1. The human being as an individual reveres himself above all else, often forgetting the pain and misery many others suffer around him.
Phineas could be used for this text, but Brinker proves the far better individual to analyze. Before the second accident, Brinker pulls aside Gene to accuse him of “putting off enlisting” due to Finny. In his own blind path of glory he doesn’t care that Phineas could be hurt mentally from the “truth” he wishes to clear up. Brinker can’t have Gene because Phineas stole him away out of pity, and so the Yellow Peril determines to end this relationship once and for all by calling a court to serve his own needs.
2. The common individual who does not trust himself cannot trust others, which results in a paranoia that haunts the mind and causes it to find deception in every ally.
Gene is obviously the focus of this truth, being the main character who struggles with trust. Early in the novel he begins to develop a paranoia that leads to his betrayal of Finny. This paranoia begins when he thinks that his “best friend” is plotting against him, to excel beyond him and sabotage his attempts at valedictorian. Though not true, this thought propels Gene to do the unthinkable: intentionally harm his best friend.
3. When caught in the spotlight of weakness, everyone’s first instinct is to look for an exit where none can be found, and in desperate cases take extreme measures to escape the corner.
Gene exemplifies this trait early in the novel, and even recognizes that “sarcasm [is] the protest of people who are weak.” This is significant because he hides behind his mask of indifference, using sarcasm to form a wall so that no one can impede upon his true feelings or true life. Whenever he realizes that his wall is defective though, Gene panics and immediately brands Phineas as an enemy. This attempt to worm out of his position of weakness results in the injury of his best friend, Finny, who never did desire to condemn him.