Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapters 7 - 9
Brinker, the boy who has the room across the hall, comes to visit Gene and
begins to tease him about having such a large room for himself. He even intimates
that Gene arranged things so that Finny wouldn't be back. Even though Gene
becomes agitated over this he doesn't let on and plays along with him. They
then decide to go for a smoke in the Butt Room.
Brinker continues to play his game and announces to everyone present in the
room that he has brought a prisoner who has been accused of killing his room-mate.
Gene doesn't want to make an unnecessary scene, and plays along. Soon things
become too uncomfortable for Gene and he decides to go back to his room to
Some time passes, and to Gene's surprise, Finny unexpectedly returns to school
and is back in the room.. Gene helps him in every way possible as Finny still
uses crutches. One morning, Brinker asks Gene if he is planning to enlist,
but Gene is now too preoccupied with Finny and doesn't want to think about
anything else. This leads to a discussion of the war and Finny insists that
there really is no war. He believes that it is a story that the adult establishment
has made up so that they can keep the young people under control. He also
says that he knows this because of what he has suffered. Finny then asks Gene
about his sports activities and tells him that since he no longer can participate
in any sports, he will train Gene and make him an Olympic contender.
Despite Gene's objections, Finny convinces Gene and the boys establish a
new routine; Gene helps Finny with his studies and Finny trains Gene in sports.
Gene finds that he is spending more and more time with Finny and enjoying
his training sessions. Leper surprises everyone when he decides to enlist,
but that still make the War a reality to Finny. Instead, he seems to want
to hold on to his world of "make-believe" and decides to set up
a Winter Carnival. He starts to delegate jobs and the boys join in enthusiastically.
The carnival is a huge success and everyone has a grand time. Finny throws
caution to the wind and performs a wild dance on the table with his one good
Finny refuses to accept reality and even refuses to admit that the war exists.
Instead, Finny claims it is a fabrication of fat old men to stop the young
people from enjoying themselves. This provides a convenient excuse since he
cannot participate in the conflict. He refuses to accept the loss of his athletic
ability by forcing Gene to train for the 1944 Olympics.
Brinker is introduced as being a suspicious and also malicious individual.
He desperately tries to get Gene to confess his guilt in Finny's accident
and stages a question and answer setting involving several of the other boys.