Usually referred to solely by his last name, Cliff Quackenbush is the most disliked boy in Gene’s year at Devon. He has an abrasive personality, quick to demean and attack any boy whom he perceives as weaker than him. Gene notes that Quackenbush is a “firmly masculine type” whose voice already sounds adult before the rest of them. This association between Quackenbush and adult masculinity implies that Gene sees something very adult in Quackenbush’s anger, bitterness, and quickness to assume enmity. The way Quackenbush appears to treat life at Devon entirely as war preparation supports this reading. Quackenbush takes being crew manager with a disconcerting seriousness, ready to fight over Gene’s laughter. He plans to make use of Devon’s athletic programs to bulk up before he enlists, hoping to start military life with an advantage over his peers. In this way, Quackenbush’s view of the world is Finny’s true opposite. Where Finny makes peace and playfulness even out of the grim winter term, Quackenbush creates conflict and strife even where there needn’t be any, a grim indictment of wartime adulthood.