The Tree of Guilt Ayat bhutta & Sarah roo

Chapter one

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Dear diary,

I did it. I jumped off the branch and into the river .In the moment, like all adrenaline boosting things it felt good, up until the point where I almost died! Don't get me wrong, i didn't want to jump into the river. I mean who in their right mind decides to jump off a tree into a river. It's absurd! Too many things can go wrong, what if the river wasn't as deep as we expected or even worse… What if a teacher saw us? This is all Finny’s fault. How dare he talk me into jump off the tree. He could tell I didn't want to do it, but in front of all of the boys I had no choice. They would think i was being a whimp, I needed to protect my reputation. I mean really, none of the other boys jumped but of course i had to, i wouldn't have heard the end of it if I told Finny I was too scared.

yours TRULY, gene

What was I doing up here anyway? Why did I let Finny talk me into stupid things like this? Was he getting some kind of hold over me? (KNOWLES 17)


Chapter 2

Mr. Charismatic

Dear Diary,

Hey! Introduction time, hmmhmhm, it's Phineas or many call me Finny. A lot happened today, I managed to escape the grasps of the devil. I got in trouble, but as expected, I talked myself out. We were caught for skipping dinner, I do not know why the school even makes such a big deal out of it, absolutely ridiculous. It seemed like the more I talked, the more Mr. Prudhomme started to let loose, it seemed. I said jumping out of the tree was a preparation for military enlistment, just in case they lowered the age, hahahaha. How are these people supposed to teach us if we can slip out of every single one of their rules? Oh yeah, I also decided to wear a pink shirt in honor for the allied bombing. Daring, some people would think, but it’s a form of expressive creativity, nothing else. People are just too caught up in things, takes the fun out of life. Sometimes people forget, many times people forget the purpose of life. Living it to the fullest, no regrets, you only live once, and that’s one chance to make life unforgettable.

- Finny

"He pressed his advantage because he saw that Mr. Prud'homme was pleased, won over in spite of himself. […] There might be a flow of simple, unregulated friendliness between them, and such flows were one of Finny's reasons for living" (Knowles 22).
This is a drawing of Finny, portraying him in a pink shirt and his talkative and bright personality.

Chapter 3

Blitzball and the Beach

Dear Diary,

Finny again. I’m a genius! Everyone enjoys my new invention, yes, this can be it! I will become famous, a well known figure, the inventor of a worldwide sport Blitzball! Of course the best player is, no surprise. Not to brag either, me Phineas. Expected. I thought the invention might release some of Gene’s tension, you know to let loose. Sometimes he is too caught up in his world of serious studying. I really worry for him sometimes. He’s probably stressed from all those words, numbers, and information that his brain constantly sucks in. Like a vacuum. So thinking it might not be enough. Maybe Gene needs a vacation. I proposed that we would visit the beach. It was fun. We slept there also. It was peaceful, I felt free, something I could never mimic in my conscious mind no matter how hard I try.

- Finny

"In such a nonstop game he also had the natural advantage of a flow of energy which I never saw interrupted. I never saw him tired, never really winded, never overcharged and never restless. At dawn, all day long, and at midnight, Phineas always had a steady and formidable flow of usable energy" (Knowles 39)
This is a drawing portraying Gene and Finny at the beach together. This shows the long lasting friendship between the boys.

Chapter 4


Dear Diary,

I can’t help but feel that Finny is after me and my studies. Finny is perfect, a great athlete but a poor student. Maybe he feels the need to ruin my studies, so he can be better than me. I have observed him many times. The Secret Suicide Society was made as one of the obstacles to ruin me. He also decides to make me go places with him. Like that one time with the beach, he was trying to find our money to get breakfast when we were already late. It was over when I really needed to study and Phineas tried to disrupt my work again with the excuse that Leper might jump the tree. I really broke this time but I never revealed the rivalry between us. Apparently it seemed that Phineas was never jealous of me. After yelling at him he probably won’t see me in the same way. But I decided to go with him to jump the tree. As soon as I step on Phineas started to fall down lower and lower until his body smacked against the water. I couldn’t see anything, something moved inside of me and I fell with him, this time unlike the others. I was fearless.

