The Chocolate War

by

Robert Cormier

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The Chocolate War: Chapter 10 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Brother Leon calls a special assembly at chapel. After prayers and a dramatic speech about school spirit, Brother Leon has a couple of students bring up to the pulpit ten large cardboard posters bearing, in alphabetical order, the names of every student in school. Leon explains that as each student sells his quota of chocolates, the boxes next to each name will be filled. Archie thinks that the assembly has been one of Brother Leon’s “great performances.”
Brother Leon seeks to control the narrative around the chocolate war with a much larger audience here. Whereas with Archie, he was shifty, nervous, and desperate, in front of an audience he is authoritative and confident. This demonstrates the battle between chaos and control going on within Brother Leon as he prepares for the sale to start.
Themes
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Tradition Theme Icon
Brother Leon tells his students that he knows each of them will easily be able to sell fifty boxes and do his part for Trinity. Archie squirms in his seat, recalling how the Vigils were vexed to hear that Archie had pledged their support to Brother Leon and his insane chocolate sale. As Archie looks toward the front of the chapel and the posters, he thinks of who he will get to sell his chocolates for him this year; he never, ever sells his own boxes himself. The kids he selects to do his dirty work for him, he knows, feel “special to be singled out by The Assigner of The Vigils.” Feeling comfortable and self-satisfied, Archie leans back in his seat.
In this passage, Archie goes back and forth between a few competing mental states. First, he is admiring of Brother Leon’s confidence, and yet also contemptuous of the teacher— he knows that beneath the surface Leon is tense and afraid. Then, he feels tense and afraid himself when he remembers the Vigils’ disapproval of his involving them in the chocolate sale. He quickly recovers, though, feeling satisfied that even if the Vigils are upset, the rest of the student body still fears him.
Themes
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Tradition Theme Icon