Setting: The story begins in 1958 then flashes back to 1942-43, at Devon School, New Hampshire
Summer session- the summer session is a time of freedom and chaos. During the summer session, the boys enjoyed a time of carefree youthful adventure. They skip class, but with Finny’s clever talk, enables them to get away with anything. The summer session ends with Finny’s fall, leading into the winter session.
Winter session- When winter comes, everything changes. Devon returns to its disciplinary ways. The threat of having to fight in the war also darkens everyone’s realization. This symbolizes the problems of adulthood and wartime that increasingly interferes with the Devon campus. When Finny experiences his second fall, it finally symbolizes that the joy of childhood has disappeared.
Tree- In the beginning of the novel, Gene describes the tree as a “huge lone spike” or an “artillery piece”, but when he returns back to Devon years later, it looks little and unintimidating. The tree is a symbol of carefree happiness and fears of the boys growing into men, and in time men can leave those worries behind.
Allusions: The Iliad by Homer- The boys
* After fifteen years, Gene Forrester returns to the Devon School of New Hampshire, a school he attended in high school. He revisits two major spots in the school: the tree by the river and the marble staircase. * Flashback to 1942: Overseas WWII is occurring. The two best friends, the smart and careful Gene and the athletic careless Finny, are students during the summer session. One day, the boys were hanging around a big tree by a river. Finny climbs up the tree and jumps off into the water, followed by Gene. This ends up becoming a club, the Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session, in which jumping off the tree is a regular routine. Throughout the summer, Gene feels a deep rivalry with Finny. He is envied by his athleticism and...
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