1. At what time of year does Gene return to Devon to visit? What atmosphere, or mood, is created by setting the story during this season? What do Gene’s descriptions of the season suggest about his state of mind?
2. Describe Finny’s relationship with his teachers. What does the teachers’ attitude toward Finny suggest about his personality?
3. Gene believes blitzball is a perfect game for Finny. Explain how the game is played. How do the rules of the game and the skills needed to play it reflect Finny’s character?
4. Describe the awards Finny has won. What record does he break? What do the awards and his refusal to make his accomplishment public suggest about him?
5. After the overnight trip to the beach, what does Gene decide Finny is trying to do to him? What leads Gene to this conclusion? How does Gene feel when he realizes he is wrong?
6. Evaluate Finny’s response to his injury and Gene’s revelation. Is the response believable? Is it consistent with Finny’s previous attitudes and behavior? Support your opinions with evidence from the novel.
7. How did Gene deal with his friendship with Finny after the accident? Would you have done anything differently? Why or why not?
8. What does Gene do when Quackenbush accuses him of being maimed? What motivates Gene to respond this way? In what sense might Gene be maimed?
9. Contrast the mood at Devon during the summer session and fall session. Identify at least three factors that might account for this change in mood.
10. What is Finny’s theory about the war? How might his injury influence his feelings toward the war?
11. Why is it surprising that Elwin (Leper) Lepellier is the first Devon boy to enlist? In what ways is he different from the other boys who talk of enlisting?
12. In this section, what details does the author use to show the ways in which war is changing the atmosphere at Devon?