The Chocolate War

by

Robert Cormier

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The Chocolate War: Chapter 13 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The next day, in Brother Leon’s class, Leon calls roll and each student accepts his quota of chocolates. Leon is in rare form, delighted that everyone is showing off their school spirit; The Goober, meanwhile, is vaguely depressed, and has been since the fiasco in Brother Eugene’s room. Though in the days right after the incident, The Goober was treated as a kind of “underground hero,” Brother Eugene has been absent from school since that morning, and many students are saying he had a nervous breakdown because of it.
The Goober’s guilt over his role in the psychologically cruel assignment in Brother Eugene’s classroom is weighing heavily on him. Even as excitement builds about the chocolate sale, The Goober feels apart from the rest of his classmates—his individualistic streak has turned into feelings of intense isolation.
Themes
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
When Brother Leon calls The Goober’s name, he accepts his chocolate. Brother Leon observes, though, that The Goober seems in low spirits, and asks if The Goober is really up to the task of the sale, which goes beyond a mere school project. The Goober once again accepts his boxes of chocolate, this time in a more eager tone of voice. The Goober returns to his worries about Brother Eugene, but is shocked out of his reverie when he realizes that Jerry Renault has refused to accept his chocolates.
This passage shows how deeply Brother Leon wants all of his students to get on-board with the chocolate sale. Just the acceptance of one’s chocolates is not enough; Brother Leon wants his students to be enthusiastic and committed to the sale. Leon isn’t committed to school spirit, though; has his own nefarious reasons for needing the students to be so committed to moving the chocolates.
Themes
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Tradition Theme Icon
Brother Leon is astounded to hear a “No” from Jerry when he reaches his name on the roll, and indeed the entire class begins murmuring in confusion. Brother Leon asks Jerry to clarify his “No”—he reminds Jerry that though the sale is voluntary, a “No” will separate him from “every other student” at Trinity, who have all agreed to sell their chocolates. Jerry confirms that he is not going to accept his boxes. The Goober is stunned. He looks to Brother Leon, who looks furious as he makes a mark beside Jerry’s name on the roll.
Jerry’s “no” is an astounding break with tradition. The chocolate sale—though technically voluntary—is, in the eyes of the student body and the control-hungry Brother Leon, all but mandatory.
Themes
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Tradition Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Brother Leon makes his way down the rest of the roll, and, after calling everyone’s name, reminds the boys that they can pick up their chocolates in the gym—those of them who are “true sons of Trinity,” that is.
Brother Leon is clearly furious with Jerry, and wants to let him know that in denying the chocolates he is denying his very place at Trinity High.
Themes
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Tradition Theme Icon
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