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The Chocolate War

The Chocolate War


by Robert Cormier

The Chocolate War Chapter 2 Summary

  • Obie is totally uninterested in his life. He even finds it repulsive. He's, tired of his life, and especially exhausted with Archie.
  • He thinks Archie is a complete "bastard" (2.1), meaning he hates him and admires him at the same time.
  • Right now, sitting on the bleachers with Archie, Obie hates him intensely.
  • It's because of the way Archie's taking his time telling Obie what he needs to write down in his notebook. Taking his time when he knows Obie has to go to work.
  • Obie tells Archie he's "a real bastard" (2.2).
  • They are sitting in the bleachers and Obie is waiting to write down Archie's instructions.
  • When Obie reminds Archie he has a job to get to, Archie tells him losing the job he hates could only be a good thing.
  • There's Archie for you. He knows Obie hates his job, even though Obie never told him so.
  • Obie wants to know what he'll do for money if he loses his job.
  • Archie waves away his concern and begins to focus.
  • Now Obie is in suspense, waiting to find out what the next "assignments" will be.
  • They are part of an organization here at Trinity high school called The Vigils (which you'll learn all about very soon).
  • Archie is legendary for the assignments he dreams up. The psychological games he plays might even be worse than physical violence.
  • Finally, Archie gives Obie the first of three names, Norman Stanton. Obie writes it down in his notebook and asks about his assignment.
  • Archie says, "Sidewalk" (2.20).
  • Now Obie's smiling – he knows that Archie must have thought up a good one for Norman.
  • All the sudden Archie asks Obie if he's actually late and if he could really get fired.
  • That's another thing about Archie – his ability to show what looks like genuine concern.
  • Obie says his boss is a friend of the family, so he won't get fired. But, he's trying to get a raise and being late all the time isn't helping.
  • Archie says he could "assign someone to the store, and make life interesting for [Obie's] boss" (2.24).
  • Quickly, Obie protests. He's afraid, and he "realiz[es] how awesome Archie's power really [is]" (2.27). It's best not to get on his bad side.
  • Obie is The Vigils' secretary, but he's more like Archie's personal assistant – his real job is to make sure Archie has what he needs, like making sure Archie never runs out of chocolate.
  • Obie's really glad Archie isn't into drugs. Then Obie would have to get that for him, too.
  • Anyway, Carter, another "bastard" (2.27) is president of The Vigils, and Archie tells Obie to "Keep him happy" (2.27).
  • Obie waits for the other two names. It probably won't be a football player or a boxer, because Archie usually doesn't bother them.
  • According to Obie, physical violence doesn't appeal to Archie. Plus, keeping the assignments on the psychological level – just messing with other students' heads – keeps the brothers who run Trinity from shutting The Vigils down.
  • (Trinity is a Catholic school; the male teachers aren't priests, but are approved by the church to teach, and referred to as "brothers" and addressed as "Brother.")
  • Archie gives Obie the next name: Roland Goubert (a.k.a. The Goober). His assignment has to do with Brother Eugene's classroom.
  • Again, Obie is pleased. It's more dangerous when the brothers are involved.
  • Suddenly, Archie begins griping about his job. Apparently, it's difficult to dream up assignments, and he has the black box to worry about.
  • (You'll learn about the black box soon enough.)
  • Finally, Archie gives him the third name: Jerry Renault, the new freshman.
  • Apparently, Obie's notebook contains lots and lots of coded info on every person at Trinity, more info than the school records.
  • He even has the names in alphabetical order. He turns the pages until he gets to "Renault, Jerome E." (2.45) and learns that Jerry's dad James works at Blake's drugstore as a pharmacist.
  • He also learns that Jerry recently turned fourteen, and that Jerry's mother died of cancer last spring.
  • After reading up on Jerry's background, Obie is surprised that Archie still wants to keep Jerry's name down for the assignment. Archie says Jerry needs "therapy" (2.55).
  • Obie argues against it. Jerry doesn't need any more trouble right now.
  • Archie says that the assignment will help Jerry "keep his mind off his poor dead mother" (2.58).
  • Obie calls him a bastard again and waits for the assignment.
  • Archie says, "Put him down for the chocolates" (2.66).
  • (You'll find out what "the chocolates" is very soon.)
  • After the meeting, Obie rushes to try to catch the 4pm bus to his job.

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