...but the fake friend who hugs you.
We've been having a great number of discussions about the relationship between Gene and Finny.
Let's take it a step further. What does the novel tell us about human's capacity for evil and about how fear influences people's actions?
Throughout the first part of the book, Gene is in a constant battle with himself about the nature of his friendship/rivalry with Finny. At times he feels that they are bonded by competition and deep enmity. Other times, he feels that Finny is sincere, honest, and a true friend. After Finny’s injury and return to school, Gene feels it is his duty to protect Finny and enforce Finny’s ideas and beliefs even if it means not following through on his plans to enlist or personal goals. Considering Gene’s descriptions of the events in the novel, his descriptions of Finny, and his descriptions of their relationship, is it possible to argue whether or not Finny is a good friend to Gene or would Gene be better off without Finny in his life? If this is the case, what statement is Knowles making about friendship? Were they ever really friends?
If you want to get a jump on this week's activity, familiarize yourself with the following passages:
Who wants a hug?! ;-)
"What I mean is, I love winter, and when you really love something, then it loves you back, in whatever way it has to love" (Knowles 111).
Chapters 7 and 8 are interesting because of the emotional roller coaster that Gene experiences. He continues to feel deeply affected by the incident with Finny, and then he decides he wants to start a fresh by going into the army, then he changes his mind because Finny has return to Devon. One would think that the fall would have driven a wedge between the two; instead, the fall has resulted in a tightening of the strange bond between the two so called friends. How is it possible you ask? First, Finny does seem to possess a genuine love for Gene, and, because they're friends, it doesn't occur to him that Gene might not love him back or reciprocate the friendship. (Matt and Alex, I'm talking a purely platonic love here!) It is important to remember that Finny assumes that other people approach the world in the same way that he does. Just look at the conversation he and Gene had about studying! Simply put, Finny assumes that love is always reciprocated. The other side to all of this is a bit darker- we have already seen evidence of Gene’s eagerness to lose himself in Finny, to give up his identity and live as a part of his friend but now, in Finny’s enthusiasm to train Gene in athletics, we observe how Finny, too, contributes to this process, welcoming this sacrifice on Gene’s part. He is allowing Gene to become him; he is vicariously living his dreams through him.
Hope you had a GREAT Thanksgiving!
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