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The Chocolate War
by Robert Cormier
The Chocolate War Chapter 37 Summary
The Goober shows up right before the fight begins. He's been home in bed for days, trying to forget about the horrors of Trinity. A friend of his called and filled him in on the raffle. He feels he needs to be here, even though he doesn't want to be. He listens to Carter tell the crowd the rules and hears the crowd screaming for blood and death. Carter draws the first raffle ticket. It says for Jerry to hit Emile in the jaw. Jerry has been wanting to hurt Emile, but now he isn't so sure it's something he's capable of. Emile, seeing his hesitation, calls Jerry a "fairy" (37.8). Jerry takes a swing at him, but it's very weak. The audience boos, screaming that the fight is rigged. Quickly, Carter draws another ticket. This one calls for Emile to hit Jerry in the jaw. Jerry braces himself, and Emile socks him with all his power. Jerry isn't prepared for the intensity of the blow, for the pain, but he stays standing. The next ticket is for Jerry. This time he actually connects with Emile's jaw, and enjoys the feeling of power. Emile is shocked that Jerry has so much strength, and almost hits him back. Carter draws again. This one for Emile. Again, Jerry takes the hit without falling. The next ticket calls for Emile to hit Jerry in the groin. Carter hadn't meant for the fight to include illegal moves, but he'd read the ticket out loud, and now it's too late. Emile aims, but Jerry moves and Emile doesn't connect to Jerry's groin. The crowd gets upset. They didn't hear what Carter read; but they saw Jerry move, and one of the rules of the game is that neither Emile nor Jerry can move to avoid getting hit. Emile decides to forget the rules and he starts punching Jerry in the face and the stomach. Jerry's trying to fight back, but it's not getting him anywhere. Now he's just trying to cover himself with his gloves to keep from getting hit. Emile is raining blows on him, and all Jerry really wants is the chance to get in one more hit. There is some big problem with Jerry's jaw, but all he cares about is Emile Janza. Meanwhile, Emile is losing strength, wishing Jerry would get it over with and fall. Around this time, Jerry sees his moment and smashes into Emile's momentarily unprotected chest and belly. Emile, shocked, is flung back. Jerry hears the boos of the crowd, and sees Archie smiling. Jerry feels sick, sick because of what he's turned into, the violence he's given over to. Now he isn't "disturbing the universe, but damaging it" (37.28). Emile comes at Jerry with renewed force, terrorizing him with blows. The Goober counts sixteen hits and then starts screaming for Emile to stop. Over all the noise, no one hears him. The crowd is chanting, " kill him, kill him" (37.31). The Goober watches helplessly as Jerry goes down. And then somebody turns out all the lights. Just before everything goes dark, Obie turns away from the sickening violence. Then he sees Brother Leon, standing on top of the hill, watching. Obie thinks, "The bastard. […] He's been there all the time, I bet, watching it all" (37.5). Archie curses the darkness and tries to get to the utility building so he can turn the lights back on. He loses his footing. Everything is complete chaos and loud noise. Boys are running. Archie finally makes it to the storage building, and who does he find waiting for him inside? Brother Jacques, with his hand on the light switch. He says, "Welcome, Archie. I imagine you are the villain here, aren't you?" (37.14).
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