A Separate Peace Chapters 7 and 8 Summary

     In chapter seven Gene returns to his room and takes a shower because he had fallen into the Naguamsett River, which is dirty. The Devon River on the opposite side is much more refreshing. Brinker Hadley then stopped in to envy Gene having a whole room to himself. Brinker said that he thought Gene planned it that way. The conversation made Gene uneasy, so he asked Brinker if he'd like to go to the Butt Room in the basement with him for a smoke. Brinker announced their presence in this dungeon by calling Gene a prisoner and saying his charges were doing away with his roommate, treachery, and near fratricide. The other boys seemed surprised by this announcement. They wanted to know the details. Gene tried to lie to cover up his crime, but he eventually said they were at the tree. Someone said Gene must have pushed him, but Gene denied it. Then when Gene quickly snuck away, the boys were surprised that he had come all the way down and didn't even smoke.

     The boys were called in to help with an apple harvest because so many local workers were off fighting the war. Snow fell within another month, so the boys volunteered to help shovel. Gene noticed Leper off a ways and approached him. Leper had on skis. When Gene asked him what he was doing, Leper replied touring. He was looking for a beaver dam. When the boys finally finished clearing the tracks of snow, they cheered when a train came past filled with troops. As they walked home, they saw Leper, and the boys made fun of him. Gene tried to stick up for him and asked Leper if he found the dam, which Leper said he did. Brinker became annoyed by the lack of dedication to the war and said he was going to immediately enlist.

     Chapter eight begins with Gene returning to his room to find Phineas there. Finny begins by making fun of the work clothes that Gene is wearing. Gene noticed Finny's crutches as Finny commented on the messy room. Gene said the maids had been let go as a sacrifice during the war. Brinker bounded into their room the next morning shocked to see Finny there. He noted that Gene's little plan for a private room hadn't worked. Then he said that he had come to try to get Gene to enlist with him. Finny was offended that Gene would consider leaving him and stormed off to take a shower.

     Finny tried to use the wooden planks that had been put on the ground over the snow to walk on his crutches across campus, but even indoors he struggled with the many stairs and slippery marble floors. On his first day back, Finny didn't feel like going to class. He asked Gene to skip with him. They headed to the gym. Finny asked what sport Gene had joined, and he said none. He did quit his position as assistant crew manager, but he decided to just take a generic gym class instead. Gene said that sports didn't seem as important with the war going on, which is when Finny announced that there isn't really any war. Gene asked Finny what made him privy to this secret information, and Finny said that it's because he's suffered. He was embarrassed by this revelation and commanded Gene to begin doing chin ups. Gene was also surprised by Finny's bitterness. Finny then admitted that at one point he had aimed to go to the 1944 Olympics, but since he couldn't, he wanted to coach Gene to go for him. Gene let him.

     They began to get up for early runs. Gene began to notice an improvement in his speed and rhythm. When Mr. Ludsbury saw them, Phineas told him their plan. When Mr. Ludsbury told them that their focus should be on the war, Finny said that there wasn't a war.

     Water imagery is prevalent throughout the novel. It can be seen in the two rivers that surround the school where Gene often ends up. It also appears in the weather and the trip to the ocean. Generally, the water is associated with unfortunate events, such as fights, breaking rules, or accidents.

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