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A Separate Peace

A Separate Peace

by John Knowles

Brinker Hadley Timeline and Summary

  • When the normal school year starts in September, Brinker has moved into Leper's old room across the hall from Gene and Finny. He comes into Gene's room and makes a joking accusation that Gene caused Finny's accident in order to get the room all to himself. Brinker goes down to the Butt Room with Finny where the gag continues.
  • Brinker turns out to be a poet…sort of. He writes short, rhyming odes.
  • Brinker goes along with several other boys to help clear snow from the railroad tracks.
  • When he boys get back to campus, Brinker makes fun of Leper for being a naturalist. He decides that Devon is no use in a time of war, and publicly declares that he's going to enlist.
  • The next morning, Brinker wants to talk about enlisting with Gene, but Finny is having none of it.
  • Brinker and the others imagine Leper's participation in all the biggest events of the war.
  • Brinker, disillusioned, steps down from all his leadership positions and becomes something of a rebel on campus. Nowhere is this more clear than during Finny's Winter Carnival.
  • Brinker ventures that Leper must have gone mad, and Gene confirms. Brinker grows increasingly disillusioned about the military.
  • One day he takes Gene aside and again brings up his suspicions concerning Finny's accident.
  • He finally comes to Gene and Finny's room, along with an entourage, and takes the boys after hours to the assembly hall, where about ten senior boys are waiting.
  • Brinker proceeds to "investigate" the facts surrounding Finny's accident. As he probes Phineas, it becomes clear that Phineas has forgotten or suppressed the details of that day.
  • Brinker agrees to bringing Leper in as a witness, and so interrogates him as to the day in question. He grows frustrated as Leper's answers dance around the truth.
  • When Phineas stands up to leave, Brinker yells that they need to collect the facts.
  • Brinker, along with the other boys, hears the sound of Finny falling down the stairs and rush to help him afterward.
  • After Finny's death, Brinker introduces his father to Gene, which explains a lot more about his motivations and anger. Brinker expresses resentment that his father's generation caused the war, yet his own generation will have to fight it for them.

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