- Gene

"Holding firmly to the trunk, I took a step towards him, and then my knees bent and I jounced the limb. Finny his balance gone, swung his head around to look at me for an instant with extreme interest, and then he tumbled sideways, broke through the little branched below and hit the bank with a sickening, unnatural thud" (Knowles 59-60).

This image shows Finny falling off the tree and reaching out to Gene. While Gene just looks on. This scene is significant because it shows the peak of Gene's jealousy and how far he is able to go for it.

Chapter 5

It's Not His Fault

Dear Diary,

I spent a portion of my life in the school’s infirmary. Apparently my leg had shattered, and I won't be able to play sports anymore. Bummer …. I still am unable to get my thoughts and feelings straight. It seems like only yesterday that Gene and I were playing together, it was yesterday actually. I decided to spend my recovery at home, whether it be physically or mentally. Even when the school year starts I will still be at home, unfortunately I will not be able to see Gene for awhile. But unexpectedly Gene showed up at my front door. He told me that he purposely shook the limb to make me fall, his tone was serious. I would not believe him, what is his motive for doing that? Maybe he just wanted to blame himself instead of me blaming myself. I know Gene would not do that, why is he blaming himself. It’s not his fault!

- Finny

You see! Kill me! Now you know what it is! I did it because I felt like that! Now you know yourself!" (Knowles 70).
This images shows Gene visiting Finny, telling Finny that he caused the accident but Finny is in denial.

Chapter Six

The Art of Being Maimed

Dear Diary,

Summer is over, I have to make sure I study really hard! My room feels empty without Finny. And let me just tell you, there are so many people in the school now! I feel claustrophobic every time I walk out of my room! Why do people think I choose this room for only being alone! I didn't know Finny wouldn't be here, he should be healed by now. After all I did to Finny, I have to do sports for him. I talked to Quackenbush, boy does that guy know how to strike a nerve. Why would one call someone maimed when they are in fact not? It makes no sense. Why does he pick on me? I have done nothing to him! He just took it to far adding Finny into his foolish ways… I couldn't hold back anymore, I had to punch him. My fist couldn't hold back! Guess what else? Finny called me today! He was happy with me for punching Quackenbush, I knew it was right, Finny’s conformation helped with the guilt.

Yours Truly, Gene


The picture Genes fist- assuming heisted his fist to hit Quakenbush- also illustrates Genes realization that he does care about Finny. And that self defense in necessity is okay.

Chapter seven

Stories and Badly Written Poems

Dear Diary,

There is something seriously wrong with Brinker! He was making jokes about Finny today… what was I to do but play along. I tried to create a conversation change and led the boys to the “Butt Room” but even in there Brinker kept talking. Does this boy ever be quiet? Because of him all the other boys started playing along! They created this “illusion” that I pushed Finny off the branch. Little do they know I actually did cause his accident. The whole thing was utterly dreadful! And don't even get me started on Brinker's "Poems "one can even call something as dreadful as that a poem. We also went on a ski trip, it was fun! What made it even better was that Brinker said he was going to enlist!! No more cringe worthy poems and unreasonable story's. You'll never guess what happened when I came back to my dorm! Finny was there!!

Yours truly, gene

We seemed to be nothing but children playing against heroic men (Knowles 97)

The picture illustrates the "Butt Room" in the basement of Devon. It symbolizes Gene's guilt because he was the one who told the boys to go there so they would stop talking about Finny's accident.

