Study Guide

The Chocolate War

The Chocolate War Summary

Meet Jerry Renault, the hero of The Chocolate War. We find him on the football field, taking a beating. Not a literal one, just normal football practice abuse. He's a freshman at Trinity High School, and wants to make quarterback. His friend, The Goober, has already warned him to show no fear. The coach wants to see how much he can handle. After practice, Jerry muses about the recent death of his mother.

Now we meet some villains, Archie Costello and Obie, members of Trinity's secret society, The Vigils. Archie (the mastermind) and Obie (one of his thugs) are in the bleachers, picking their newest victims. They decide that Roland Goubert, The Goober, will be given an "assignment" (2.16) having to do with Brother Eugene's classroom. Jerry, Archie decides, will get an assignment that has to do with chocolates. Obie protests, saying that Jerry's mom died only last spring; they should leave him alone. But, Archie isn't swayed.

Soon, Archie learns that Brother Leon, the sadistic teacher, has ordered twice as many chocolates as last year, and he wants Archie and the Vigils to make sure they get sold as part of the school fundraiser. Archie is a bit reluctant, but agrees to help him make the sale a success. Next, The Goober is getting his assignment from The Vigils. He has to go to Room Nineteen, Brother Eugene's classroom, and unscrew all the screws in all the furniture, so that when you touch it, everything falls apart.

We cut to Jerry, who is in Brother Leon's homeroom. Leon is tormenting a kid named Gregory Bailey and we're starting to see how twisted Leon really is. After a brief introduction to Emile Janza, another bully, we find The Goober in Room Nineteen, trying to do his assignment. When he's on the verge of giving up, some masked Vigils come in and help him finish the job.

Then, we get a glimpse into Jerry's home life. His dad is a nice guy, but Jerry's thinks he's stuck in a boring routine. Jerry doesn't want to turn out like that; he wants something more, though he isn't sure what.

Now we're in Brother Eugene's classroom, watching all of the screw-less furniture fall to pieces. Archie is standing by the door, very pleased with himself for thinking this prank up. When Brother Eugene starts crying, he's even more pleased. Then, after football practice, Jerry finds a note on his locker, summoning him to The Vigils' secret hideout, a supply closet behind the gym. The Goober is really bummed since the Room Nineteen prank. He feels awful that it made Brother Eugene cry. He's also afraid his involvement will be discovered and that he'll be punished.

Today is the first day of the chocolate sale, and Brother Leon is using roll call to get kids to commit to selling. When he gets to Jerry, Jerry flat-out refuses the chocolates. The Goober can't believe it.

Later we meet up with Archie and Emile. Emile thinks Archie has a picture of him masturbating in the bathroom at school. But, Archie didn't even have any film in the camera when he pretended to take the picture. Now he's using the fake picture to blackmail Emile. Emile, who also wants to be a Vigil, tells Archie he'll do anything to get the picture back.

Now we're back to Brother Leon and the chocolate sale. We find out that Jerry has been refusing to sell the chocolates because The Vigils made him. That was his "assignment." Tomorrow, however, Jerry is supposed to accept the chocolates just like everybody else. But, he doesn't. He says "No" again. He wasn't planning on refusing to sell the chocolates, and isn't sure why he says "No," though he knows it has something to do with standing up to Leon and The Vigils.

Obie convinces Archie that they need to force Jerry to sell the chocolates. By continuing to refuse the chocolates, Jerry is undermining The Vigils' power. Soon, the other students won't respect them. Plus, Archie promised Brother Leon that The Vigils would help with the sale. The Vigils don't want to be on Leon's bad side.

Next, we see Leon grumbling about the low chocolate sales. He totally blames Jerry, and wants to see something done about him. So, he gets Archie on the phone and tells him to make Jerry sell, and to do whatever it takes to get the chocolates sold. If not, Leon will destroy Archie and The Vigils.

So, the terrorization of Jerry Renault begins. The guys on the football field seem like they want to actually kill him. A giggling anonymous caller is ringing his phone off the hook. Somebody trashes his locker. Meanwhile, Archie and The Vigils are able to make selling chocolates seem cool, and Trinity is in a chocolate-selling frenzy.

Lots of students are mad at Jerry for not doing his part to make the sale a success. Things take a turn for the worse when Emile Janza and at least ten other guys brutally attack Jerry in the pathway between the football field and the school. Jerry wants to tell his dad, but is afraid his dad will get hurt, so he doesn't.

Finally, all the chocolates have been sold – except for the fifty boxes Jerry was supposed to sell. Archie begins planning some kind of raffle of these chocolates. He calls Jerry and offers him a chance to get revenge on Emile Janza. Jerry accepts, and he and Emile both show up to the athletic field at night. They are led to the platform and told the rules of the game. Basically, Carter will draw a raffle ticket and read what the owner has written. Students have written in the name of the person they want to get hit, and how they want that person to get hit.

Jerry and Emile both get in a few punches, but then everything goes out of control. Emile's taking it too far, and though Jerry manages to fight back some, he's no match. Plus, the students are all screaming for his death. The Goober shows up near the end of the spectacle and calls for the fight to be stopped, but nobody hears him.

The fight ends when the lights on the field go out. The students run off, and Archie heads to the utility room to see what happened. Brother Jacques is inside with his hand on the switch. He starts to lecture Archie, but soon Brother Leon comes to Archie's defense. Meanwhile, The Goober is with Archie and they are waiting for an ambulance. Jerry wishes he could tell his friend not to defy authority, because it's too dangerous. But he can't talk.

The novel ends with Archie and Obie walking home together in the dark.

  • Chapter 1

    • "They murdered him" (1.1). That's the first line of The Chocolate War. (Keep this in mind, especially when you get to the ending!)
    • Jerry Renault gets hit in the head, which makes him sick to his stomach, while turning to receive a pass.
    • He hits the gravel hard, landing on his face. When he stands, the football field is all blurry at first, but soon comes back into focus.
    • When he tries to pass the ball to a kid called The Goober, someone knocks him down and kicks him in the groin.
    • Jerry does all he can to keep the pain off his face. The Goober told him that the coach wants to see how much "guts" (1.3) Jerry has.
    • Looking around the field, looking at the other football players, he has "never felt so lonely in his life, abandoned, defenseless" (1.4).
    • During the third play, three players hit Jerry in the knees, the head, and the belly. They all slam into him at the same time, and he loses hold of the ball.
    • He's never felt physical pain like this. When he tries to get up, he can't. But he doesn't care.
    • He could fall asleep right here.
    • The coach starts yelling at him. Although he'd prefer to stay where he is, and isn't sure he can walk, he gets up.
    • The coach yells some more, and he actually gets some of his spit on Jerry.
    • Jerry wants to tell him to quit spitting on him, but the words don't make it out of his head.
    • He tells the coach he's OK, and the coach asks him his height and weight, which is 5' 9", and 145 pounds.
    • The coach tells Jerry that he might consider him as an "end," but probably not as quarterback, which is the position Jerry really wants.
    • He tells Jerry to be back here at 3pm the next day and to be on time.
    • Jerry imagines making the team, but then he realizes how badly they other players "massacred" (1.26) him.
    • But he doesn't care, because he's still standing.
    • The pain gets worse, and it makes him think of his mother.
    • At the end of her life, she was on so much pain medication she didn't even know who Jerry, or anybody else, was.
    • Now, he feels sick to his stomach. Back at school, he goes into the bathroom and throws up in the toilet.
  • Chapter 2

    • Obie is totally uninterested in his life. He even finds it repulsive. He's, tired of his life, and especially exhausted with Archie.
    • He thinks Archie is a complete "bastard" (2.1), meaning he hates him and admires him at the same time.
    • Right now, sitting on the bleachers with Archie, Obie hates him intensely.
    • It's because of the way Archie's taking his time telling Obie what he needs to write down in his notebook. Taking his time when he knows Obie has to go to work.
    • Obie tells Archie he's "a real bastard" (2.2).
    • They are sitting in the bleachers and Obie is waiting to write down Archie's instructions.
    • When Obie reminds Archie he has a job to get to, Archie tells him losing the job he hates could only be a good thing.
    • There's Archie for you. He knows Obie hates his job, even though Obie never told him so.
    • Obie wants to know what he'll do for money if he loses his job.
    • Archie waves away his concern and begins to focus.
    • Now Obie is in suspense, waiting to find out what the next "assignments" will be.
    • They are part of an organization here at Trinity high school called The Vigils (which you'll learn all about very soon).
    • Archie is legendary for the assignments he dreams up. The psychological games he plays might even be worse than physical violence.
    • Finally, Archie gives Obie the first of three names, Norman Stanton. Obie writes it down in his notebook and asks about his assignment.
    • Archie says, "Sidewalk" (2.20).
    • Now Obie's smiling – he knows that Archie must have thought up a good one for Norman.
    • All the sudden Archie asks Obie if he's actually late and if he could really get fired.
    • That's another thing about Archie – his ability to show what looks like genuine concern.
    • Obie says his boss is a friend of the family, so he won't get fired. But, he's trying to get a raise and being late all the time isn't helping.
    • Archie says he could "assign someone to the store, and make life interesting for [Obie's] boss" (2.24).
    • Quickly, Obie protests. He's afraid, and he "realiz[es] how awesome Archie's power really [is]" (2.27). It's best not to get on his bad side.
    • Obie is The Vigils' secretary, but he's more like Archie's personal assistant – his real job is to make sure Archie has what he needs, like making sure Archie never runs out of chocolate.
    • Obie's really glad Archie isn't into drugs. Then Obie would have to get that for him, too.
    • Anyway, Carter, another "bastard" (2.27) is president of The Vigils, and Archie tells Obie to "Keep him happy" (2.27).
    • Obie waits for the other two names. It probably won't be a football player or a boxer, because Archie usually doesn't bother them.
    • According to Obie, physical violence doesn't appeal to Archie. Plus, keeping the assignments on the psychological level – just messing with other students' heads – keeps the brothers who run Trinity from shutting The Vigils down.
    • (Trinity is a Catholic school; the male teachers aren't priests, but are approved by the church to teach, and referred to as "brothers" and addressed as "Brother.")
    • Archie gives Obie the next name: Roland Goubert (a.k.a. The Goober). His assignment has to do with Brother Eugene's classroom.
    • Again, Obie is pleased. It's more dangerous when the brothers are involved.
    • Suddenly, Archie begins griping about his job. Apparently, it's difficult to dream up assignments, and he has the black box to worry about.
    • (You'll learn about the black box soon enough.)
    • Finally, Archie gives him the third name: Jerry Renault, the new freshman.
    • Apparently, Obie's notebook contains lots and lots of coded info on every person at Trinity, more info than the school records.
    • He even has the names in alphabetical order. He turns the pages until he gets to "Renault, Jerome E." (2.45) and learns that Jerry's dad James works at Blake's drugstore as a pharmacist.
    • He also learns that Jerry recently turned fourteen, and that Jerry's mother died of cancer last spring.
    • After reading up on Jerry's background, Obie is surprised that Archie still wants to keep Jerry's name down for the assignment. Archie says Jerry needs "therapy" (2.55).
    • Obie argues against it. Jerry doesn't need any more trouble right now.
    • Archie says that the assignment will help Jerry "keep his mind off his poor dead mother" (2.58).
    • Obie calls him a bastard again and waits for the assignment.
    • Archie says, "Put him down for the chocolates" (2.66).
    • (You'll find out what "the chocolates" is very soon.)
    • After the meeting, Obie rushes to try to catch the 4pm bus to his job.
  • Chapter 3

