A Separate Peace

Cliff Quackenbush is an irritable and condescending Devon crew team manager. Disliked by most Devon students, Cliff mistreats anyone who he has power over. In the aftermath of Finny’s fall, Gene decides that he will become the assistant crew manager because he doesn’t want to play sports, no longer trusting himself to engage in competitive activities after what he did to Finny. However, his plan goes awry when he punches Quackenbush in the face, defending Finny’s honor because Quackenbush uses the word “maimed.” In response, Quackenbush puts him in a wrestling hold, and the two boys fall into the river.
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Cliff Quackenbush Character Timeline in A Separate Peace

The timeline below shows where the character Cliff Quackenbush appears in A Separate Peace. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6
Change and Growing Up Theme Icon
Friendship and Honesty Theme Icon
...which the Devon joins before entering the ocean. When he reaches the Crew House, Cliff Quackenbush, the crew manager, admonishes him for being late. Most people dislike Quackenbush because he’s abrasive... (full context)
Friendship and Honesty Theme Icon
At the end of the day, Quackenbush tries to understand why Gene is suddenly interested in managing teams, which is a job... (full context)
Optimism, Idealization, and Denial Theme Icon
Friendship and Honesty Theme Icon
Although Gene wants to think that he hit Quackenbush to defend Finny, he knows that he really did it for himself. On his way... (full context)
Chapter 7
War and Rivalry Theme Icon
Change and Growing Up Theme Icon
Optimism, Idealization, and Denial Theme Icon
...the others talk about joining the military. While everyone speaks eagerly about wanting to enlist, Quackenbush says that he’s going to finish his studies before entering the military. Hearing this, Brinker... (full context)