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A Separate Peace | Chapter Summaries

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Timeline of Events

  • Summer 1942

    Finny starts the Super Suicide Society, and boys must jump from the tree to join.

    Chapter 2
  • Summer 1942

    Although he's scared, Gene jumps from the high branch into the Devon River.

    Chapter 2
  • Summer 1942

    Finny invents blitzball, and all the senior boys in his dorm play it.

    Chapter 3
  • Summer 1942

    Finny breaks the school swimming record but insists on keeping it a secret.

    Chapter 3
  • Summer 1942

    Finny and Gene bike to the beach, where they spend a day and night together.

    Chapter 3
  • July 1942

    Gene is obsessed by his rivalry with (and supposed hatred of) Finny.

    Chapter 4
  • August 1942

    Gene jounces the tree limb and Finny falls, shattering his leg and ending his athletic pursuits.

    Chapter 4
  • September 1942

    Gene visits Finny at his Boston home and tries to admit his guilt. Finny refuses to believe it.

    Chapter 5
  • Early fall 1942

    Gene quits as assistant to the crew of the Naguamsett River rowing team.

    Chapter 6
  • October 1942

    Finny, on crutches, returns to school and is still Gene's roommate.

    Chapter 7
  • December 1942

    Finny trains Gene for the 1944 Olympics.

    Chapter 8
  • January 1943

    Leper decides to enlist in the ski troops. He leaves school.

    Chapter 9
  • Late winter 1943

    Finny creates the Winter Carnival for the senior boys.

    Chapter 9
  • Late winter 1943

    Gene visits Leper's home in Vermont. Leper escaped the war and his mind is unhinged.

    Chapter 10
  • Early spring 1943

    Finny falls down stairs and rebreaks his leg fleeing Brinker's inquiry into the tree incident.

    Chapter 11
  • Early spring 1943

    Finny dies during surgery to set his broken leg.

    Chapter 12
  • June 1943

    Troops and materiel move into the Devon School campus.

    Chapter 13
  • June 1943

    Seniors graduate; Brinker and Gene enlist in the military.

    Chapter 13

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Chapter 1 The narrator of the story, Gene Forrester, describes his recent return to his high school alma mater, Devon School, as a... Read More
Chapter 2 Mr. Prud'homme comes to Finny and Gene's dorm room to chastise them for breaking the rules by missing dinner. Finny tell... Read More
Chapter 3 Gene understands that Finny likely saved his life, but also recognizes that he wouldn't have been on the tree limb if no... Read More
Chapter 4 Gene awakens on the beach. He notices that the ocean appears dead, as does the sleeping Phineas. The sky turns white as ... Read More
Chapter 5 Finny is taken to the infirmary, where his shattered leg is treated. Finny's injury is seen as especially unfair because... Read More
Chapter 6 It's the winter term and "peace [has] deserted Devon [School]." The easygoing, fun time of the summer term is over. The ... Read More
Chapter 7 Gene showers off the "sticky salt" of the dirty Naguamsett River. He puts on some pants that Finny also wore, and begins... Read More
Chapter 8 Gene and Finny talk in their dorm room. When Gene tells Finny the boys have been shoveling snow off railroad tracks, Fin... Read More
Chapter 9 Gene is immersed in Finny's fantasy of peace, and he is happy. Even the enlistment of Leper Lepellier does not spoil the... Read More
Chapter 10 Gene takes a long, dismal nighttime train ride to visit Leper in response to his telegram. Gene must transfer from the t... Read More
Chapter 11 When Gene gets back to school he finds Finny and the other boys engaged in a snowball fight. Gene doesn't join in, but w... Read More
Chapter 12 The boys rush to help the fallen Finny. They call the wrestling coach, who is an expert at first aid. Some boys call the... Read More
Chapter 13 The chapter opens with Gene describing the areas of Devon School, with the Center Common considered the real Devon Schoo... Read More
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