The summer session ends, and Gene goes home to the South for a brief vacation. On his way back to school, he stops by Finny’s house and explains to his friend that he shook the branch on purpose. Finny refuses to listen to him, and Gene rescinds his confession and continues on to school. There, Gene attempts to avoid true athletic activity by becoming assistant manager of the crew team, but he feuds with the crew manager and quits. World War II is in full swing and the boys at Devon are all eager to enlist in the military. Brinker Hadley, a prominent class politician, suggests to Gene that they enlist together, and Gene agrees. That night, however, he finds Finny has returned to school. He consequently abandons his plans to enlist, as does Brinker. Finny expects Gene to take his place as the school’s sports star now that he is injured. When Gene protests that sports no longer seem important in the midst of the war, Finny declares that the war is nothing but a conspiracy to keep young men from eclipsing the older authorities.