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Free Study Guide for The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

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The Vigils choose Frankie Rollo for an assignment. Frankie is a tough guy who refuses to take part in anything at Trinity. He has survived so far by cheating and on luck. Frankie says how The Vigils do not scare him. Carter, who has been waiting for such an opportunity, begins punching Frankie. Carter yells for someone to remove Frankie from the room. When Frankie has been carried out, Carter takes control. Carter says that The Vigils cannot let someone like Rollo intimidate them, nor can they let Renault get away with making them look bad. Obie shows a poster he found that morning that says: “Screw the chocolates and screw The Vigils.” Carter asks Archie, since he got them into this mess, what will he do about it.

Archie says the solution is to get everyone in the school to sell the chocolates because then Renault will no longer be a hero. Archie says the way to sell is to make it popular. Carter wants to do something about Jerry, but Archie says to leave him alone. Carter, still unsure of Archie’s plan, says Archie is on probation until the end of the chocolate sale.


So far Cormier has presented us with two types of villains: the kind who uses his fists--Carter and Emile Janza; and the kind that uses his brain--Archie and Brother Leon. The difference between Carter and Emile is that Carter, as president of The Vigils, has a position of power that bolsters his influence while Emile has none. The difference between Archie and Leon is that while each is backed by a powerful organization, Leon has official power over Archie--e.g., he controls Archie’s algebra grades.



This chapter begins with yet another football scrimmage. Jerry’s job is to get Carter. He successfully manages to topple Carter, but then Jerry is knocked down by an unseen person.

As Jerry walks in the door, later that afternoon, the phone rings. When he answers it, there is only a strange chuckle. The same thing happens that night.

The next day, Jerry’s locker has been vandalized. His poster has paint all over it and his gym sneakers have been slashed. That night at 2am he receives the same strange phone call. Jerry’s father answers the phone and says the same thing happened the night before, but Jerry had not woken up.

The next day, Brother Andrew tells Jerry that he does not have his major assignment for the class, a landscape painting. Jerry handed it in the previous day; the project took him weeks. Brother Andrew says if the project did not turn up, he would fail Jerry.


This chapter presents a major dilemma for Jerry: he can sell the chocolates and end this torment, or he can stand firmly for what he believes and endure what ever happens as a result. Previously, Jerry’s decision not to sell was virtually harmless; now, there are serious consequences.

In the opening lines of this chapter, Cormier specifically references the conflict between Jerry and The Vigils when he says that Jerry’s “assignment” is to topple Carter (the President of The Vigils). After Carter is “toppled” - figuratively and literally--Jerry begins to pay the price.



Brian Cochran is thrilled by the upswing in chocolate sales. After tallying the totals, he cannot wait to report the good news to Brother Leon. He cannot think of a specific thing that has made the sales rise, except that the sale has suddenly become popular. Brian has noticed The Vigils tracking down kids with low sales in the hallways. Brian has also noticed how The Vigils are assigning the credit of selling to random students they have chosen--not to the boys that actually sold the chocolates.


It seems Archie’s plan of making the sale popular is a success. This complete turn around affirms the power of the order.


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