    • Jerry's in a bookstore, looking at a picture of a gorgeous blond woman in a magazine.
    • After putting the magazine back on the rack, he wonders why "he always [feels] so guilty whenever he [looks] at Playboy and the other magazines" (3.2).
    • He knows it's normal reading material for teenage guys, and he's even seen them on coffee tables in people's houses.
    • He bought one once, but he was constantly paranoid about his mom finding it, so he ended up throwing it out.
    • Jerry wonders if any girl will love him. He really wants to touch a girl's breast.
    • After the bookstore, while waiting for the bus, Jerry watches the public area across the street from him. It's filled with "Hippies. Flower Children. Street People. Drifters. Drop-Outs" (3.3).
    • (Sure sounds like the 1970s.)
    • Jerry watches them every day and kind of wishes he could dress casually like those kids. He can't, though, because Trinity is strictly suit and tie.
    • Before he knows it, one of those kids – he looks about nineteen – is up in Jerry's face, asking him why he's always staring at them, like they're animals in "the zoo" (3.7).
    • Jerry denies staring, even though he knows it's true.
    • The random guy (as we call him) accuses Jerry of judging them. He can tell Jerry's judging them because he's wearing a suit and tie.
    • He accuses Jerry of thinking they are "sub-humans" (3.13) and tells Jerry he's the one "who's sub-human" (3.17).
    • Jerry, according to the random guy, is subhuman because he's stuck in a boring, safe routine.
    • The random guy says, "Square boy. Middle aged at fourteen, fifteen" (3.17).
    • On the bus, the random guy's words haunt Jerry, but he tells himself the random guy is just a poser, not really doing anything with his life.
    • Still, he thinks of his safe routine and pulls off his tie.
    • He looks out the window and sees some graffiti on some advertising space.
    • Somebody had tagged the words "Why?" and another person had tagged the words, "Why not?" (3.31). Ooh. Deep.
    • Jerry lets his eyelids shut; he feels really tired.
  • Chapter 4

    • 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).
  • Chapter 5

    • 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.
  • Chapter 6

    • 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.
  • Chapter 7

    • Archie finds Emile Janza stealing gas from the car of a guy named Carlson.
    • Archie asks Emile how Carlson will react if he sees what's going on.
    • Emile, just smiles. Carlson is a skinny kid who doesn't want any trouble. He won't do anything. Most kids won't stand up to Emile.
    • Emile doesn't look tough, but he's "an animal and he [doesn't] play by the rules" (7.6). Emile's loves to torment teachers. He sits up in the front of the class so he can be as distracting as possible.
    • He also torments kids. Knowing that most people don't want a confrontation is his key to success.
    • This is why he can steal from a kid and the kid won't say anything. If somebody speaks up, he'll get hurt.
    • Emile also likes to insult kids in public, telling them they have bad breath, or asking them if they just farted. Stupid things like that.
    • So, most people treat him pretty well.
    • Emile thinks Trinity is a terrible school.
    • As Emile finishes stealing gas, Archie tells him, "Emile, you're a beautiful person" (7.8).
    • Emile isn't sure what to think. Archie is one person he doesn't mess with. He doesn't mess with The Vigils either. Archie and The Vigils both have his respect and admiration.
    • Archie says he admires Emile for stealing gas without even trying to hide the fact.
    • Emile imagines telling Archie about the way being violent actually makes him sexually aroused. Archie, he's sure, would be able to relate.
    • When Archie starts to leave, Emile stops him. He asks Archie about a picture. (You'll find out about the picture very soon.)
    • Archie just repeats Emile's question back to him. He wants Emile to be nervous about the picture.
    • He doesn't like Emile, but Emile's is still a useful tool.
    • As he watches Archie go, Emile wishes he could be a Vigil.
    • He's also kind of mad that Carlson didn't catch him stealing the gas.
  • Chapter 8

    • The Goober is a talented runner and he loves running. All his problems – like pimples and girls – disappear when he's running.
    • His brain even works better; he can do math in his head and commit football plays to memory.
    • Running is the thing that makes him feel the best.
    • Well, he isn't at his best now, and he isn't running. He's inside Brother Eugene's classroom, scared and on the verge of serious tears, even though he's sixteen years old and over six feet tall.
    • It's unreal being here in this classroom, with his father's screwdriver and pliers, following his assignment.
    • All he has is a little nightlight to work by. The Vigils said that a flashlight might cause suspicion.
    • To make matters worse, most of the screws are really hard to unscrew. At this rate, he'll be here forever.
    • He hears voices in the hall, and gets scared.
    • Then somebody says his name.
    • Soon, guys come crawling into the room on their hands and knees. One of them asks if The Goober needs some help.
    • The Goober says it's taking him longer than he expected.
    • The guy, masked and pizza-breathed, grabs The Goober by the shirt. He says they are going to help him, but that he can't tell anybody or else.
    • Three hours later they all leave Brother Eugene's classroom.
  • Chapter 9

    • Jerry lost his mom last spring.
    • He remembers how sad everybody was during her final week.
    • (Flashback to then.)
    • She's home from the hospital, home "to die" (9.1).
    • Sometimes, watching her slipping away, seeing her face wasted and changed is too much for Jerry, and he has to run from her room.
    • He wishes he had his father's strength.
    • When Jerry's mom dies Jerry is "overcome with rage" (9.1), even when he's at his mother's funeral. He and his father are completely isolated from each other at the cemetery.
    • As the service comes to a close, Jerry and his dad are hugging and crying together. The anger fades, but something even more awful is in Jerry now – "emptiness, a yawning cavity like a hole in his chest" (9.1).
    • That moment in the cemetery is the last time Jerry remembers being close with his dad.
    • They sell their house, and Jerry spends the summer on a farm in Canada with his mother's relatives. In August he returns to New England, and he and his dad have a routine – work for his dad, and school and football for Jerry.
    • When he's playing football Jerry feels "a part of something" (9.2). Jerry's not so sure his dad has anything like that at all.
    • (End flashback.)
    • Jerry has just come home from school. His dad works nights at the pharmacy, and so Jerry isn't surprised to see him napping in a chair.
    • Jerry's starving, but he sits there thinking and watching his father sleep. He's heard that when two people are married, they start to look like each other. He tries to see his mother's face in his father's and is hit with sadness when he does.
    • Suddenly, his dad wakes up.
    • They exchange greetings and polite questions about each other's day.
    • His dad starts talking dinner, tuna casserole courtesy of the housekeeper, Mrs. Hunter.
    • Jerry asks his dad for more details on his days. He wants to know if he ever has really excellent or really horrible days.
    • Well, days at the drug store don't seem to vary much. His dad brings up the time some kid had tried to rob the place with a toy gun.
    • Jerry can't believe that's the extent of the excitement. Is his father's life really that boring and predictable? Is that what happens to people?
    • The thought that this could be his own fate really bothers Jerry.
    • He wonders if he's seeing the whole picture. Maybe there's more to his father.
    • As he dad putters around the kitchen, Jerry starts to ask him something, but stops. He doesn't know what to ask.
    • He remembers something from several years back, when his father worked at a different pharmacy.
    • (Mini-flashback alert.)
    • Jerry is in the pharmacy when and an elderly man comes in to consult with his dad about a physical problem.
    • As Jerry watches his father listen patiently to the man, recommending treatment, his dad seems just like a doctor.
    • After the man leaves, Jerry asks his dad if he ever considered becoming a physician. His father denies it, acting like he's never thought about it before. But Jerry doesn't really believe him and tries to push. His dad evades all his questions, and Jerry drops the topic, permanently.
    • (End flashback.)
    • Now when Jerry looks at his father in the kitchen he sees something very far off from a doctor; he sees a broken man with a dead wife and a son "full of doubts about him" (9.30). A man with a bland, dull life.
    • It makes Jerry sad.
    • That night, looking in the mirror, Jerry tries to see his father in his face, the way he'd seen his mother in his father's face. The idea that he could "be a mirror of his father" isn't a nice one. Jerry wants more.
    • Maybe football is the answer.
    • But what does it really mean to be part of a football team?
    • Jerry isn't sure why, but his mind wanders to Gregory Bailey. (See Chapter 6)
  • Chapter 10

