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The Chocolate War

The Chocolate War

by Robert Cormier

The Chocolate War Chapter 6 Summary

  • Jerry is in class watching Brother Leon, the teacher.
  • He can tell Leon is about to do something mean, as usual. It always happens after he gives out the day's reading assignment, and after he walks up and down the class with his pointer, ready to strike. He almost got Jerry with the pointer once, but not quite.
  • Jerry keeps his eyes down to avoid calling attention to himself.
  • Looks like Leon has chosen his victim, a kid called Bailey. He gets great grades, but isn't physically strong.
  • Leon calls Bailey to the front of the class, and Bailey stands there, looking super nervous.
  • After some words about how teachers have to keep discipline over the students, Leon all of a sudden hits Bailey in the cheek with the pointer… and then apologizes.
  • Wha? Jerry isn't sure what's going on. Did Leon hit Bailey on purpose, or not?
  • Now that he has everybody's attention, Leon gets to the point.
  • He asks Bailey why he's been cheating.
  • At first, Bailey is silent, but Leon pushes him to speak.
  • Bailey says that he isn't a cheater.
  • Leon says that Bailey has to be a cheater, because he gets A's on every single assignment he turns in.
  • He asks Bailey if he thinks he's some kind of genius. Then he says, "I'll admit you look like one – those glasses, that pointed chin, that wild hair…" (6.23).
  • Leon is obviously waiting for the class to laugh, and they do – even Jerry, though he doesn't understand exactly why any of them are laughing.
  • Leon continues to try to make Bailey confess to cheating and then asks him how he gets As if he doesn't cheat.
  • Bailey says he isn't sure how.
  • Leon says, "Are you perfect, Bailey? All those As – that implies perfection. Is that the answer, Bailey?" (6.36).
  • Now Bailey is using his eyes to silently ask the class for help.
  • Leon tells him, "Only God is perfect, Bailey" (6.38).
  • Jerry realizes he's been holding his breath. He really doesn't want to be here anymore; he wishes he was out playing football instead.
  • Leon continues harassing Bailey, asking him if he thinks he's like God.
  • Jerry silently begs Leon to stop. Everybody is totally quiet.
  • Bailey agrees that he couldn't possibly be like God.
  • Leon says that if Bailey isn't perfect, and isn't comparing himself to God, then he must be a cheater.
  • Suddenly, a loud voice says, "Aw, let the kid alone" (6.50).
  • Leon asks who said it, but the bell rings and everybody starts to get up and go. But, Leon holds them back.
  • He surveys them with a disappointed look and says, "You poor fools. […] You idiots. Do you all know who's the best one here? The bravest of all? […] Gregory Bailey, that's who" (6.55).
  • He says that Bailey continued to tell the truth, no matter what. Everybody else either liked watching it, or did nothing to stop Leon. He says, "You turned this class into Nazi Germany for a few moments" (6.55). Even the guy who spoke up, Leon says, acted too late.
  • Leon looks at Bailey and tells him he did well. He knows Bailey doesn't cheat. But, his classmates certainly do. He says, "They cheated you today. They're the ones who doubted you—I never did" (6.55).
  • Finally, Brother Leon lets the class go.
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