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The Chocolate War

The Chocolate War


by Robert Cormier

The Chocolate War Chapter 4 Summary

  • Brother Leon tells Archie that he's ordered twenty thousand boxes of chocolates this year. Whoa. Archie can't believe the number.
  • As he watches Brother Leon, he sees that the icy, sadistic teacher is nervous.
  • Archie is very careful to hide this from Leon. He doesn't want Leon to know that he knows Leon is "vulnerable, running scared, open to invasion" (4.3).
  • Calmly, Leon explains that a) the Trinity boys love selling chocolates every year; and b) he got a really good deal on the candy.
  • See, they are left over from Mother's Day, and just need their Mother's day ribbons removed.
  • Archie does the math: 20,000 boxes / 400 Trinity Students = 50 boxes per student.
  • That's double what they can usually sell.
  • Leon tells Archie that Trinity boys are special and can meet the challenge.
  • Archie thinks this is a load of crap.
  • Leon is the Assistant Headmaster and one mean sucker. In class, he keeps everybody on edge, and is known for surprise attacks on kids with his pointer.
  • So, now Leon is telling Archie that the school needs extra money. Sure the parents pay tuition, but none of them is rich enough to afford a tuition increase. Football doesn't make any money because the team always loses. The school, Leon says, needs to raise funds.
  • Plus, the Headmaster is sick, and Leon is in charge. Hmm.
  • He needs Archie's help.
  • Leon knows Archie is involved with The Vigils, but nobody ever actually talks about The Vigils. The school pretends to ignore the existence of the organization. They know that The Vigils keep some of the things that infected other schools, like demonstrations and protests, from happening at Trinity.(In the 1970s student protests were fairly common.)
  • Still, Archie thinks it's bold to ask for his help, knowing his Vigils connections.
  • As it turns out, this is exactly why Leon is talking to Archie. He wants The Vigils to help make the sale a success.
  • Archie says, "The Vigils will help" (4.47).

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