A Separate Peace Study Guide Questions

 

 

Goals:  The study guides are designed to assist students in their preparation for class discussions and future tests/quizzes. Students will answer study guide questions to the best their abilities using references to the book and any links to additional information.  Students are expected to thoroughly answer at least five (5) study guide questions per chapter.  Students are encouraged to thoroughly answer all study guide questions—extra credit will be given for that chapter if all questions are answered satisfactorily. 

 

Click on any chapter to view questions

 


q       Chapter 1

q       Chapter 2

q       Chapter 3

q       Chapter 4

q       Chapter 5

q       Chapter 6

q       Chapter 7

q       Chapter 8

q       Chapter 9

q       Chapter 10

q       Chapter 11

q       Chapter 12

q       Chapter 13

 

 

 


 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

1.     Describe the setting:  then and now.

 

 

2.     Character profiles: Create/modify a character profile for the main characters.

 

 

3.     What is the cause of the sense of fear?

 

 

4.     From what point of view is the story being told?

 

 

5.     Translate:  Plus c’est la même chose, plus ça change.

 

 

6.     During the summer of what year was the narrator almost an “Upper Middler”? 

 

 

7.     In this year, what single looming thought preoccupies the minds of most boys at Devon?

 

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Chapter 2

 

1.     Describe the emblem Finny wears to celebrate the bombing of Central Europe.

 

 

2.     What is the flaw in Finny’s logic about who should get “the daylights bombed out of them”?

 

 

3.     Why does Gene become “unexpectedly excited” and a subsequent “stab of disappointment”?  What do these reactions lead us to believe about Gene?

 

 

4.     Character profiles: Create/modify a character profile for the main characters.

 

 

5.     Why were the “bombs in Central Europe were completely unreal to…” Gene and Finny?

 

 

6.     How is “The Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session” an example of alliteration?   What dark imagery/ foreshadowing does this title suggest?

 

 

7.     Recount the events leading up to Gene’s awareness of his own mortality.

 

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Chapter 3

 

1.     How does Gene reestablish his immortality and rationalize his near-death experience?

 

 

2.     Who is A. Hopkins Parker and what impact does he have on Finny?

 

 

3.     What is the logical flaw with Finny’s statement:  “You always win at sports”?

 

 

4.     Character profiles: Create/modify a character profile for the main characters.

 

 

5.     What life lessons does the game “blitzkrieg baseball” teach?

 

 

6.     Why did Gene not tell Finny that he was his best friend as well?

 

 

7.     Provide examples of how Gene is a follower.

 

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Chapter 4

 

1.     Explain why Gene’s trigonometry test was especially memorable.

 

 

2.     When Finny tells Gene not to go to Leper’s jump, was he being a sincere friend or utilizing reverse psychology?

 

 

3.     Gene has two catharses in chapter four.  What are they and how do they counteract each other?

 

 

4.     Character profiles: Create/modify a character profile for the main characters.

 

 

5.     Relate to Finny’s inability to do well on written tests versus oral tests.

 

 

6.     Recount the ending of Chapter 4.  Address Gene’s detachment from the situation.

 

 

7.     Draw a Venn Diagram Comparing Chet and Gene and Finny in the area of scholastics—Consider adding yourself to the Venn as well.

 

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Chapter 5

 

1.     Why didn’t Gene develop strength to defend himself?

 

 

2.     Why did Gene put on Finny’s clothes?  What effect did this action have on Gene?

 

 

3.     What happened to Gene in the morning?

 

 

4.     What does the doctor predict will be the end result of Finny’s accident?

 

 

5.     Why is Finny sorry?

 

 

6.     Why doesn’t Gene admit the truth to Finny?

 

 

7.     What was the even deeper injury Gene inflicted upon Finny and how did the situation end?

 

 

8.     Character profiles: Create/modify a character profile for the main characters.

 

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Chapter 6

 

1.     What happened to Devon during the summer months?

 

 

2.     Who is Brinker and what role does he play?

 

 

3.     What is Gene’s “trouble” that Quakenbush’s flat, black eyes would never detect?

 

 

4.     Why is there a confrontation between Gene and Quakenbush?  What does Gene gain?

 

 

5.     How does Mr. Ludsbury differ from Mr. Prud’homme?

 

 

6.     What is the purpose of Finny’s long-distant phone call to Gene?

 

 

7.     How does Gene get “to become a part of Phineas”?

 

 

8.     Character profiles: Create/modify a character profile for the main characters.

 

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Chapter 7

 

1.     Character profiles: Create/modify a character profile for the main characters.

 

 

2.     What is the relevance of the allusion to Sherlock Holmes made in the “dungeon”?

 

 

3.     Discuss the two war-effort working assignments the boys participate in.

 

 

4.     Discuss the impact the soldiers on the train had on most of the DEVON boys.

 

 

5.     How/ why do the DEVON boys tease Quackenbush & Leper?

 

