In A Separate Peace, the tree was branded as "off-limits" for the students at Devon, and jumping from the tree was ordinarily a severe breach of regulations (which only Finny could undergo unpunished).
It was, even in Finny's case, neither encouraged nor looked kindly upon.
One must analyze and think for themselves before trusting or following what anyone says. Finny would not let his own observations get in the way, he completely trusted Gene when he even had “a kind of feeling. When both Finny and Neil were faced with their dream world being shattered both their lives resulted in death. His innocence and Gene letting him down killed him inside and ultimately outside too. When his father threatened to force him into military school for ten years, Neil came to the conclusion that “But that’s ten more years… ” Neil wanted to “live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.
Both Finny and Neil followed people blindly which ultimately resulted in death. He could never suspect anything of Gene because “it’s important for me to believe you. Gene meant everything to Finny and when Finny was forced to face the truth he ran away from it and fell down the stairs. To put to rout all that was not life, and not when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived” Neil felt that if he were forced to live the life his father wanted it would not be as if he were living so he felt he had no choice but to kill himself.
Finny is an example of living the "carpe diem" (seize the day) philosophy from the movie "Dead Poets Society." There are a few examples in the first part of this novel of how Finny takes advantage of life.
The first example is how he enjoys himself so much at the beach.Both Finny and Neil were honest, innocent and talented boys, unfortunately what they also had in common was they were naive, trusting, and idealists who wanted to live the dream and only the dream.They could not understand that one must work for their dreams in order for it to become reality.Neil’s misconception of reality can be shown through how he only saw the good of the Dead Poet’s Society, not the danger of it, when clearly the society lead to the boys doing crazy things such as the article in the newspaper. ” In fear of choking on the bone, both Finny and Neil preferred not knowing the truth rather than accepting it. He felt that Gene was his best friend and if he couldn’t believe in Gene, then the structure of his life would fall apart.Neil also never considered money when choosing a job. Finny undoubtedly knew that Gene deliberately pushed him off the tree but convinced himself that “I must have just lost my balance. It was more important for Finny to believe in Gene rather than to know the truth."He was everywhere, he enjoyed himself hugely, he laughed out loud at passing sea gulls"(39).This line is describing Phineas, or Finny, and how he lives life to it’s fullest and seizes the day.Finny could not live with Gene being responsible for his accident and Neil could not live in military school.Neither could imagine a life unlike the vision in their head.Finny looks at one and decides that he can beat that time record. Gene wants him to do it on front of an official judge.Finny Refuses and says "No, I just wanted to see if I could do it. This tells you that he lives life to it’s fullest, since he is just doing this to see if he can.