    • Brother Leon makes way too big of a deal about this year's chocolate sale.
    • He calls a big assembly. He even displays poster boards with each student's name and a space to write in the number of boxes sold.
    • Leon's little helpers try taping the posters to the wall, but the tape doesn't stick. All the students find this hilarious, but eventually the posters hung up anyway.
    • Brother Leon puts on quite the show, talking about "school spirit," the Headmaster's recent hospitalization, all the great programs and resources Trinity offers, and the need for funds to keep it all going.
    • He tells the students that they'll each need to sell twice as many boxes as last year – fifty boxes each.
    • Archie feels nervous when he remembers the other Vigils' reaction when he told them he'd committed The Vigils to help Leon with the sale.
    • They were not pleased.
    • Archie sees his name on one of the posters.
    • Usually, Archie picks one kid to sell his quota of chocolates. Since it's double the chocolates this year, he'll split his boxes among several kids.
    • He thinks this is the fair thing to do.
  • Chapter 11

    • It's like an explosion.
    • Brian Kelly is the first student to touch his desk, and then all of a sudden, Room Nineteen is filled with crashing sounds.
    • Brother Eugene walks into class as all the furniture is collapsing.
    • Someone credits The Vigils with the prank.
    • It's all over in less than sixty seconds.
    • Archie is counting as he watches from the doorway.
    • He's really pleased with this assignment. He's sure Trinity students will remember it for years.
    • Brother Eugene looks shocked and terrified, and Archie watches as the chalkboard comes off the wall behind him.
    • Archie hears an accusing voice behind him, and turns around to face a very angry and red-faced Brother Leon.
    • Kids from other classes are watching the commotion.
    • Archie denies everything, just like he always does.
    • Leon grabs him and pushes him against the wall, tells him not to forget who's the real boss around here.
    • Kids are watching. Archie is furious. Leon is making him look bad in front of the school, screwing up his victory gloating.
    • Leon takes off, and Archie's good mood is back. He stands watching the wreck that is now Room Nineteen.
    • It's lovely.
    • And Brother Eugene is actually in tears.
    • So lovely.
    • Who cares about Leon…
  • Chapter 12

    • Jerry is on the football field. The coach is telling him to "Try it again" (12.1).
    • Carter has been attacking him on every single play, but Jerry is pushing hard to make this seventh play a success in spite of his physical anguish.
    • As Jerry runs with the ball, he sees Carter moving toward him, but Adamo tackles him.
    • As Jerry passes the ball to The Goober, Carter evades Adamo, and takes Jerry down.
    • But, The Goober catches the pass and scores.
    • Carter and the Coach approve the play and the coach tells Jerry he might have a chance at quarterback after all.
    • For a few brief moments Jerry feels completely happy.
    • When he gets back to school, he finds a note on his locker telling him to appear before The Vigils for an assignment. Cue the foreboding music: Dun-dun-dun…
  • Chapter 13

    • Brother Leon is calling out students' names, and they are agreeing to sell chocolates for Trinity.
    • The Goober isn't feeling too well. Since the Room Nineteen incident he's been "depressed" and is living in "a mild state of shock" (13.9).
    • Word had spread that Room Nineteen was The Goober's assignment and this seems to be making him popular.
    • But, as time goes by, rumors start to fly, and everybody at Trinity seems uncomfortable.
    • Some say Leon is looking for those responsible for Room Nineteen. Others say that Brother Eugene is away from school because he suffered "a nervous breakdown" (13.9).
    • Archie tells The Goober to keep his mouth shut if Leon questions him, so now The Goober is constantly on edge, waiting to be called into the office. He doesn't know if he's capable of lying under Leon's interrogations…
    • Oops. He realizes Leon is calling his name.
    • He apologizes for being distracted and agrees to sell chocolates for Trinity.
    • As Leon continues to go down the alphabetical list of students, The Goober continues to ponder Room Nineteen.
    • The room will always be strange. Even though everything has been screwed back together, nothing is quite as it was before.
    • The Goober hears Brother Leon call Jerry's name.
    • He hears Jerry refuse to sell the chocolates, and he can't believe his ears.
    • Leon can't believe his ears either and spends several minutes making sure Jerry is really refusing to participate, refusing to have school spirit.
    • Unable to get Jerry to change his mind, Leon writes something next to Jerry's name and continues on down his list.
    • Finally, he tells the students their chocolates will be in the gym waiting for them.
    • He says he has "pity" (13.56) for anybody who isn't committed to the sale.
  • Chapter 14

    • John Sulkey is an ace salesman, and he's making a list of people to sell to, like he does every time there's a sale at Trinity.
    • He loves the recognition and approval he gets for being a good salesman.
    • John is actually happy to see the quota doubled to fifty boxes of chocolate per student.
    • He's planning his strategy as we speak and is sure of his success.
    • Some of the people he sells to are pretty gross, but it's worth it to do the right thing for his school….
    • Again, we find The Goober in class, listening to Brother Leon call out the names of his classmates. This time, the kids are reporting on the number of boxes sold.
    • The Goober is super tense, waiting for Leon to get to Jerry.
    • When Leon gets to him, Jerry says he hasn't sold any chocolates.
    • When the Goober looks at Leon, he feels like something terrible is going to happen….
    • Tubs Casper is trying hard to sell as many chocolates as possible. He's already sold three and made six bucks, but that isn't enough.
    • He needs to buy his girlfriend, Rita, a twenty-dollar bracelet, by tonight.
    • She's his first girlfriend, and she loves him, even if she's only fourteen and he's only fifteen.
    • Tomorrow is Rita's birthday and they are having a picnic. She's bringing the food, and he must bring the bracelet.
    • He'll worry about finding a way to get the money back and give it to Leon, later on….
    • Paul Consalvo isn't having the greatest luck selling chocolates. One lady holding a baby looked at him like he was crazy when he asked her if she wants a box.
    • He doesn't like selling stuff for the school.
    • But, it's better than being at home with his parents, set in their bland, lifeless routines.
    • Still, he has to force himself to sell.
    • Brother Leon has made Brian Cochran treasurer of the chocolate sale. Cochran doesn't want the job, but how can he say no?
    • He doesn't want the job because it means having to spend extra time with creepy Leon. He doesn't want to be on the receiving end of Leon's pointer.
    • Brian wishes he were big and burly instead of glasses-wearing and brainy.
    • As always, Brian notices that the amount of money collected doesn't add up to the number of boxes sold.
    • Some kids borrow money from their collections and make it up at the end.
    • Unfortunately, Leon is being a real stickler this time. He's having Brian collect the money every day.
    • The worst part is when Leon goes over the figures with Brian, his awful breath in Brain's face.
    • Leon is acting strange this year. He showed everybody a report exaggerating the success of the sale so far. The truth is, the sales are behind what they were last year.
    • The job is a bummer, but Brian has Brother Leon for Algebra and doesn't want to screw things up for himself by getting on Leon's bad side.
    • Brian looks at the big fat zero by Jerry Renault's name. He wonders how Jerry has the nerve to go against Leon.
    • Again, we find The Goober in class, waiting for Leon to get to Jerry's name. The suspense is killing him. He doesn't like any kind of conflict.
    • Again, Jerry reports zero sales, and again, Leon's face turns red.
  • Chapter 15

    • Emile Janza approaches Archie. He wants to talk about the picture. (The one we heard about in Chapter 7.)
    • Archie says he's still got it.
    • Emile says he wants to buy it from Archie.
    • Archie wants to know why he'd want to buy such an unflattering picture of himself.
    • The average guy "would be intimidated" if Emile looked at him the way Emile is looking at Archie. But Archie isn't average.
    • Emile asks where the photo is. Archie assures him it's in a secure location.
    • For a moment, Archie considers giving Emile the true story on the picture. But he has to be really careful with Emile. It's possible that Emile could hurt him.
    • Still, Emile can be used as a tool to hurt others.
    • Archie tells Emile that it won't be necessary to give him money. He'll get the picture back in exchange for Emile doing Archie a favor.
    • Emile says OK.
    • Archie knows Emile will do it, and that Emile would kill somebody for that picture.
    • Here's the funny part: Archie doesn't even have a picture.
    • Here's what happened:
    • (Start flashback.)
    • Archie's is walking down the hall at school and he sees an open locker with a camera inside. He grabs the camera, planning to dump it when he's tired of it.
    • Next, he goes into the bathroom and opens one of the stalls.
    • Lo and behold, who does he find on the other side of the door? Emile, of course. And Emile appears to be masturbating.
    • Archie pretends to snap a picture, preparing to run for his life if need be.
    • Emile asks for the camera, but Archie stands firm. Emile doesn't press the point.
    • (End flashback.)
    • Emile sees a freshman across the way and calls out to him. He tells the kid to go buy him some cigarettes.
    • Archie knows Emile wants to be a Vigil. He thinks this is Emile's way of showing Archie he'd be good for the organization.
    • The freshman tells Emile that he doesn't have the money to pay for cigarettes, and he doesn't want to get a tardy.
    • Emile tells him he needs to find the money, buy the cigarettes, and deliver them at lunchtime.
    • He gives the freshman his name, in case the kid wants to ask around about him.
    • Archie doesn't want to be late to class either, but he can't help watching Emile. Archie thinks, "The world [is] made up of two kinds of people – those who [are] victims and those who [are] victimized" (15.41).
    • Yeah. He knows which type Janza is; Archie is that type too.
    • Archie says he bets Emile gets his kicks hurting elderly women and disabled people.
    • Emile laughs creepily, and Archie knows that people think the same thing about him.
  • Chapter 16

