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Free Study Guide for The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

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FREE NOTES - THE CHOCOLATE WAR BY ROBERT CORMIER

CHAPTER 15

Summary

Emile Janza asks Archie if the picture is for sale. After feigning forgetfulness, Archie says it is not but Emile might be able to get it back someday. When Emile says there must be a catch, Archie says there is but nothing that Emile cannot handle.

Archie thinks how funny it is that there is actually no picture. One day, Archie found a camera. He went into the bathroom and found Emile sitting on the toilet at work between his legs. He pretended to take a picture.

Emile spots a freshman running for class. He tells the kid he is out of cigarettes and the kid has to get him some and give them to him at lunch. The kid says he has no money. Emile tells him to steal the cigarettes or borrow the money. The kid takes off crying.


Notes

This is an interesting meeting between Archie and Emile, who have a twisted mutual respect for one another. Archie is a little nervous about having Emile on his bad side, and Emile wants to be a member of The Vigils and respects Archie. Archie notes that there are two types of people in the world: those who are victims and those who victimize. He and Emile are the same. However, there is certainly something more refined about Archie--he is a different type of villain. He would never masturbate in the school bathroom-he is not crude like Emile. This outward difference should not lead the reader to believe that Archie is any less maniacal than Emile; Archie thinks how he is capable of the same atrocities. Archie is only more calculating than Emile. Perhaps, he is a more dangerous villain.


CHAPTER 16

Summary

Brother Leon is speaking with David Caroni about his F. This grade is very unusual for David, who is an excellent student--he even received a rare scholarship for scoring so well on the entrance exam to Trinity. Brother Leon tells David that it was a difficult test--a pass/ fail test. Leon then says that it is possible for teachers to make mistakes because they are human. Leon notes how with the head master sick and the stress of the chocolate sale it is possible for him to make mistakes. Leon notes how David has sold eighteen boxes of chocolates; he is both a fine scholar and someone who possesses school spirit. David blushes at the compliment.

Suddenly, David figures out that Leon is trying to manipulate him. Leon brings Jerry Renault into the conversation and mentions how terrible it is that Jerry will not sell chocolates. David thinks about how an F will ruin his record. He jokes with Leon, saying Leon must know this is a Vigil stunt--a boy must refuse to sell chocolates for ten days. Leon laughs, saying he knows and that boys will be boys. Leon tells David he will review the mark at the end of the term. He might be fresher then; however, it all depends.... David leaves feeling sick.

Notes

This chapter is very important to the development of the main theme of the novel: the destructive potential of unchecked authority. Cormier is creating a sort of metaphor of a government. Trinity is a microcosm of a nation. Leon, the leader, is corrupt. The students are the nationís citizens who are coming of age and realizing that authority does not have all the answers and is often corrupt. Much like American citizens during the 1970s, the boys are leaving their blissful childhoods during which they believed in heroes. For many Americans, the 1970s was the first time that they truly questioned the authority of government. They once believed that their leaders had Americaís best interests at heart. However, after Vietnam and Watergate, it was apparent that those in positions of power did not have all the answers and were often looking out for only themselves.

 

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