Throughout the novel Gene looks up to and idolizes Phineas, his control, his athletic ability and overall his character. Gene needs Finny, and when Finny goes away due to his injury Gene finds himself grasping at pieces of Finny's integrity to keep himself going through the difficult days. Then one day this leads to Gene putting on Finny's clothes and for a brief while achieving his stable piece of mind, the harmony that occupies Phineas, and most important of all escape from his own turmoil.
" I had no idea why this gave me such intense relief, but it seemed, standing there in Finny's triumphant shirt, that I would never stumble through the confusions of my own character again. " ( Knowles 54 ) Finny's clothes represent a temporary escape from confusion and pain of the greater situation, therefore they depict the state of the students at Devon who are temporarily shielded from the evil of the war. Like the boys' situation however, reality cannot be eluded forever and Gene is brought back to it after a good night's sleep.
" and it was only on waking up that this illusion was