    • Brother Leon is asking David Caroni if he's surprised he got an F on the test.
    • David is surprised. The lowest grade he's ever made is a B-. His scores are always astronomical. An F will screw everything up.
    • Leon is saying that he's rather shocked himself, considering David's usually excellent grades.
    • Leon explains that the test, which was just pass or fail, was actually rather hard. At first, Leon thought David passed. In some ways he got things right, but in other ways….
    • Now Leon is telling David that people don't always realize it, but "teachers are human too" (16.13). Even teachers can make mistakes, especially on tests like these, where there are multiple answers to the questions.
    • David isn't really sure where Leon is headed with all this.
    • Soon, Leon turns the topic to the chocolate sale. He congratulates David on his sales, but says that some people aren't such good examples.
    • Like Jerry Renault.
    • Aha. Now David gets it.
    • His head starts hurting, and he can feel a migraine lurking. He starts feeling nauseas.
    • Very gradually Leon gets to the point. He wants to know why Jerry isn't selling the chocolates.
    • David considers not telling Leon what's up with Jerry, but then he imagines a future of Fs before him.
    • So he spills the beans – Renault isn't selling chocolates because The Vigils told him not to. He has to refuse the chocolates for ten days.
    • Leon is relieved. Tomorrow is the eleventh day of the chocolate sale.
    • Leon tells David he can go now.
    • David manages to ask him about the F.
    • Oh, that, Leon says. He tells David to check with him at the end of the semester, after Leon's had time to review the test again.
    • Now David is relieved, but he feels horrible, mostly because "he had allowed Brother Leon to blackmail him." He wonders, "If teachers did this kind of thing, what kind of world could it be?" (16.45).
    • Brother Leon is saying that David still might get an F, though.
    • David has the terrible realization that life is an awful thing, and that you can't count on others, or even count on yourself.
    • He runs out, afraid if he stays a moment longer he'll throw-up.
  • Chapter 17

    • It's the eleventh day of the chocolate sale and The Goober, like everybody else, is waiting for Brother Leon to call Jerry's name in the roll call.
    • Finally, he gets to Jerry.
    • Jerry says – "No!" (17.16).
    • The Goober feels like his eyes are documentary cameras. He looks first at Jerry, then at Leon.
    • Leon is obviously utterly surprised by this recent turn of events.
    • Leon says Jerry's name again.
    • Jerry says, "No. I'm not going to sell the chocolates" (17.20).
    • And then everyone is very, very quiet.
  • Chapter 18

    • In bed that night, Jerry wrestles with his actions today.
    • He isn't sure why he decided to keep refusing the chocolates. Maybe it's because of what Brother Leon did to Bailey (in Chapter 6) and the way he makes life miserable for so many kids.
    • Yeah, but it's something else too.
    • The idea of it thrills him.
    • He didn't intend to say no.
    • Actually, he was looking forward to completing the assignment, to being able to blend in with the others during the roll call.
    • Jerry remembers those ten days of saying "No."
    • (Flashback.)
    • When he first says "No" to Leon, Leon's eyes tell Jerry how serious the offense is, how much it means to him. Looking at Leon's eyes gives Jerry a "glimpse into the hell that [is] burning inside the teacher" (18.19).
    • But, soon, Jerry wants to be done with the whole thing. He knows the assignment is designed to hurt Leon, and he doesn't like to be purposefully hurtful.
    • But, he has no choice.
    • So, he can't wait to be done with it all so school, football, and roll call can all go back to normal. Keeping his assignment secret from the other kids is another burden he wants to be done with.
    • He almost confesses the truth to The Goober, but manages to control himself. He tells himself it will all be over soon, and Brother Leon will see that none of this is his fault, will assume The Vigils put him up to it.
    • (End flashback.)
    • Jerry doesn't understand himself. He'd wanted it to be over, but this morning he couldn't help saying, "No" (18.20).
    • As he listens to his father's snores, he wonders if it has to do with that kid, the one who said he was stuck in a routine. (See Chapter 3.)
    • Jerry tries to put all those thoughts away. He thinks of a gorgeous girl he saw today at the bus stop. He thinks of touching her breasts and tries to masturbate, thinking of her, but it doesn't work. For some reason, it doesn't work.
  • Chapter 19

    • Jerry feels horrible the next morning. On the bus, he feels like a carsick child.
    • Somebody sits next to him and congratulates him for standing up to Leon.
    • Jerry sees that the situation is more serious than he thought.
    • The random kid tells Jerry how much he despises selling things for school. Even at his old school kids were constantly forced to do sales.
    • He tells Jerry that he never even considered refusing to do it. Until now.
    • Jerry blows the guy off, feeling like he's not the hero the guy thinks he is, dreading facing Leon again at roll call.
    • The Goober is waiting for Jerry, and he wants to have a talk. He wants to know why Jerry is still refusing the chocolates, but Jerry doesn't have any answers.
    • The Goober warns him that this is serious business.
    • Jerry tells him he's making too big a deal about it. He's just one kid in four hundred. How much could he matter?
    • The Goober says that Leon doesn't see things that way. He'll make Jerry pay.
    • As Jerry goes toward class, some of the kids tell him to keep up the good work.
    • The Goober begs him to accept the chocolates today. But Jerry says he won't do it. Now, he's taken a stand. He has to see it through to the end.
    • They make a quick detour to Jerry's locker. Jerry looks at the poster he has tacked up. It shows a man walking alone on a beach at night. Only one star is visible. The caption says, "Do I dare disturb the universe?" (19.38). It's a quote from T.S. Eliot, the man who wrote The Waste Land, which he had to read for class.
    • (The quote is a famous line from T.S. Elliot's poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." See "Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory" for our thoughts on it.)
    • The quote really appeals to Jerry, though he isn't sure why.
    • Back in Brother Leon's classroom, the morning routine begins anew. Brother Leon seems almost happy and upbeat as he calls roll.
    • He calls Jerry's name.
    • Jerry thinks about how simple it would be to just tell Leon what he wants to hear.
    • But he doesn't do it. He says, "No" (19.54) and then feels incredibly alone.
  • Chapter 20

    • The chapter opens with Brother Jacques saying, "At this period of history, man began to learn more about his environment –" (20.1).
    • On the word "environment" all the kids in the class start dancing, running in place, and jumping around. Then they sit back down, like they had never gotten up in the first place.
    • Obie thinks Brother Jacques looks confused and really freaked-out, which is normal since Jacques isn't very old and hasn't been teaching very long, and because the boys have been doing this all week.
    • The teacher doesn't seem to be doing anything to put a stop to it.
    • Obie thinks it's pretty amazing that even though kids and teachers alike know a Vigil's production when they see one, everybody pretends like they have no idea. Obie wonders why people react this way.
    • He's usually a key player in assignment, making sure everything goes smoothly, but he's tired of it. There's nothing in it for him. Everything is designed to increase Archie's fame as a diabolical mastermind.
    • Obie even had to help with the Room Nineteen assignment, and he has to help with this one too, if necessary.
    • See, whenever Brother Jacques says "environment," everybody has to start jumping and dancing around. If Jacques doesn't seem inclined to say the word, Obie has to ask a question that will make him say it.
    • He hopes the black box (see Chapter 5) will take care of Archie soon, because he's getting sick of all these assignments.
    • Well, today Jacques seems "environment"-happy and he uses the words a half a dozen times in less than twenty minutes.
    • Obie is jumping around with the others, wearing himself out.
    • Then he sees what looks like a little grin on the teacher's face.
    • Archie! He must have told Jacques what was up! So Jacques is just rolling with it, having a good time.
    • When Obie leaves class, he sees Archie standing there watching with a victorious look on his face. Obie glowers at him, wishing he could get revenge.
  • Chapter 21

