The Chocolate War
by Robert Cormier
The Chocolate War Chapter 32 Summary
- Jerry's in bed at home in the dark, trying not to move because it hurts.
- When he wishes his mom was still here, he starts to cry.
- (Flashback time. Let's learn how Jerry got home after the attack.)
- After the attack, Jerry makes it to the locker room, splashes water on his face, and creeps out of the building like a thief in the night. He thinks, "Funny, somebody does violence to you but you're the one who has to hide, as if you are the criminal" (32.1).
- On the bus home, he's glad that the other riders are elderly people, for the most part.
- He sits in the back, and he can tell they smell the vomit on him.
- It's a good thing his dad is working late, Jerry doesn't want him to see.
- At home he takes a bath and limps painfully to his bed, planning to stay there for the next day or so, with the covers over his face.
- But, the phone starts ringing.
- Just what he needs.
- It occurs to him that this time, if he doesn't answer, they'll think he can't. So, Jerry makes himself get up and go to the phone. He yells, "I'm here" (32.20) into the receiver.
- After this, Jerry makes himself drink a little chicken broth.
- Then, he hears his name.
- For a minute, Jerry is a little kid again, back in his old house with his mom and dad. Other little kids are calling for him to come out and play.
- Well, these voices in the dark are not friendly like those. They want to hurt him.
- Jerry looks out the window, but can't see who the voices belong to.
- In a moment, the janitor of Jerry's building appears, and he threatens to call the police on whoever is fooling around.
- About 2:20 in the morning the phone starts ringing again.
- Jerry gets up out of bed and goes to his dad's room. His dad is about to answer the phone, and he says, "Madmen loose in the world. […] If you let it ring, they get their kicks. If you answer, they hang up and still get their kicks" (32.30).
- Jerry tells his dad to unplug the phone. He knows his dad doesn't want to, doesn't want to give in to bullies.
- In the near darkness, he looks at Jerry and asks him if he's OK. Jerry's says, "Fine. I'm just fine, Dad" (32.40).
- His dad tells him to get a little rest, so he'll be good for football.
- Jerry goes soft inside and considers spilling everything to his dad. But he wants to protect his dad from getting hurt by worse than a phone ringing in the night.
- Now Jerry's in bed again, making himself drift off, but in his dreams, the phone rings on and on.
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