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The Chocolate War

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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