Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapters 12 - 13
The accident seems to bring a certain calmness to the scene and the boys
leave the assembly hall. The doctor takes Finny to the infirmary and makes
him as comfortable as possible. Gene is told that Finny broke his leg again
but this time the injury was less severe.
That night, Gene tries to speak to Finny through the window but is completely
rebuffed by him. Gene says he is sorry, and then he leaves.
The next morning, the doctor tells Gene to bring some of Finny's personal
belongings to the Infirmary. When he enters Finny's room, he finds to be much
calmer and they begin to talk. One important question that Finny raises is
that he would like to know what prompted Gene to act the way he did when they
were both in the tree. Gene says that he himself cannot explain what causes
him to do what he did but that he knows that it wasn't anything personal.
Finny tells him that he thinks that he understands and assures him that he
has felt his true friendship. Gene leaves after the doctor tells him that
he is going to set Finny's bone and that he should come that evening.
When Gene returns, the doctor meets him in the lobby with the tragic news
that Finny has died during the procedure.
The year continues without any further occurrences and the boys attend graduation.
They all realize that they will have to join the armed services but some of
them also realize that the war is not a glorious event.
As Gene walks on the campus he reflects upon past events and realizes that
he has been able to rid himself of his selfishness and envy and that he has
found inner peace.
Gene's experience illustrates to the reader the peril in assuming what motives
other people may harbor. The insecurity that Gene feels concerning his own
ability is projected on others, allowing him to believe that they are the
reason for his failure. This assumption is made about Finny but the reader
sees that Finny's objective was simply to enjoy his life. Perhaps this aspect
of Finny is what infuriated Gene the most. Finny's consistently unconcerned
and apathetic attitude represented a peace that Gene could never acquire until
he realized his own insecurities and jealousy.