Chapter 8

I'm Back Boys

Dear Diary,

I'm finally back at Devon and the first thing I saw was absolutely horrendous! Gene’s fashion sense remained, but he was showing it off a lot. The next thing I heard hurt even more, apparently Gene decided to enlist without consulting with his best friend! I don't understand why people thinks that there is actually a war going on. Those old fat men are making up the story they don't us youngsters to crowd them out of their jobs. There is not such food shortage rather all them fat men be taking up the richest steaks. I can't believed that even Gene was fooled. I also witnessed the most amazing sight, I discovered that Gene has an hidden athletic talent. He was able to do forty -- wait thirty pull ups not forty but still amazing considering it came from Gene.


"The fat old men who don't want us crowding them out of their jobs. They've made it all up. There isn't any real food shortage, for instance. The men have all the best steaks delivered to their clubs now. You've noticed how they've been getting fatter lately, haven't you?" (Knowles 115).
This image is of Finny's ideas of what is really going on with the war. Fat men who want to keep their jobs, instead they are eating steaks at the club. This is significant because it shows Finny's unaccepting personality. Unwilling to yield to reality and the truth. Believing only what he wants to.

CHapter 9

Leper and the Winter Carnival

Dear Diary,

Leper decided to enlist in the military, I am not sure why he decided to, does he not know the war is fake. He is just like everyone else. I am not sure why people would want to enlist anyways even if the war is real, who would want to risk their lives. I decided to stage a winter carnival, it was awesome. There was cider, it actually was a great idea. The cider made us all bubbly and jumpy out of control. Time felt like it stopped yet it all want so fast. I even got up on the table and started dancing. Life felt too good to be real. I forgot everything, my leg, what Gene said. Everything flew over my head. This once I let it all go, everything I was holding behind in my head, the things I would never forget. Things I would never talk about ever again. I let those memories fly and wither away, just for this second.


"The hard cider began to take charge of us. Or I wonder now whether it wasn't the cider but our own exuberance which intoxicated is..." (Knowles 135).
This image shows Finny dancing on the table, drinking cider at his winter carnival. This is significant because it shows the friendship and bondage between the group of boys. And how they are treating the night like the last day of their lives. A memorable event in the novel.

Chapter 10

I Saw Them Limbs

Dear Diary,

I called Gene over, I have escape the army. They were planning on killing me, I just knew it. I saw it! I witnessed them carry those limbs! They discharged me for insanity, claiming that I am unable to work or live normally. They are just trying to put the blame on me, because I witnessed it. They will do the same to me. I don’t know if those limbs are from the Americans or the enemy but why were there limbs in the first place. The army is trying to hide something, but I know. I know and I will inform Gene, so he can pass on the information. But by the time he got to my secret hideout but Gene, I don’t remember what. But I know that savage knocked Finny down that tree, maybe Gene is working for the army and has been sent to kill me! I even told him that I witnessed those men carrying the limbs. You never know who you can trust, only yourself.


"...It was this man with the cough who slept in the next cot, and he was holding a broom because we had been sweeping out the barracks, but I saw right away that it wasn't a broom, it was a man's leg which had been cut off" (Knowles 150).
This scene shows Leper, "witnessing" an army guy carrying a limb. This scene is significant because it shows how insane Leper has gotten over the course of time. And how the war has effected his mental health. This may foreshadow the other boys' decisions regarding military enlistment.

Chapter 11

All About Them Legs

Dear Diary,

After a rough visit to Leper’s, I come back to find Finny participating in a snowball fight and apparently he was the one who started it. Gosh, he doesn't know the importance of caring for himself. He should be more careful. I was so worried he could break or injure his leg further. Just as I thought my day couldn't get worse, Brinker decides to try to confront Finny and force him to accept that his leg is broken. Maybe Brinker feels sympathetic for me because he knows now that I basically am living my life for Finny. But who does he think he is, what makes him think that his opinion matters. It's my life and if I egret something then I do what I want. Not only that but Finny and I basically decided to make up the story. That I was never on the branch and it was only Finny up there. I don't know if it's the right thing to do but, if Finny actually accepts that I purposely shook the branch …. I don't know how much longer our friendship would last. I know it was my mistake and I would do anything to make that not happen. But … I am just stupid. Leper also came, he witnessed every single thing that happened on that night, he told everyone that I shook the branch. And Finny, I wouldn't dare meet his eyes, I knew he cried, I knew he walked out the room. And I knew I heard that thud, loud and clear. I knew it was him, and the direction the horrific sound came from, the stairwell.


