Finny answered that something jiggled and he fell over. He said he looked at Gene thinking he could grab onto him, but he wasn't able to. Gene said that he tried to reach out for Finny. Finny said he only remembered the look of shock on Gene's face as though it were happening to him instead. Gene said that it almost did happen to him, and Finny said that he knew, he remembered it all. Gene continued to press him, asking what made him fall. Finny said he had a crazy idea, but he didn't want to say it out loud. Gene realized that Finny was never going to accuse him. He felt horrible. Just as Gene decided he was the one who was going to have to admit what he did, Dr. Stanpole came in and sent him away.

     The next day the doctor decided Finny wasn't well enough for visitors. After that he was taken to his home outside of Boston. Soon after the summer session ended, and Gene returned home.

     In September when Gene was returning to Devon, he suddenly took a detour and headed toward Finny's house. Gene went in and spoke to Finny looking like an invalid propped up by pillows in an armchair. Eventually, Gene was able to tell him that he was the one who caused the accident. He said he deliberately bounced the limb so that Finny would fall off. Finny denied it. He didn't want to believe Gene would do such a thing, so he told him to go away. Gene realized that what he just did had injured Finny even more. Finny said he'd be back to school by Thanksgiving. Gene backtracked and said he hadn't slept much on his trip, so he probably wasn't making much sense. Finny wanted to make sure Gene wouldn't live by the rules, and Gene assured him that he wouldn't, which he knew was a lie.

     In chapter six Gene returns to Devon school. Even though the masters tried to maintain continuity, things had changed. Gene had the same room as before, but Leper had been moved, and Brinker Hadley had the room across from him. Gene went to the Crew House where Cliff Quackenbush, the manager, yelled at him for being late. Gene took on the role of assistant senior crew manager, a thankless job, which was usually taken by a boy with a physical disability since everyone was required to participate in sports in some way. Quackenbush pummeled Gene with questions about why he was choosing to be a manager instead of playing sports to the point that Gene finally hit him in the face. They wrestled and ended up tumbling in the river together. Finally, Quackenbush told Forrester, as he called Gene, to leave. Gene ran into Mr. Ludsbury who questioned why he was wet. He informed Gene that he needed to follow the rules, including getting rid of the icebox in his dorm room. He then told Gene that he had received a long-distance call, and the number was on the pad beside the phone.

     Gene called the number and spoke to Finny. Finny verified that Gene hadn't been assigned a new roommate. He mentioned that Gene had acted crazy the last time he saw him. Finny asked what sport Gene was doing, and when Gene told him assistant crew manager, Finny was stunned. Since Finny was no longer able to play sports, he expected Gene to play for him. Gene realized that he had to become the part of Phineas that was gone.

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