Finny being anaturally born athlete, and Gene being more academically based. At first they seemed to hit itoff, he invited him to do things with all of his friends and just the two of them. Gene willinglywent if it didn’t interfere with his academics. One day, Finny tells
They are supposed to be best friends, but Gene envies him and thinks he is trying to make him look bad. After Finny’s accident, Gene struggled with guilt and his life was changed because of it. “I spent as much time as I could alone in our room, trying to empty my mind of every thought, to forget where I was, even who I was. One evening when I was dressing for dinner in this numbed frame of mind, an idea occurred to me, the first with any energy behind it since Finny fell from the tree. I decided to put on his clothes” (Knowles 29).
As it can be noted by Finny’s actions after he finally came to terms that Gene was responsible for making him fall out of the tree, his anger was virtually uncontrollable. Between Finny’s lack of concept for individuals to make devious and harmful decisions, and his distaste for competition, he often felt that it would be wrong to put others down for one’s own glory. For Finny, the realization that people can be evil, was far too much to bear rationally. This realization created a deep cognitive dissonance within Finny, as Finny always tried to look for the positives of situations and give people the benifit of
Was he getting some sort of hold over me?” (Knowles 17). He is basically, through rhetorical questions, saying that he does not want to do what Finny does, but it’s like he cannot help it. This is affecting who Gene is as a person because he is not thinking for himself. Is Gene really even himself if Finny is doing the thinking for him? If he is not thinking for himself, he is not being true to himself.
One of these ways is when Gene jounced the limb of a tree while climbing with his friend resulting of Finny with a broken leg. “Finny, his balance gone, swung his head around to look at me for an instant with extreme interest, and then he tumbled side-ways, broke through the little branches below and hit the bank with a sickening, unnatural thud” (Knowles 60). Gene blames himself for Finny’s fall. Finny does not believe it is Gene but with all the built up envy and anger, he broke his best friend. This is just the beginning of Gene’s path to losing himself.
The envy, took over Gene and Gene realizes later that all of the incidents with Finny could have been avoided. Gene’s greed took over him, now Gene will try his hardest to relieve some of the pain of losing his best friend, knowing he is the culprit. Gene lost his best friend, he will never Forgive himself, never will find
The first major scene with loss of innocence in the story is when Gene shakes the tree limb and this causes Finny to fall from the tree and shatter his leg, ruining his future for sports, fighting in the war, and even walking correctly. In the scene before Gene shook the tree limb, he grew paranoid and assumed that Finny was attempting to sabotage Gene’s grades by hosting the club meeting and expecting him to go, and Finny denied the accusation. Gene internally can’t stand how perfect and pure Finny’s character is and it eats away at him, which is what caused him to do what he did with the tree. The following quote from Professor Ellis is a perfect example of the change inside Gene and what caused him to ruin Finny’s life. “Confronted with the evident truth of Finny’s denial, Gene understands his inferiority to Phineas and his own moral ugliness, made the more so when juxtaposed to Finny’s innocence.
“He had never been jealous of me for a second. 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.“ (page 59). Gene wanted Finny to care about Gene and have a concern if Gene was going to beat him in sports, Gene had issues when facing Finny’s confidence. Therefore, Gene always tried to make Finny jealous and that pushed him to hurt him in the
Sometimes the boys would skip class or go to the beach illegally or they would even use their fake IDs to buy beer. On day Finny told Gene they were going to be doing a double jump and just like always Finny and Gene would start the jump first, but that day Finny fell off the tree and broke his leg. Finny had to go back home but Gene had to go to school. Leper had moved away, and Brinker was in a room across from Gene. Brinker said it was Gene plan all along to get Finny out of his room.
Towards the beginning of the novel, Finny’s strengths include his ability to stay optimistic, even after his life-threatening accident. When Finny converses with Gene afterwards, he tells Gene “Listen, pal, if I can’t play sports, you’re going to play them for me…” (Knowles 85). Even after being told he probably won’t have the ability to walk again, a point one could describe as the lowest and most depressing of his life, Finny maintains his zest for life. He still encourages Gene to do the things that Finny no longer can because he wants to see someone else flourish, and most importantly: his friend. After Finny’s death, Gene even declares that “nothing … had broken [Finny’s] harmonious and natural unity” (Knowles 203).