    • Kevin Chartier is selling chocolates after school. Actually, he's trying to sell, but nobody's buying.
    • On his way home, he gets chased by a dog.
    • Now he's home, talking on the phone to his friend Danny Arcangelo.
    • Danny isn't having luck either – he sold a single box, to his diabetic aunt.
    • Soon, the conversation turns to Jerry Renault and his continued refusal to sell the chocolates.
    • Danny says he thought it was just an assignment from The Vigils. Kevin says that's how it began, but now the assignment is over.
    • Kevin is kind of trying out for The Vigils; next year when he's a junior, he'll probably get in. Since there are strict secrecy rules, he can't talk about Vigil information with Danny. It's not that he doesn't trust him, but he's afraid Danny might unintentionally say something to somebody.
    • This time, Kevin doesn't know anything else, so it's all good.
    • Kevin and Danny agree that selling chocolates really sucks, and they wish they didn't have to do it anymore.
    • Howie Anderson and Richy Rondell are also talking about Jerry and the chocolates.
    • Howie, watching a pretty girl on the sidewalk, tells Richy that he's going to follow Jerry's example and stop selling chocolates.
    • Richy's watching the girl too, and it takes him a minute to hear what Howie said. He's surprised. Jerry's just a silly freshman with no influence, but Howie Anderson is brainy, tough, and on the football team. He does have influence.
    • Howie explains that, "It's the principle of the thing" (21.25). See, they pay tuition and shouldn't have to sell things – they should be studying and getting an education instead. Until Jerry, Howie never considered simply refusing. He loves it.
    • Richy decides he won't sell chocolates either, and asks Howie if they should organize other kids to say no as well. Howie vetoes that idea. He says, "This is the age of do your own thing. Let everybody do his thing. If a kid wants to sell, let him. If he doesn't, the same thing applies" (21.33).
    • Archie is in the gym, and it smells horrible. His dislike of the smell of "the secretions of the human body, pee or perspiration" (21.34) is part of why he avoids physical sports.
    • He's here waiting for Obie, who had cryptically summoned him. Since Obie knows Archie hates the smell of the gym, Archie takes Obie's lateness as a sign of his hatred for Archie.
    • Archie likes to be despised.
    • Obie's hate keeps Archie from feeling guilty when he torments him.
    • But, Archie is more than irritated with Obie right now. Suddenly he feels the weight of his pressures.
    • Being The Assigner for The Vigils is a never-ending chore; new assignments are constantly required, and sometimes he just doesn't have any ideas.
    • Plus, his grades are really bad, and he has to spend all his extra time trying to bring them up. He doesn't even have time to go hang around at the girls' high school waiting to give girls rides home.
    • Soon, Obie shows up.
    • He tells Archie that Jerry is still refusing the chocolates, even though he completed his assignment for The Vigils.
    • Archie doesn't seem the slightest bit disturbed by the information, so Obie tries to put it on perspective. See, some kids think Jerry's still under orders from The Vigils, others that he's trying organize a rebellion. Leon in getting really stressed out.
    • Archie likes the sound of all that.
    • Obie wants to know what The Vigils should do about it. Archie says it has nothing to do with The Vigils.
    • Obie begs to differ, saying that since it's common knowledge that Jerry's assignment is over, people might view this as an act of disrespect against The Vigils. If they let Jerry get away with it, people will think The Vigils are growing soft.
    • This gets Archie's attention.
    • He tells Obie to summon Jerry, and Obie is satisfied.
    • But, he still has one point left to make. He says, "Didn't The Vigils promise Leon way back that they'd back him in the sale?"
    • Archie actually looks surprised, much to Obie's satisfaction. Archie tells Obie not to worry about it, and Obie gets up to leave, full of hate for Archie.
  • Chapter 22

    • Brian Cochran (Brother Leon's Treasurer) is checking and rechecking his figures. It seems impossible that the chocolate sales are this low. Sales have been plummeting all week, but this is the worst day yet.
    • Leon will have a fit. He's bad enough when the figures are OK.
    • For the past few days, Leon hasn't even looked at the numbers. Now, though, he's due to arrive any moment for a full accounting session.
    • If only Brian was outside in the cool October air, driving his car and listening to the radio.
    • Leon soon arrives, and Brian warns him immediately that he's not going to like the figures.
    • Leon insults Brian's mathematical abilities, and asks him if he's sure. When Brian says that he is sure, Leon forces him to read out the names of the boys participating in the sale, beginning with the ones who've reached the quota.
    • Eventually, Brian gets to Jerry Renault's name, and the big fat zero next to it.
    • Leon comes to the conclusion that the overall sales are down because the boys don't care anymore. Jerry, he implies, has made them stop caring.
    • Leon says this "apathy" (lack of care) is a "disease" (22.35) and Jerry is the "carrier" (22.37).
    • Then Leon begins creepily chanting Jerry's last name, "Renault…Renault" (22.38).
    • Brian thinks Leon is "like a mad scientist plotting revenge in an underground laboratory, for crying out loud" (22.39).
  • Chapter 23

    • As The Goober and Jerry walk to the bus stop, The Goober tells Jerry he plans to quit playing football for Trinity.
    • It's Wednesday and Jerry can't wait to get to the bus stop. Hopefully he'll see this girl he's been crushing on.
    • He'd gotten close enough to her to see her name, Ellen Barrett, written on one of her books.
    • At The Goober's suggestion, they start running, and The Goober instantly seems in a better mood.
    • As they run, The Goober tries to explain why he needs to quit football.
    • First, he asks if Jerry heard that Brother Eugene has left the school. Jerry's heard, but doesn't see anything significant in it.
    • Jerry is already tired, not used to this kind of intense sprinting, but The Goober spurs him on.
    • The Goober says that he's heard that Brother Eugene can't get over the Room Nineteen prank. He's unable to "eat or sleep" (23.20).
    • Jerry tells him that's just gossip.
    • The Goober says he can relate to Brother Eugene. Some people just can't take being the brunt of a mean prank, and what they did to him was definitely mean.
    • They stop running and sit down on a curb.
    • Jerry doesn't see how Brother Eugene and Room Nineteen factor in to The Goober's decision to quit the team.
    • The Goober is having a hard time finding the words to explain the relationships. He tells Jerry, "There's something rotten in that school. More than rotten" (23.26). The Vigils have a part in it, but it doesn't end with them. The Goober says the school is "evil" (23.28).
    • Jerry doesn't hear him, and asks him what he said. But The Goober thinks it sounded insane, so he doesn't say it again.
    • He tells Jerry that he's no longer going to be involved in any sports or other organized school activities.
    • Jerry tries to console The Goober, telling him to think of everything as "a game" (23.36). He says that Brother Eugene must've already had issues if he was that influenced by the prank.
    • The Goober says, "It's more than fun and games Jerry. Anything that can make you cry and send a teacher away – tip him over the borderline – that's more than just fun and games" (23.37).
    • They sit together there, and Jerry knows he probably won't get to the bus stop in time to see Ellen.
    • The Goober asks Jerry to accept the chocolates.
    • Jerry asks The Goober to stay on the team.
    • The Goober says, "I'm not giving anything more to Trinity. Not football, not running, not anything" (23.41).
    • Eventually, they get up and walk to the bus stop, but there's no Ellen.
  • Chapter 24

    • Brother Leon has Archie on the phone, and he's telling Archie that there is a big problem with the chocolate sale, and it's Archie's fault. Archie isn't doing a good job of motivating people to sell.
    • Archie thinks about the interesting conversation he had with Brian Cochran earlier today.
    • Brian had eavesdropped on a conversation between Brother Jacques and Brother Leon.
    • Apparently, Jacques is on Leon's case. Apparently, Brother Leon wasn't supposed to buy chocolates with the school's money, and he needs to give it back ASAP.
    • Leon needs to raise $20,000 to cover the money he used. (In Chapter 4 we learn that Leon ordered 20,000 boxes of chocolates. It seems he paid a dollar a box. If all the boxes are sold at two bucks each, there will be a $20,000 profit.)
    • Leon says he thought Archie could deliver, that he could make the sale happen.
    • Archie responds that the sale isn't his responsibility.
    • Leon says that it certainly is. Archie started all the trouble when he gave Jerry the assignment not to sell. Now, Archie is going to have to clean up the mess he created.
    • Archie tells Leon to wait. He goes and gets the accounting sheets Brian gave him. He gets back on the phone and tells Leon that this year's sales don't look much different from last year's. Last year, only half the chocolates sold, and they were half the price. The students just don't like selling chocolates.
    • Leon says he doesn't care. He wants the chocolates sold, and he wants Archie to make sure they are.
    • Archie can begin by forcing Jerry Renault to sell chocolates. And then Archie and The Vigils will make sure everybody else sells too. If not, Leon will make sure that Archie and The Vigils are a thing of the past.
    • Leon hangs up on Archie.
  • Chapter 25

    • Jerry gets a note from The Vigils summoning him to a meeting. The note is composed of letters cut out of magazines (like a threat letter), and this strikes Jerry as both silly and creepy.
    • Now he's in the storage room behind the gym with about ten Vigils. Carter and Obie are there, and Obie can't wait to see what Archie has in mind.
    • Archie's sitting at a card table and he has a box of chocolates in front of him. He offers one to Jerry, and when Jerry refuses, eats one himself.
    • After eating a bunch of chocolates, Archie asks Jerry how many boxes of chocolate he's sold.
    • When Jerry says he hasn't sold any, Archie starts asking the other guys how many boxes they've sold. They all give high numbers. Obie knows the numbers are fake, and admires the way Archie can make them do what he wants, without even having to ask.
    • Archie asks Jerry why, if all these guys are selling chocolates, he isn't.
    • Jerry says, "It's personal" (25.29).
    • He thinks about how well things were going for him, he had football, and he might even have a girl. He was planning on calling all five of the Barretts in the phone book, looking for Ellen Barrett, the beautiful girl from the bus stop. Now, for some reason, he feels like all that is over and gone for him now.
    • Archie tells Jerry that there's no privacy here, among The Vigils. To demonstrate, he asks one of the guys how many times he masturbates in a day, and the guy says two times.
    • Jerry feels himself sweating.
    • Archie urges him to explain his reasons for not selling the chocolates.
    • Carter, the president of The Vigils, is getting irritated with Archie's posturing. He's always trying to prove he's in charge.
    • Carter is wary of this chocolate situation. He knows it has something to do with Leon, and Carter thinks Leon is as shady as they come.
    • Plus, Carter sees how Archie is terrorizing Jerry with psychological games. Carter has no use for that. He's a boxer and prefers fighting to be all out in the open, where everybody can see what's going on, like in the boxing ring.
    • When Archie demands an explanation for why he's not selling chocolates, Jerry says, "Because I don't want to" (25.39).
    • Archie says that kids have to do lots of things they don't want to, like go to school, for example.
    • Finally, Archie tells Jerry to accept the chocolates tomorrow.
    • Jerry is in disbelief.
    • Archie tells him that he's lucky that's the only thing he has to do. He says, "Although The Vigils don't believe in violence, we have a punishment code" (25.60). But, they aren't going to punish Jerry; they just want him to start selling chocolates.
    • Obie can't believe that Archie is being all soft. He must be really scared. He thinks that maybe this will be the end of Archie. He's sure Jerry will never sell the chocolates, and here Archie is begging him. He's losing his authority.
    • Abruptly, Archie ends the meeting, taking Carter by surprise. He hits his gavel on the table, and feels like he missed some important detail of the meeting. So, he hits the table with the gavel again.
    • He needs to go get some exercise in the gym.
  • Chapter 26

