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The Chocolate War
by Robert Cormier
The Chocolate War Chapter 1 Summary
"They murdered him" (1.1). That's the first line of The Chocolate War. (Keep this in mind, especially when you get to the ending!) Jerry Renault gets hit in the head, which makes him sick to his stomach, while turning to receive a pass. He hits the gravel hard, landing on his face. When he stands, the football field is all blurry at first, but soon comes back into focus. When he tries to pass the ball to a kid called The Goober, someone knocks him down and kicks him in the groin. Jerry does all he can to keep the pain off his face. The Goober told him that the coach wants to see how much "guts" (1.3) Jerry has. Looking around the field, looking at the other football players, he has "never felt so lonely in his life, abandoned, defenseless" (1.4). During the third play, three players hit Jerry in the knees, the head, and the belly. They all slam into him at the same time, and he loses hold of the ball. He's never felt physical pain like this. When he tries to get up, he can't. But he doesn't care. He could fall asleep right here. The coach starts yelling at him. Although he'd prefer to stay where he is, and isn't sure he can walk, he gets up. The coach yells some more, and he actually gets some of his spit on Jerry. Jerry wants to tell him to quit spitting on him, but the words don't make it out of his head. He tells the coach he's OK, and the coach asks him his height and weight, which is 5' 9", and 145 pounds. The coach tells Jerry that he might consider him as an "end," but probably not as quarterback, which is the position Jerry really wants. He tells Jerry to be back here at 3pm the next day and to be on time. Jerry imagines making the team, but then he realizes how badly they other players "massacred" (1.26) him. But he doesn't care, because he's still standing. The pain gets worse, and it makes him think of his mother. At the end of her life, she was on so much pain medication she didn't even know who Jerry, or anybody else, was. Now, he feels sick to his stomach. Back at school, he goes into the bathroom and throws up in the toilet.
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