The Chocolate War


Robert Cormier

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The Chocolate War: Chapter 17 Summary & Analysis

On the morning of the sale’s tenth day, Brother Leon calls roll gleefully. The Goober has learned that Jerry’s refusal was part of a Vigils assignment, and anxiously waits for Jerry to finally accept and dispel the tension that has pervaded their classroom for nearly two weeks. When Leon gets to Jerry’s name, though, Jerry calls out a defiant “No!” The Goober watches shock spread across Brother Leon’s face. Leon repeats Jerry’s name once more, and, once again, Jerry answers no; “I’m not going to sell the chocolates,” he says, and an “awful silence” falls over the room.
Though the Vigils’ assignment is over—and everyone in the classroom, including Leon, knows it—Jerry continues to refuse selling the chocolates. As silence falls over the room, it is as if the world has come to an end. Bucking one tradition for the sake of upholding another is controversial but understood, but going against both the chocolate sale and the imposing, powerful Vigils is unheard of.
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