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Free Study Guide for The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

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Leon telephones Archie to discuss the poor progress of the chocolate sale. Before the discussion, Archie was pulled aside by Brian Cochran. Brian told Archie that he overheard Brother Jacques accuse Brother Leon of abusing his power of attorney. Brian thinks that Leon bought the chocolates with money that he was not supposed to use.

Leon accuses Archie of hurting the sale with his prank involving Jerry Renault. Archie says the sale is not going well because the students are forced to sell twice as many boxes as the previous year at double the price. Archie thinks Leon should never have expected that the sale would work since the students could barely meet the previous year’s quota.

Leon tells Archie that Jerry must be made to say yes to the chocolates. If Jerry continues to refuse, Leon will destroy The Vigils. Before Archie can tell Leon that he knows about his financial situation, Leon hangs up the phone.


In this section we find another meeting between two villains: Archie and Leon. The phone call is essentially a power struggle with Leon finally threatening to use his official authority. While it appears that Leon has won this particular battle, the reader should keep in mind that he is still threatening a student and not acting in the manner an official head master should.

Apparently the demise of The Vigils would be a huge move on Leon’s behalf since the order is such an integral part of Trinity life. However, Cormier has still not really established the importance of The Vigils, beyond controlling students through some sort of peer pressure.



Jerry is summoned to The Vigils. They meet in a storage room. Archie sits before Jerry at a card table eating chocolates. Archie asks each of The Vigils how many chocolates he has sold; they all answer with large numbers. Archie asks Jerry why he has not sold any chocolates. Jerry tells him it is personal. When Jerry tells Archie he is not selling the chocolates because he does not want to, Archie says they must all do things they do not want to do. This makes Jerry sad.

Archie says Jerry’s new assignment is to take the chocolates. Because Jerry has disobeyed The Vigils, he must face the punishment code. However, Archie tells Jerry that he is being let off easily--he only has to sell the chocolates. Obie realizes, when Archie “asks” and does not “tell” Jerry to sell the chocolates that Archie is afraid. Obie thinks that Jerry will be the demise of Archie. Carter thinks that Archie’s policy of no violence is stupid and that all Jerry needs is a few punches.


In this chapter we witness a scared Archie. Archie’s method of toying with and influencing people is psychologically. In this chapter we gain some insight to Carter, who seems to be essentially a brute.



Jerry calls all of the Barretts in the telephone book in search of Ellen Barrett, the girl who smiled at him at the bus stop. When he reaches the last number, the girl on the other end calls him a pervert and has no idea who he is. Jerry hangs up, wondering if he is some kind of pervert--not a sexual pervert, but perverted for not selling the chocolates. That morning he defied The Vigils by once again refusing to sell the chocolates.


In this chapter Jerry is acting bravely in two ways: he takes a chance by calling Ellen and he affirms that he will not sell any more chocolates. In this way Jerry is disturbing the universe (in answer to the poster hanging in his locker). Regardless of how either situation turns out, Jerry is following his heart. This chapter shows that following one’s heart is not always an easy decision.


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