I cannot believe Thanksgiving is here already! I CANNOT wait to eat some turkey! Yum!! Food coma!
We're moving forward with A Separate Peace. I hope you enjoyed the bit of the movie we were able to see thus far. I feel that allowing you to see what is happening in conjunction with reading it, really helps to meld the story into something truly amazing!
When we left last week, we see Gene making a bit of a transformation. I know many of us were awestruck (or even creeped out) with him putting on Gene's pink shirt. The more I go back and read it, the better I understand exactly what is happening...by putting on Finny’s clothes and mimicking Finny’s expressions in the mirror, Gene has blurred the line that separates his own identity from that of his "best friend". To look at this from a psychologist POV, one could argue that to alleviate his guilt about "pushing" Finny from the tree, Gene seeks to escape his "self" and find refuge in someone else’s identity. Moreover, while becoming Finny allows Gene to escape his own guilty conscience, it also enables him to eradicate the feelings at the base of that guilt. Gene feels guilty about the accident because he knows how envious he was of Finny and cannot help but wonder if his envy somehow influenced his actions. Here's the really twisted part, by dressing up as Finny, Gene has purged himself of this envy by becoming the very object of it. :::GASP:::
These next two chapters bring us into the Fall, Senior year for our boys at Devon. Finny has not yet returned to the school, and Gene is conveniently without a roommate. Across the hall a new foe has moved into Leper's room....Brinker! (In the movie, Chet and Brinker are combined into one character!) AND Gene tries to take up a new extra curricular, crew. Does anyone know what crew is? We are also introduced to Cliff Quakenbush, the bully type character of Devon. What kind of high school/teenage novel would this be without a bully? With Finny still MIA from Devon, many of the others start to question Gene and his "side" of what happened that day on the river. I wonder what will happen!
It is important to pay close attention to the symbolism behind the rivers at Devon: The shift in seasons from summer to winter parallels a more general shift in the novel’s mood from the carefree innocence that preceded Finny’s fall to a darker time in which a note of doom, associated with the coming war, grips the school. This shift is given a physical embodiment in the two rivers on campus. The fresh, clear, bubbling Devon River represents the summer session and its naïve carefree character. But this river flows into the salty, ugly, unpredictable Naguamsett, which is joined to the ocean and controlled by the large, global forces of the tides. This river can be seen as a symbol of a dawning era of bitter conflict and disempowerment for the boys.
As Chapter 3 opens, Gene is going to reflect upon Finny saving his life. Do you think he is grateful?Seeing how Gene is jealous of Finny, and he could very well be upset that Finny has done something good that could've potentially put Gene in the weaker position. (Remember, they seem to subconsciously fighting for top dog.)
Let's think about this though, Gene needed to be saved, and Finny had saved him. I wonder if there will ever be a balance between these two.
Continue to investigate the chapters for evidence. Are these two truly friends?
First and foremost, your Quarterly Exam is tomorrow. Hopefully you utilized the study guide I gave you in class. Best of luck!
Your Extra Credit is also due tomorrow and your Poetry Project is due Friday. :-)
We're kicking off a new unit; John Knowles' classic, A Separate Peace. It is the story of Gene Forrester, a man of about 30 years old, who visits his old boarding school, Devon and thinks back to his time there when he was 16. This book is truly a coming of age story where one realizes that sometimes you keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. :-)
To get a greater sense of what we are about to embark on, I highly recommend seeing a personal favorite of mine: Dead Poet's Society.
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