"Then these separate sounds collided into the general tumult of his body falling clumsily down the white marble stairs" (Knowles 177).
This image shows Finny falling down the stairwell. This is an important moment in the novel because it changes how characters act from this point on. Finny died during surgery for falling down the second time. And Gene becomes empty but realizes what his true enemy was all along. He learned from the moment and left some of himself behind.

Chapter 12

Death and Reconciliation

Dear DiaRy,

Dead is my best friend and my greatest enemy. I feel broken. There is no life for me anymore, I am dead alongside him. My heart is shattered like a glass fallen on the floor. I do not cry, I cannot cry, for one does not cry for thier own death but welcomes it with open arms. For what will I live? His death will not stop his long lasting impact on his environment , we will embody Finny’s attitude in our daily life. It was a shock of course, I last spoke to him about the guilt that was building up inside of me ready to take over. He forgave me- what kind of a person would forgive without second thought. Perhaps, if the trial had not gone on, if Brinker had kept his big mouth shut, Finny would still be here. I was such a bad friend, putting my desire over his safety… What's done is done, Now i will live forever wondering if I didn't shake the branch and set off this chain of reactions. Would Finny still be alive?

Yours truly, Gene

I did not cry then or ever about Finny [...] I coundnot escape the feeling that this was my own funeral. (KNOWLES 194)

This Picture illustrates the place where Finny died. It is very significant because here is where Gene and Finny came to agreement about their friendship. The hospital bed symbolizes Finny's coffin and his death, because when he was in the bed he had a very hard time getting comfortable and once he did he was at peace.

Chapter 13


Dear Diary,

I can finally let out a breath. I know what I will do about this god forsaken war, I will join the navy. Of course Brinker's father doesn't agree but he seems the sort of person to agree with jumping off a cliff so I think I'm fine without his blessing. The obvious question is will I ever get over Finny? Should I get over Finny? He will always find himself implemented in my actions but is that enough? It has to be. I know the navy isn't where he would've gone but that's where I'll be taking him. Together we will leave Devon behind and walk to the future. Leaving Devin seemed like ages away and now suddenly it's right here, were done. Officially old enough to go and enlist in the military, get jobs, go to college. It's surreal. Devon will now only be a morgue of my memories patiently waiting until I come back to visit it.

Yours truLy, Gene

During the time I was with him, Phineas created an atmosphere in which I continued now to live…. (Knowles 202)

This picture illustrates Genes future job in the navy. The bonoculores symbolize Genes hopes and dreams as he leaves Devon.

Survival of the Fittest

BOard game




Question cards

Two or more people to play with

All ages



1-Have everyone playing roll the dice

2-Who ever gets a six first gets to start first

3-Then that same person will roll again to see how many boxes they will go

4- repeat #2-3 until everyone goes

5- First one to the end wins

(Corresponding Rules for Special Places )

“The Tree” - Oops you broke your leg! Go back to start!

“The Butt Room” - Pick up a question card- answer the question in front of everyone!

“Spies”- Spies have caught you trying to win! Go back two spaces

“ Free Space” - Pick a player to either move three spaces back OR answer a question card

“Camouflage”- Oh No! You got lost in the forest! Wait two turns then continue playing


Created with images by USFWS Headquarters - "Peninsular Florida LCC" • Editor B - "Fist" • Ralph Hockens - "basement" • Presidencia de la República Mexicana - "Inauguración del Hospital Municipal de Chiconcuac" • wave-rider - "Navy_binoculars.jpg" • V31S70 - "IMG_2672"

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