    • When he hears the sweet voice on the other end of the line, Jerry's "mind [goes] blank" (26.1).
    • OK, there aren't any more Barretts in the phone book. It must be Ellen. Who else but the girl at the bus stop could have a voice "so fresh and appealing" (26.4).
    • Jerry manages to tell her, "Hello" (26.5).
    • She asks if he's Danny.
    • When he says he isn't, she asks who he is. Instead of telling her, he asks her if she's Ellen Barrett.
    • She doesn't answer him, and Jerry says, "Look, you don't know who I am but I see you every day…" (26.12).
    • The girl asks Jerry if he's "a pervert," but she doesn't sound offended.
    • Jerry wants to tell her about how he's been watching her and dreaming of her. He wants to remind her of her smiles. But then he feels silly. She probably doesn't remember half the guys she smiles at.
    • He says, "I'm sorry for bothering you" (26.17).
    • She decides Jerry must be Danny and says, "Are you trying to put me on, Danny? Look, Danny, I'm getting tired of you and your crap…" (26.19).
    • At this point, Jerry puts down the phone. His fantasy is busted up into a zillion tiny pieces, all because she used the word "crap" (26.19).
    • Jerry's heart is "beating wildly" and he wonders if he is a pervert. Specifically, he wonders if "refusing to sell the chocolates [is] a kind of perversion" (26.19).
    • In spite of his orders from Archie and The Vigils, Jerry refused again to sell chocolates this morning.
    • (Flashback to Thursday morning roll call.)
    • This time, it feels really good to toss up the "No at Brother Leon" (26.19). It gives Jerry a feeling of "exultancy" (extreme joy) and a big boost to "his spirit" (26.19).
    • He'd thought the earth would cave in or something, but the only thing he notices is how worried The Goober looks.
    • He's still floating on air when he gets home, and he gets himself some ice cream and says, "My name is Jerry Renault and I'm not going to sell the chocolates" (26.26).
    • He thinks, "The words and his voice [sound] strong and noble" (26.22).
  • Chapter 27

    • Frankie Rollo is not a group-activities kind of guy. He doesn't participate in anything, not even homework. He has a real bad attitude.
    • Just the kind of guy Archie loves to twist and bend to his will.
    • Get a guy in the storage shed with The Vigils and he gets a new attitude, real quick.
    • Except Frankie. He doesn't look phased at all.
    • Archie asks him his name, but Frankie says Archie already knows his name.
    • The Vigils seem shocked at his daring.
    • Carter, getting impatient, tells Frankie to just say his name so things can move along.
    • This irritates Archie. He doesn't need Carter acting like his knight in shining armor.
    • When Frankie still doesn't answer, Archie starts threatening him. Frankie tells Archie he's not intimidated in the slightest.
    • Archie can't believe it, so Frankie explains it to him: "I'm not a scared kid who pees his pants because the big bad Vigils call him to a meeting. Hell, you guys can't even scare a punk freshman into selling a few lousy chocolates…" (27.16).
    • Archie starts to reply, but Carter jumps up, glad to finally have an excuse for some action. He starts beating Frankie Rollo, punching him in the face and the stomach.
    • The Vigils applaud and then, at Carter's order, toss him out the door.
    • Carter bangs his gavel and calls for silence.
    • Archie is on the verge of provoking a showdown with Carter, but he's knows this isn't the best time.
    • Carter starts talking. He says The Vigils are losing respect. They could fall apart at any moment and be no more.
    • See, they've made big mistakes all involving the chocolate sale. Or, rather, Archie made big mistakes.
    • Carter calls him out.
    • Archie knows Carter is right, so he just waits.
    • Carter asks Obie to show everybody something. It's a poster board Obie found on the bulletin board. It reads, "SCREW THE CHOCOLATES AND THE VIGILS" (27.32).
    • Archie says they are making too big a deal out of all of this. He says that even though he heartily approves of Carter beating up Frankie Rollo, The Vigils can't use that kind of tactic on the other kids. The school will shut them down.
    • Carter says Archie needs to come up with a plan to get the chocolates sold.
    • Archie says he knows just how to do it. The old fashioned way. All they have to do is whip up a chocolate-selling frenzy, drawing on school-spirit types with influence to make selling chocolate the popular thing to do.
    • Obie isn't happy that Archie seems back on top again.
    • Carter asks what Archie plans to do about Jerry Renault.
    • Archie says he'll handle Jerry.
    • Carter says he's not sure he believes him. Then, he puts Archie "on probation until the last chocolate's sold" (27.50).
    • Archie feels thoroughly disgraced, but he keeps on smiling.
  • Chapter 28

    • Jerry's on the football field, about to try to pull off a play that involves tackling Carter and taking him to the ground.
    • Since Carter outweighs Jerry by about fifty pounds, Jerry isn't too excited about this plan.
    • But he does it; Jerry and Carter crash into each other and hit the ground.
    • Jerry feels good, not as good as when he carries off some other kinds of plays, but still good.
    • When he sees Carter getting up, looking mystified, he gets up too, smiling away at Carter.
    • His smile disappears as he feels someone hit him from the back, right in the kidneys. He's falling and when he tries to look back toward his attackers, he's hit again, hard, and hits the ground, almost in tears.
    • The Coach just acts annoyed and tells Jerry to get up.
    • Jerry manages to limp over to the huddle, and tries to figure out who attacked him. Jerry was watching Carter during the attack, so that rules him out. He wonders if it was one of his own team members. One of these guys, he realizes, is "trying to wipe [him] out" (28.10).
    • When Jerry gets home from school, the phone is ringing and ringing.
    • When he answers, all he can hear is some light laughter. He asks who's there and gets hung up on.
    • About 11 pm, the phone starts ringing again. Jerry thinks it's probably his dad, but when he answers, he hears nothing but the same strange laugh. It creeps Jerry out, especially because it's so dark now.
    • After a few more laughs, whoever it is hangs up.
    • Jerry doesn't make a habit of leaving things he cares about in his locker, because Trinity kids will take anything not nailed down. Locks are useless, because people just break them.
    • When he gets to school this morning, his locker has been vandalized. Somebody has blotted out the message on Jerry's poster, "Do I dare disturb the universe?" (28.61) with blue ink or paint. Somebody has also trashed the new tennis shoes he accidentally left here yesterday.
    • He puts it all together – the way he was attacked at football, the ringing phone, and now the shoes and poster.
    • He shuts the locker, not wanting anybody to see inside it. He isn't sure why, but "he [feels] ashamed" (28.38).
    • Jerry hears sirens in his dreams, but wakes up and realizes it's the phone. He hears the clock strike two right after his father hangs up the phone.
    • Jerry, already knowing the answer, asks his dad who was on the line. His dad says it wasn't anybody, just some giggling maniac. He tells Jerry that this happened last night, too, but Jerry didn't wake up.
    • It takes Jerry a long time to go back to sleep.
    • Now Jerry's in art class, completely focused on his work.
    • Brother Andrew asks Jerry when he plans on turning in the watercolor due today. Jerry says he put in on Brother Andrew's desk the day before. It had taken him about two weeks to finish the painting.
    • Andrew isn't the type to make mistakes, and he looks at Jerry funny, while searching his desk for Jerry's work. Jerry knows this is a waste of time. He's pretty sure somebody snagged it.
    • When Jerry tells Andrew that he definitely left it there yesterday, Andrew looks right into Jerry's eyes. Jerry sees that the man seems to believe him.
    • Andrew says he'll try very hard to find it, but that if he doesn't Jerry will fail the class, since the thing is worth fifty points.
  • Chapter 29

    • Brian is actually enjoying his job, and is actually excited to see Brother Leon. The chocolate sales have risen astronomically over several days. All these numbers make Brian feel "drunk" (29.3).
    • He isn't sure what has turned things around so dramatically. It isn't just the numbers, but also the way the kids are acting. Somehow, everybody is excited about selling chocolates. There's a full-on chocolate-selling frenzy going on. According to gossip, The Vigils are making this happen.
    • Brian tries not to get involved with The Vigils, and hasn't asked around, but he has seen Vigils pressuring kids in the hallway and checking to see how much chocolate they've sold.
    • The sales are organized now, with carloads of kids embarking on sales every afternoon after school. Some guys had sold about three hundred boxes in an hour at a factory.
    • The weird thing is, John Carter, president of The Vigils, is deciding which students get credit for chocolate sales.
    • Basically what happens is Carter comes in with a bunch of cash, then takes the roster, and tells Brian how many boxes to put next to which names.
    • Usually the kids Carter gives credit to are kids that Brian knows aren't really responsible for the sales. Apparently, he's trying to make it look like every single Trinity boy reaches his quota.
    • Today, Carter turns in money for almost five hundred boxes of chocolate.
    • When Leon arrives, he and Carter calculate that all but about 5,000 boxes (out of 20,000 thousand) have been sold.
    • Leon is almost nice to Brian today, and when Brian goes out in the hall to display the figures, some guys even clap for him. Nobody has ever done that before, and it makes him feel like a big shot football star.
  • Chapter 30

