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The Chocolate War

The Chocolate War


by Robert Cormier

The Chocolate War Chapter 5 Summary

  • Archie has The Goober in the front of him, and he's asking him if he knows why he's been summoned. Archie enjoys playing this little game.
  • They're in a little storage room behind the gym. With no windows and only one door, it's a perfect place to hold secret Vigil meetings.
  • Carter is here – he's the president of The Vigils, a football player, and a guy everybody is afraid of.
  • Archie is the real head of The Vigils, but his official title is "The Assigner."
  • The Goober is looking scared and Archie asks him again if he knows why he's been summoned.
  • Goober speaks up, saying he's here "For…an assignment" (5.15).
  • Archie asks The Goober if he knows that this isn't anything "personal" (5.16), that it's a school tradition, and that he can't tell anybody about his assignment.
  • The Goober says he knows.
  • After building suspense by staying silent, Archie finally gives The Goober his orders.
  • Next Thursday he's supposed to get a screwdriver from home, go to Brother Eugene's room (Room Nineteen), and unscrew all the desks, chairs, and everything else.
  • Archie tells him, "Don't take out the screws. Just loosen them until they reach that point where they're almost ready to fall out, everything hanging there by a thread…" (5.49).
  • The Goober protests a little, saying that will take a really long time.
  • Archie tells him he'll have all night to complete his work.
  • The Goober reluctantly agrees.
  • Carter takes out the black box.
  • See, after every assignment, the black box is presented to Archie. Inside the black box are marbles, most of them white, but one of them black. If Archie draws the black marble, he has to perform the assignment instead of whichever kid (in this case, The Goober).
  • Although Archie has never drawn black before, the possibility of it keeps him from assigning something that he wouldn't be able to do himself.
  • He's never drawn black in three years, and knows this luck might not last.
  • Nervously, Archie draws.
  • The marble is white. Archie is still the king.
  • The Goober looks like he's about to cry.
  • Archie almost feels pity for him… but not quite.

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