A Separate Peace


Brinker Hadley

Brinker, like Finny, is a leader, but whereas Finny is unconventional and original in his leadership, Brinker is conventional and stereotypical. Brinker lacks the kind of flair and imagination that sets Finny apart from the others, and though Brinker does evince a choleric personality, it seems to suffer from the same sort of envy and pride that lurks within Gene. Indeed, just as Gene is responsible for Finny’s first fall, Brinker may be said to be responsible for Finny’s second fall. After all, it is Brinker’s insistence upon an inquest that causes Finny to be shaken (which leads to his tumble on the marble staircase).

Brinker’s character is also given a depth that is denied to Finny. A glimpse into the father responsible for Brinker’s upbringing reveals a man very much like the “old fool” condemned by Finny as being behind the war. Brinker’s father is indeed illogical from the boys’ point of view. He represents a kind of nationalistic fighting spirit that has more in common with Finny than with either Brinker or Gene, if only because it cannot understand why anyone would want to enlist in a service unlikely to see combat.

It is ironic, then, that Mr. Hadley, the “old fool,” should have something in common with Finny. Perhaps it shows that Finny has an old soul himself. Perhaps it is this old soul that separates him from his peers, from boys like Gene, Leper, and Brinker.

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Essays About A Separate Peace