The Chocolate War

The Chocolate War Chapter 11 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Later that morning, as Brother Eugene’s homeroom files into class, the furniture in the room begins falling apart. It is “bedlam” in the room, as even the slightest touch of a desk or chair collapses it. The boys are excited, and scramble around the room “merrily” testing each desk and each chair. Someone calls out “The Vigils,” knowing that the secret society is behind the prank.
The controlled atmosphere of The Goober’s painstaking assignment gives way to chaos as class is called to order. Students delight in the pandemonium, and are excited by the fact that the Vigils have sneakily visited their classroom—this shows that for all their allegiance to tradition and structure, Trinity boys also long for chaos and madness.
Themes
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Archie stands in the doorway and times how long it takes for the room to completely fall apart: all of thirty-seven seconds. Archie feels a “sweetness” in his chest as he watches the destruction. He feels that this assignment is one of his “major triumphs” and will become a Trinity legend. He takes special note of Brother Eugene’s “horror-stricken expression.”
Archie delights in seeing the chaos he has orchestrated come to fruition, and gleefully notes the psychological “horror” he has brought down upon the poor Brother Eugene.
Themes
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Brother Leon appears behind Archie, seizes him by the shoulders, and accuses him angrily of being behind the prank. At this point, students from other classes have started gathering in the hall to see what all the commotion is. Leon is furious as he reminds Archie that he wanted “no funny business” from the Vigils, but Archie calmly insists he didn’t do anything. Brother Leon furiously storms away, and Archie massages his shoulders, sore from where Leon grabbed him. He looks back into the classroom and sees Brother Eugene standing in the rubble of his classroom, crying. “Screw Brother Leon,” Archie thinks; his handiwork is a beautiful sight to behold.
Brother Leon is angry with Archie—by involving himself with the Vigils, Brother Leon worries that he has given Archie too much free reign. The code between the Vigils and the Brothers seems to be that if the Vigils don’t step on the Brothers’ toes, the Brothers will not step on the Vigils’; this prank clearly involves a teacher and thus violates the unspoken contract that allows the Vigils to exist. Archie doesn’t care, though; he has triumphed, and that’s all that matters to him.
Themes
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Tradition Theme Icon