Hey guys! And with this, we finish ASP. Sorry for the format issues with the last post, WordPress and I are engaged in an epic struggle right now.
“I wanted to see Phineas, and Phineas only.”-page 144
AW. When you feel upset, do you find solace in one person, one friend? This, to me, goes deeper than “You’re my bff, bro.”
“Hours later it occurred to me to ask him, “Do you think you ought to get into fights like that? After all, there’s your leg—”
“Stanpole said something about not falling again, but I’m very careful.”
“Christ, don’t break it again!”
“No, of course I won’t break it again. Isn’t the bone supposed to be stronger when it grows together over a place where it’s been broken once?”
“Yes, I think it is.”
“I think so too. In fact I think I can feel it getting stronger.”
“You think you can? Can you feel it?”
“Yes, I think so.”
“I said that’s good.”
“Yes, I guess it is. I guess that’s good, all right.”-page 147
Again we see Gene’s love for Finny and his deep fear of admitting it.
“You’ve been putting off enlisting in something for only one reason,” he said at once. “You know that, don’t you?”
“No, I don’t know that.”
“Well, I know, and I’ll tell you what it is. It’s Finny. You pity him.”
“Yes, pity him. And if you don’t watch out he’s going to start pitying himself. Nobody ever mentions his leg to him except me. Keep that up and he’ll be sloppy with self-pity any day now. What’s everybody beating around the bush for? He’s crippled and that’s that. He’s got to accept it and unless we start acting perfectly natural about it, even kid him about it once in a while, he never will.”
“You’re so wrong I can’t even—I can’t even hear you, you’re so wrong.”
“Well, I’m going to do it anyway.”
“No. You’re not.”
“The hell I’m not. I don’t have to have your approval, do I?”
“I’m his roommate, and I’m his best friend—”
“And you were there when it happened. I know.”-pages 151-152
Here is Gene again in the role of Finny’s defender; and even Brinker points out that Gene hasn’t enlisted because of Finny, who he refuses to leave behind.
“Naturally I don’t believe books and I don’t believe teachers,” he came across a few paces, “but I do believe—it’s important after all for me to believe you. Christ, I’ve got to believe you, at least. I know you better than anybody.”-pages 154-155
Awww, Finny. Again, this seems deeper than friendship. How deeply do you rely on your best friend? How deeply do you love them?
“I dashed back up the stairs, found a blanket and gave it to Phil Latham. He carefully wrapped it around Phineas.
I would have liked very much to have done that myself; it would have meant a lot to me.” -pages 170-171
There’s something very tender in the action of wrapping someone in a blanket. Thus, this.
“Phineas had thought of me as an extension of himself.”-page 171
You ever hear of someone referring to a couple as one entity? Maybe it’s not stated in those words, but I think that’s implied.
“Then I added, with great difficulty, “I thought I belonged here.”
I felt him turning to look at me, and so I looked up. He had a particular expression which his face assumed when he understood but didn’t think he should show it, a settled, enlightened look; its appearance now was the first decent thing I had seen in a long time.”-page 181
This is probably the closest Gene ever comes to admitting how he feels about Finny. Finny’s anger at Gene immediately fades; he understand what Gene is trying to say, and answers him with understanding and not pushing. All along, Finny has understood Gene much better than Gene ever thinks.
“Finny,” my voice broke but I went on, “Phineas, you wouldn’t be any good in the war, even if nothing had happened to your leg.”
A look of amazement fell over him. It scared me, but I knew what I said was important and right, and my voice found that full tone voices have when they are expressing something long-felt and long-understood and released at last. “They’d get you some place at the front and there’d be a lull in the fighting, and the next thing anyone knew you’d be over with the Germans or the Japs, asking if they’d like to field a baseball team against our side. You’d be sitting in one of their command posts, teaching them English. Yes, you’d get confused and borrow one of their uniforms, and you’d lend them one of yours. Sure, that’s just what would happen. You’d get things so scrambled up nobody would know who to fight any more. You’d make a mess, a terrible mess, Finny, out of the war.”
His face had been struggling to stay calm as he listened to me, but now he was crying but trying to control himself. “It was just some kind of blind impulse you had in the tree there, you didn’t know what you were doing. Was that it?”
“Yes, yes, that was it. Oh that was it, but how can you believe that? How can you believe that? I can’t even make myself pretend that you could believe that.”
“I do, I think I can believe that. I’ve gotten awfully mad sometimes and almost forgotten what I was doing. I think I believe you, I think I can believe that. Then that was it. Something just seized you. It wasn’t anything you really felt against me, it wasn’t some kind of hate you’ve felt all along. It wasn’t anything personal.”
“No, I don’t know how to show you, how can I show you, Finny? Tell me how to show you. It was just some ignorance inside me, some crazy thing inside me, something blind, that’s all it was.”
He was nodding his head, his jaw tightening and his eyes closed on the tears. “I believe you. It’s okay because I understand and I believe you. You’ve already shown me and I believe you.”-pages 182-183
*Cries* I guess this could be friendship, you naysayers. But this straight up a beautiful example of their bond, homo or heterosexual; Gene soothes Finny’s pain, and Finny gives Gene the best gift he ever could: forgiveness.
It hurts my soul. Gene might not cry, but I mourn my Finny. Well, technically I didn’t cry either, but I was really sad.
“I never talked about Phineas and neither did anyone else; he was, however, present in every moment of every day since Dr, Stanpole had told me. Finny had a vitality which could not be quenched so suddenly, even by the marrow of his bone. That was why I couldn’t say anything or listen to anything about him, because he endured so forcefully that what I had to say would have seemed crazy to anyone else—I could not use the past tense, for instance—and what they had to say would be incomprehensible to me. During the time I was with him, Phineas created an atmosphere in which I continued now to live, a way of sizing up the world with erratic and entirely personal reservations, letting its rocklike facts sift through and be accepted only a little at a time, only as much as he could assimilate without a sense of chaos and loss.
No one else I have ever met could do this.”-page 194
Phineas has such a profound impact on Gene that even after he dies Gene continues to live in his world. Even fifteen years later, Gene is still remembering Phineas- even though: “Nothing endures, not a tree, not love, not even a death by violence.”(page 6). He even says love…did I already do that one? Eh.
Gene regrets missing his chances with Finny, as he says on page 74: “If only I had truly taken advantage of the situation, seized and held and prized the multitudes of advantages the summer offered me; if only I had.”
I hope in the last-what, five posts?- I’ve proven that Ginny is real- and still a better love story than Twilight. Or for that matter, Romeo and Juliet. Honestly, it’s worth it to read ASP just for Finny. But just him, because the plot is awful, but Finny’s cool. Thus I give it two stars, for Finny and some nice writing.
Up next: Something I’m not breaking down chapter by chapter. Maybe Matched.
Night everyone! Think I’m getting an A on this ASP test? 🙂