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The Chocolate War

The Chocolate War

  

by Robert Cormier

The Chocolate War Chapter 19 Summary

  • Jerry feels horrible the next morning. On the bus, he feels like a carsick child.
  • Somebody sits next to him and congratulates him for standing up to Leon.
  • Jerry sees that the situation is more serious than he thought.
  • The random kid tells Jerry how much he despises selling things for school. Even at his old school kids were constantly forced to do sales.
  • He tells Jerry that he never even considered refusing to do it. Until now.
  • Jerry blows the guy off, feeling like he's not the hero the guy thinks he is, dreading facing Leon again at roll call.
  • The Goober is waiting for Jerry, and he wants to have a talk. He wants to know why Jerry is still refusing the chocolates, but Jerry doesn't have any answers.
  • The Goober warns him that this is serious business.
  • Jerry tells him he's making too big a deal about it. He's just one kid in four hundred. How much could he matter?
  • The Goober says that Leon doesn't see things that way. He'll make Jerry pay.
  • As Jerry goes toward class, some of the kids tell him to keep up the good work.
  • The Goober begs him to accept the chocolates today. But Jerry says he won't do it. Now, he's taken a stand. He has to see it through to the end.
  • They make a quick detour to Jerry's locker. Jerry looks at the poster he has tacked up. It shows a man walking alone on a beach at night. Only one star is visible. The caption says, "Do I dare disturb the universe?" (19.38). It's a quote from T.S. Eliot, the man who wrote The Waste Land, which he had to read for class.
  • (The quote is a famous line from T.S. Elliot's poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." See "Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory" for our thoughts on it.)
  • The quote really appeals to Jerry, though he isn't sure why.
  • Back in Brother Leon's classroom, the morning routine begins anew. Brother Leon seems almost happy and upbeat as he calls roll.
  • He calls Jerry's name.
  • Jerry thinks about how simple it would be to just tell Leon what he wants to hear.
  • But he doesn't do it. He says, "No" (19.54) and then feels incredibly alone.

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