    • Excitement is high, and the guys are coming strait to Brian Cochran with the cash from the chocolate sales. So, Brother Leon doesn't really need to ask for numbers during roll call anymore, but he still does, and he enjoys it way too much, stretching it out for as long as he can.
    • Of course, the reports are pretty fake. Guys who didn't sell a single box were singled out for praise. The Goober knows, "The sales have all been made by teams of fellows who [go] out every afternoon" (30.3).
    • The Goober definitely isn't selling; he stopped to show Jerry he feels for him. Before he stopped, he sold 27 boxes.
    • Leon is almost to Jerry's name. The tension is killing the Goober.
    • Leon gleefully calls Jerry's name. Jerry's "No," the Goober observes, is "clear and forceful, ringing with a triumph of its own" (30.13).
    • The Goober wonders if Jerry and Leon can both get what they want, without things coming to a head. Soon, the last box of chocolates will be sold, and maybe everybody will just forget about this chocolate thing.
    • After Jerry says his no, a kid named Harold Darcy asks Brother Leon if he can ask something. Leon looks irritated, but lets Darcy go ahead.
    • Darcy says, "Would you ask Renault why he isn't selling the chocolates like everybody else?" (30.21).
    • Leon isn't sure about this, and asks Darcy what his motivation is. Darcy says he and the other people who are working hard selling have "a right" (30.23) to the information.
    • Leon is warming to the topic, and he fields the question to Jerry.
    • Jerry says, "It's a free country" (30.25).
    • Leon doesn't find Jerry's answer sufficient.
    • The Goober is getting really nervous. Usually, nobody in class seems to care whether Jerry sells chocolates or not, but today he can feel the "hostility" (30.27) building up in the room.
    • Jerry begins expanding on his answer, with a question of his own, "Did you say the sale was voluntary, Brother Leon?" (30.28).
    • Leon says he did say that, and Jerry claims that that's his reason for not selling.
    • The Goober can feel the "ripple of resentment" in the air. The kids begin taunting Jerry, asking him why he thinks he's so special. But Jerry hold his ground, maintains his position.
    • The Goober wishes Jerry was a little more flexible.
    • After the bell rings, The Goober watched Harold Darcy and some other kids stare menacingly at Jerry as Jerry walks away.
    • Toward the end of the school day, The Goober hears loud noises coming from the direction of the assembly hall. Some fifty students are rallying around Brian Cochran who is writing in the new sales figures on the Leon's boards.
    • The Goober sees Brian write the number fifty beside the name "Roland Goubert" (30.40).
    • At first he doesn't recognize the name, but then realizes it's his own!
    • Argh. He can't believe this. He had only sold 27, just 27.
    • Then he decides to just back off. Demanding that they set the record straight will only get him hurt.
    • As he walks to his locker he tries to shut down his feelings of guilt and shame, to shut down the feelings that he has betrayed Jerry and himself.
    • But the tears in his eyes won't let him.
  • Chapter 31

    • Jerry's hears someone say, "What's your hurry, kid?" (31.1) and he feels like he's a little kid again facing schoolyard and summer camp bullies.
    • He's face to face with Emile Janza.
    • Emile wants Jerry to answer his question, and Jerry tries to keep Emile talking as long as he can.
    • He'd been rescued from a bully once when he was a little kid. Unfortunately, there don't seem to be any potential rescuers around this time.
    • Jerry's day was already crummy. Football practice was all abuse. Since The Goober left the team, he has no allies. The coach doesn't do anything to help.
    • He'd run into Emile Janza while walking back from the field to the gym.
    • Now Emile's telling Jerry that he knows Jerry is "in the closet" (31.19). Jerry doesn't know what he means.
    • Emile laughs, and Jerry knows the guy is trying to provoke Jerry so he'll attack first. That way, Emile can claim self defense when he beats up Jerry. Standard bully operating procedure.
    • Jerry doesn't want Emile to pull his strings that way. He doesn't want to be forced into fighting.
    • Emile begins explain what he means by "in the closet." He says Jerry is "a fairy. A queer. Living in the closet. Hiding away" (31.25).
    • Jerry feels sick to his stomach and his face gets red. He thinks this is, "The worst thing in the world – to be called queer" (31.29).
    • Emile suggests that Jerry's refusal to sell chocolates, and his supposedly being gay, are somehow connected. He says Jerry must be in heaven in an all boy's school.
    • Jerry tells Emile he isn't gay.
    • Emile asks for a kiss.
    • Jerry calls Emile a "son of a bitch" (31.32), which Emile finds quite amusing.
    • It's around this time that Jerry notices that Emile isn't alone. About ten guys are lurking around in the bushes and coming toward Jerry menacingly.
    • All of a sudden, they are on him, smashing him with their fists. They claw his face and eyes, and kick every square inch of his body.
    • He throws up, and they run off, except for one guy who wants to get some final kicks in.
    • Then Jerry passes out.
  • Chapter 32

    • Jerry's in bed at home in the dark, trying not to move because it hurts.
    • When he wishes his mom was still here, he starts to cry.
    • (Flashback time. Let's learn how Jerry got home after the attack.)
    • After the attack, Jerry makes it to the locker room, splashes water on his face, and creeps out of the building like a thief in the night. He thinks, "Funny, somebody does violence to you but you're the one who has to hide, as if you are the criminal" (32.1).
    • On the bus home, he's glad that the other riders are elderly people, for the most part.
    • He sits in the back, and he can tell they smell the vomit on him.
    • It's a good thing his dad is working late, Jerry doesn't want him to see.
    • At home he takes a bath and limps painfully to his bed, planning to stay there for the next day or so, with the covers over his face.
    • But, the phone starts ringing.
    • Just what he needs.
    • It occurs to him that this time, if he doesn't answer, they'll think he can't. So, Jerry makes himself get up and go to the phone. He yells, "I'm here" (32.20) into the receiver.
    • After this, Jerry makes himself drink a little chicken broth.
    • Then, he hears his name.
    • For a minute, Jerry is a little kid again, back in his old house with his mom and dad. Other little kids are calling for him to come out and play.
    • Well, these voices in the dark are not friendly like those. They want to hurt him.
    • Jerry looks out the window, but can't see who the voices belong to.
    • In a moment, the janitor of Jerry's building appears, and he threatens to call the police on whoever is fooling around.
    • About 2:20 in the morning the phone starts ringing again.
    • Jerry gets up out of bed and goes to his dad's room. His dad is about to answer the phone, and he says, "Madmen loose in the world. […] If you let it ring, they get their kicks. If you answer, they hang up and still get their kicks" (32.30).
    • Jerry tells his dad to unplug the phone. He knows his dad doesn't want to, doesn't want to give in to bullies.
    • In the near darkness, he looks at Jerry and asks him if he's OK. Jerry's says, "Fine. I'm just fine, Dad" (32.40).
    • His dad tells him to get a little rest, so he'll be good for football.
    • Jerry goes soft inside and considers spilling everything to his dad. But he wants to protect his dad from getting hurt by worse than a phone ringing in the night.
    • Now Jerry's in bed again, making himself drift off, but in his dreams, the phone rings on and on.
  • Chapter 33

    • Archie is griping at Emile on the phone.
    • What did Emile think he was doing? He didn't tell him to "gang bang" (33.3) Jerry.
    • Emile says he thought it would be more "Psychological" (33.4) if Jerry was attacked by a whole pack of guys.
    • Archie asks Emile if he accused Jerry of being gay.
    • Emile says that it worked really well. Jerry freaked out. He wants to know if Jerry really is gay.
    • Archie says that Jerry isn't and that's the point. He explains, "If you want to get under a guy's skin, accuse him of being something he isn't. Otherwise, you're only telling him something he knows" (33.9). Archie thinks, "The silence on the phone indicate[s] Emile's appreciation of Archie's genius" (33.10).
    • Emile is ready for another assignment, but Archie tells him to lay low for the time being.
    • Emile once again asks Archie about the photograph.
    • Archie confesses that there is no photo.
    • Emile isn't sure if he believes him.
    • Archie hints that Emile has a future with him, and Emile wonders if that means he'll be a Vigil soon. It would be so awesome if he could be a Vigil, and not have to worry about the stupid picture anymore.
    • When Emile gets off the phone with Archie, though, he still doesn't trust him.
  • Chapter 34

