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The Chocolate War

The Chocolate War


by Robert Cormier

The Chocolate War Chapter 3 Summary

  • Jerry's in a bookstore, looking at a picture of a gorgeous blond woman in a magazine.
  • After putting the magazine back on the rack, he wonders why "he always [feels] so guilty whenever he [looks] at Playboy and the other magazines" (3.2).
  • He knows it's normal reading material for teenage guys, and he's even seen them on coffee tables in people's houses.
  • He bought one once, but he was constantly paranoid about his mom finding it, so he ended up throwing it out.
  • Jerry wonders if any girl will love him. He really wants to touch a girl's breast.
  • After the bookstore, while waiting for the bus, Jerry watches the public area across the street from him. It's filled with "Hippies. Flower Children. Street People. Drifters. Drop-Outs" (3.3).
  • (Sure sounds like the 1970s.)
  • Jerry watches them every day and kind of wishes he could dress casually like those kids. He can't, though, because Trinity is strictly suit and tie.
  • Before he knows it, one of those kids – he looks about nineteen – is up in Jerry's face, asking him why he's always staring at them, like they're animals in "the zoo" (3.7).
  • Jerry denies staring, even though he knows it's true.
  • The random guy (as we call him) accuses Jerry of judging them. He can tell Jerry's judging them because he's wearing a suit and tie.
  • He accuses Jerry of thinking they are "sub-humans" (3.13) and tells Jerry he's the one "who's sub-human" (3.17).
  • Jerry, according to the random guy, is subhuman because he's stuck in a boring, safe routine.
  • The random guy says, "Square boy. Middle aged at fourteen, fifteen" (3.17).
  • On the bus, the random guy's words haunt Jerry, but he tells himself the random guy is just a poser, not really doing anything with his life.
  • Still, he thinks of his safe routine and pulls off his tie.
  • He looks out the window and sees some graffiti on some advertising space.
  • Somebody had tagged the words "Why?" and another person had tagged the words, "Why not?" (3.31). Ooh. Deep.
  • Jerry lets his eyelids shut; he feels really tired.

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