The Chocolate War


Robert Cormier

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The Chocolate War: Chapter 12 Summary & Analysis

Jerry is playing in a scrimmage with other freshmen against a few members of the varsity football team—and is doing poorly. The coach is frustrated with the freshmen, but is nonetheless using them as a way to design better plays for the older varsity players. Jerry, as quarterback, gears up for one more play, determined to get it right—and get past Carter, who is a larger, older, better football player.
Jerry is bucking tradition by playing quarterback—though the coach originally thought him ill-suited to the position, Jerry is nonetheless determined to prove in this scrimmage that he has what it takes, even up against a golden boy like Carter.
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As Jerry runs the play, one of his own teammates topples Carter miraculously, and with a “sudden sense of freedom,” Jerry passes to The Goober. Carter tackles Jerry to the ground, having recovered, but the ball is already out of Jerry’s hands, and The Goober has scored. The coach congratulates Jerry on the play, and even Carter slaps Jerry on the buttocks—a sign, at Trinity, of approval and congratulations. Jerry is on a high the rest of the practice—when he returns to school, however, he finds a summons from the Vigils taped to his locker: he has been selected to carry out an assignment.
Jerry’s elation at finally proving himself—and even winning the congratulations of his older, more accomplished classmates—is tempered when he returns to school and finds that his break with tradition has been met with being pulled back into one of the school’s oldest and nastiest ones: an assignment from the Vigils.
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