    • At school today, Jerry realizes he's "invisible" (34.1) – nobody will look at him.
    • When he says hello to Tony Santucci, Santucci just gets a funny look on his face and runs away. It's as if the whole school had been told to pretend he doesn't exist.
    • Inside his locker, the poster and the tennis shoes are missing. The locker looks bare inside, like it belongs to nobody.
    • Even the teachers seem to be avoiding him, or maybe he's just imagining things.
    • He tries to find The Goober. The Goober will prove Jerry exists, but he isn't around.
    • Jerry's starting to regret not having sold the chocolates. He's really afraid something will happen to hurt his dad.
    • Just before lunchtime, Jerry's is starting to enjoy his invisibility.
    • When he's about to walk down the stairs, somebody pushes him from behind. If he hadn't caught the rail….
    • He can hear guys laughing at him.
    • Now everybody can see him again.
    • When Brother Leon gets into the office, Brian Cochran tells him that the sale is finished, and they've collected almost every dime.
    • Leon looks doubtful and wants to recheck Brian's numbers. What a party pooper, Brian thinks.
    • After they check the figures, Brian says he thinks it's strange that they've sold exactly 19, 950 boxes of chocolate.
    • All that's left are the fifty boxes that Jerry Renault refused.
    • Leon says he doesn't see what's strange about it.
    • Well, Brian explains, it's almost impossible that not even a single box was lost, damaged, or stolen. It's too perfect. He can't understand it.
    • Leon tells him not to be silly.
    • Brian Cochran is missing the most important point, and he tells him what that point is: "School spirit. We have disproven a law of nature – one rotten apple does not spoil the barrel. Not if we have determination, a noble cause, a spirit of brotherhood" (34.28).
    • Brian wonders if that's really the way it is. He asks himself if "the school was more important than any one kid?" (34.29). He also asks himself, "Aren't individuals important, too?" (34.29).
    • Imagine Jerry, one guy against The Vigils and the school.
    • From now on, Brian plans to steer clear of the whole mess, even Jerry. He's just glad to be done with all of it.
    • Archie is checking with Obie to make sure he still has Jerry's chocolates.
    • Obie has them and wants to know what Archie's going to do with them.
    • Archie says that tomorrow night, on the sports field, Jerry will be raffling his chocolates. This will be Jerry's chance to do his duty.
  • Chapter 35

    • It's the night of the raffle and Archie can't believe how crazy kids are going for the raffle. He'd arranged everything perfectly, and all it took was a phone call to Jerry Renault, and another phone call to Emile Janza.
    • (Flashback time.)
    • First, Archie calls Jerry. It takes about fifty rings before Jerry answers, which is understandable under the circumstances.
    • Archie says, "Want to get even, Renault? […] Strike back. Get revenge. Show them what you think of their goddamn chocolates?" (35.9).
    • He can tell Jerry's listening, so Archie pitches him. He says that he wants to arrange a boxing match between Jerry and Emile Janza.
    • Jerry asks Archie how that'll help him settle the score he has with Archie.
    • Archie says he doesn't know why Jerry would have a problem with him. Sure, he gave Jerry the chocolates assignment, but Jerry turned it into something else. Archie had nothing to do with Jerry's attack either; violence isn't his style. Nope, Archie just wants to give Jerry a chance to level the playing field. After the match, everybody will be able to put all this silliness behind them.
    • And Jerry goes for it; he takes the bait. Archie thinks, "I can con anybody. I am Archie" (35.18).
    • (End flashback.)
    • Obie is all over the crowded field, trying to hear and see everything that's going on. He has to admit that Archie has created quite the event here. And he's up there in the boxing ring like the king of the event.
    • Jerry looks pale, like he's about to get killed.
    • Emile looks like a monster that has to be held back until it's time to tear Jerry apart.
    • Meanwhile, Jerry's leg has gone numb and he tries to shake it back to life.
    • He'd been dying to confront Emile Janza, and so he'd agreed to the fight when Archie had called him. Now he realizes it was a big set up – he hadn't counted on the packed house, the terrible rules. But it's too late now. Archie had known Jerry wouldn't be able to turn back now.
    • He wonders what Archie and Emile will do to people out in the world when they grow up. A scary thought.
    • Anyhow, here in the ring, Jerry agrees to Archie's rules.
    • Brian Cochran can't believe this crazy raffle. He hadn't wanted to be treasurer of the raffle, but now he's liking it OK.
    • He couldn't figure out how Archie managed to talk Emile and Jerry into doing this. Archie had explained that one guy is motivated by a hunger for violence, the other by a thirst for revenge. He says that Brian shouldn't worry about stuff like that. He just needs to worry about selling tickets.
    • And sell them he is, or, at least, the guys he recruited are selling them.
    • Emile hates always being cast as a monster or a villain. He hates that Archie keeps calling him "animal" (35.38). He's a person, too.
    • Sure he's not the greatest person in the world; he has to defend himself a lot and stay one step ahead of everybody else.
    • He thinks admiringly of how Archie fooled him with that picture. When he'd gotten mad, Archie convinced him it was somehow Renault that should pay. Now he can't wait to fight Renault. He doesn't need to call him gay either. This time, his fists will do all the talking. He wants to tear Renault up in front of the school.
    • He wishes he could believe Archie, believe that there really isn't any picture. But he's still not completely sure.
  • Chapter 36

    • Archie is loving the whole thing.
    • He stops a ticket-seller to see what the kids are writing in.
    • The first ticket he looks at says, "Janza, Right to Jaw, Jimmy Demers" (36.7).
    • (The basic idea is this: Each kid writes down who they want to be hit, and with what maneuver. If a kid's choice is successful in ending the fight, the kid wins the fifty boxes of chocolates.)
    • Archie just wallows in his brilliance.
    • Now that Jerry has actually shown up, Archie can relax and enjoy himself.
    • Carter has been down for the whole boxing idea, and Archie is happy to see that Carter is back in his corner. Still, eventually he'll punish Carter for the whole probation thing.
    • Archie grosses Carter out, making him feel like everybody in the world is mean and selfish and dirty. As an explanation for why the raffle is such a success, Archie tells him, "You see, Carter, people are two things, greedy and cruel" (36.12).
    • Carter does love a good boxing match and had bought two tickets. Now he wonders if he's "greedy and cruel" too. He despises Archie for making him feel this way.
    • As Carter walks away, Archie thinks of how jealous Carter is of him.
    • And now Brian Cochran comes up and tells Archie that the final ticket has been sold.
    • It's show time.
    • Carter walks to the middle of the boxing ring. In front of the ring, Jerry's fifty boxes of chocolates are piled up.
    • Archie's walking toward the platform, when he sees Obie… with the black box.
    • Obie is really enjoying the look of shock on Archie's face. Obie had convinced Carter that, even though this was no Vigil's event, Archie will have to chose a marble if they bring the black box out on stage.
    • He really hopes Archie finally draws wrong, and he and Carter plan on making him pick twice, once for Emile and once for Jerry.
    • Archie sees what's going on, and wants to take the wind out of Obie and Carter's sails. He'll act fast, not let them turn him into the main event.
    • Boom, he grabs a marble.
    • It's white.
    • Boom, he grabs another one.
    • It's white, too.
  • Chapter 37

    • 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).
  • Chapter 38

    • Jerry hears someone say his name.
    • Everything is dark, wet, and bloody.
    • He hears his name again and wants somebody to shut the window so nobody can get in.
    • The pain hits him.
    • The Goober says his name again. The place is all but empty now. The Goober sees Obie and tells him to call an ambulance.
    • All Jerry can feel is pain, but he recognizes The Goober's voice, telling him, "It'll be all right, Jerry" (38.16).
    • Jerry disagrees. He wants to tell The Goober he was all wrong.
    • He wants to tell him, "They tell you to do your own thing, but they don't mean it. They don't want you to do your thing, unless it happens to be their thing, too. It's a laugh, Goober, a fake. Don't disturb the universe, Goober, no matter what the posters say" (38.17).
    • Jerry can't talk, and when he opens his eyes, he can see how upset The Goober is. He wants to tell him, "See. I'm floating, floating above the pain. Just remember what I told you. It's important. Otherwise, they murder you" (38.19).
    • As the ambulance carries Jerry away, Brother Jacques asks Archie why he did all this to Jerry. Jerry probably has a broken jaw, and maybe other injuries inside his body. But Jerry had agreed to fight, and these things can happen in a fight.
    • Jacques tries to make Archie answer him. He tells him that Jerry could have died if some student hadn't alerted Jacques to the situation.
    • In his mind, Archie curses Carter for letting in the illegal blow to the crotch. That's when everything started to go wrong.
    • Then stupid Jacques turns off the light and stops the fight prematurely. Archie is really annoyed.
    • Archie tells Jacques that the school got what it wanted – sold chocolates. This was simply a fair boxing match, to provide the students with an entertaining reward for a job well done.
    • Suddenly, Brother Leon is on the scene.
    • Archie expects Jacques to be angry with Leon, but he isn't. Archie can tell that Leon is still large and in charge.
    • Leon says Jerry will get excellent medical treatment.
    • Archie, he says, made some mistakes tonight, but Leon understands that Archie's actions were in the service of Trinity.
    • Archie's glad to hear that Leon is still in his corner. It's going to be a fabulous time for Archie and the Vigils.
    • He can hear the ambulance sirens in the distance.
  • Chapter 39

    • Obie and Archie are sitting in the bleachers. Archie's telling Obie how Brother Jacques was on his case, and how Leon came and got him out of trouble.
    • Obie tells Archie how he saw Leon watching from the hill.
    • Yeah, Archie had called Leon's house, so Leon wouldn't miss the fun.
    • Obie tells Archie that one of these day, Archie will get what's coming to him.
    • Archie tells Obie that he isn't going to punish him for bringing the black box up into the ring tonight.
    • Then he asks about the chocolates. The chocolates, it seems, were snatched up by the kids when the lights went out. But, Brian has all the money from the raffle.
    • Archie asks Obie if he has a Hershey, and Obie says he doesn't.
    • Again, the lights go out. Soon, Archie and Obie get up and leave.
    • (If you want to read more about this ending, check out "What's Up With the Ending?")