From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
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.
People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...