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The Chocolate War

The Chocolate War


by Robert Cormier

The Chocolate War Chapter 18 Summary

  • In bed that night, Jerry wrestles with his actions today.
  • He isn't sure why he decided to keep refusing the chocolates. Maybe it's because of what Brother Leon did to Bailey (in Chapter 6) and the way he makes life miserable for so many kids.
  • Yeah, but it's something else too.
  • The idea of it thrills him.
  • He didn't intend to say no.
  • Actually, he was looking forward to completing the assignment, to being able to blend in with the others during the roll call.
  • Jerry remembers those ten days of saying "No."
  • (Flashback.)
  • When he first says "No" to Leon, Leon's eyes tell Jerry how serious the offense is, how much it means to him. Looking at Leon's eyes gives Jerry a "glimpse into the hell that [is] burning inside the teacher" (18.19).
  • But, soon, Jerry wants to be done with the whole thing. He knows the assignment is designed to hurt Leon, and he doesn't like to be purposefully hurtful.
  • But, he has no choice.
  • So, he can't wait to be done with it all so school, football, and roll call can all go back to normal. Keeping his assignment secret from the other kids is another burden he wants to be done with.
  • He almost confesses the truth to The Goober, but manages to control himself. He tells himself it will all be over soon, and Brother Leon will see that none of this is his fault, will assume The Vigils put him up to it.
  • (End flashback.)
  • Jerry doesn't understand himself. He'd wanted it to be over, but this morning he couldn't help saying, "No" (18.20).
  • As he listens to his father's snores, he wonders if it has to do with that kid, the one who said he was stuck in a routine. (See Chapter 3.)
  • Jerry tries to put all those thoughts away. He thinks of a gorgeous girl he saw today at the bus stop. He thinks of touching her breasts and tries to masturbate, thinking of her, but it doesn't work. For some reason, it doesn't work.

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