 

6.     What did Gene usually find (or put there himself) in the things he loved?

 

 

7.     What adjectives are used to describe the stars?  Why does Gene focus on them?

 

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Chapter 8

 

1.     In Finny’s Universe, God is always to __________________________ at any time.

 

 

2.     What is Brinker’s “catastrophic joke”?

 

 

3.     How/ why did Gene’s enlistment plan alter?

 

 

4.     Character profiles: Create/modify a character profile for the main characters.

 

 

5.     Who is “Yellow Peril”?  How did he acquire this nickname?

 

 

6.     What very personal, very deeply held confession did Finny make to Gene?

 

 

7.     What key factor influences learning the most?

 

 

8.     At what point does Gene surpass his threshold of pain and receive a euphoric rush?

 

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Chapter 9

 

1.     What is unique about Mount Katahdin and why is a reference made to it in the story?

 

 

2.     What is Leper’s opinion about skiing in the middle of chapter 7?  How/why does this opinion change in chapter 9?

 

 

3.     Character profiles: Create/modify a character profile for the main characters.

 

 

4.     What Darwinian parallel is drawn between flies and people?

 

 

5.     What stories of Leper’s “glories” are told?  How do these stories compare/contrast with Leper’s actual story (chapter 10)?

 

 

6.     What skill(s) does it take “to be someone” at DEVON?

 

 

7.     Recount the events of the Winter Carnival and its overall importance.

 

 

8.     What telegram does Gene receive?  What predictions can we make about Leper’s situation?

 

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Chapter 10

 

1.     What saved most people Gene’s age from being killed in the War?

 

 

2.     What was Gene’s hopeful interpretation of Leper’s telegram?  What is the actual meaning of “escape”?

 

 

3.     What is Gene’s view of Vermont and Vermonters?

 

 

4.     What insight does Leper have regarding Gene and Finny’s experience last summer?

 

 

5.     How does Gene react to Leper’s “insight”?  Consequentially, how does Mrs. Lepellier react?

 

 

6.     Who is closer to the truth, Mrs. Lepellier or Elwin Lepellier?  Why?

 

 

7.     What causes Gene’s outburst at the end of chapter 10?  Make speculations about underlying causes (…causes that even Gene may not be aware of yet).

 

 

8.     Character profiles: Create/modify a character profile for the main characters.

 

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Chapter 11

 

1.     Why does Brinker confront Gene?

 

 

2.     Why does Finny hold a grudge against Caesar?

 

 

3.     What finally made the war real to Finny?

 

 

4.     Discuss Finny’s behavior during the “inquiry” and attempt to deduce his real position on the issue.

 

 

5.     Which character is the most “aware” (of both self and others)?  Provide support/ quotations to defend position.

 

 

6.     What foreshadowing (in this and other chapters) has there been to hint at the climactic “inquiry” in chapter 10?

 

 

7.     Chart Finny’s physical recovery thus far.

 

 

8.     How does the “inquiry” end?  Why?  This is a harder question than you may initially think!!!

 

 

9.     Character profiles: Create/modify a character profile for the main characters.

 

 

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Chapter 12 

 

(Answer all questions for chapter 12)

 

1.     How did everyone behave after Finny’s fall down the stairs?

 

 

2.     Where did Gene go and why did he go there?

 

 

3.     Why was Gene laughing so uncontrollably?

 

 

4.     How has Finny’s perception of events altered?  Why do they alter now and not earlier?

 

 

5.     According to Gene, why wouldn’t Finny be any good in the war?

 

 

6.     What do Gene and Finally allow themselves to do that they were incapable of doing before?

 

 

7.     Why is every minute of the rest of Gene’s day outlined/remembered in such detail?

 

 

8.     What is Dr. Stanpole’s rationale for Finny’s post-operative condition?

 

 

9.     Why didn’t Gene show any emotion at the end of chapter 10?

 

 

10. Character profiles: Create/modify a character profile for the main characters.

 

 

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Chapter 13

 

(Answer all questions for chapter 13)

 

1.     What did DEVON donate to the war effort?

 

 

2.     What do Jeeps remind Gene of?  Why?

 

 

3.     How does Gene’s patriotism differ from Mr. Hadley’s?

 

 

4.     How does Mr. Hadley know Gene?  (Think about it for a second after you find the answer).

 

 

5.     According to Gene, what does friendship involve?  How can this concept be applied throughout Gene and Finny’s friendship?

 

 

6.     According to Gene, how did Finny see the world?  What allowed him to deal with situations so well?  What finally broke Finny’s “harmonious and natural unity”?

 

 

7.     Why is Gene now ready for the war?

 

 

8.     Where is Gene going?  Why is he going there now?

 

 

9.     How did Phineas affect Gene, Gene’s outlook on life, and Gene’s perception of the world?

 

 

10. Character profiles: Create/modify a character profile for the main characters.

 

 

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