The Chocolate War

by

Robert Cormier

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The Chocolate War: Chapter 24 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Brother Leon calls Archie on the telephone to tell the boy that he is in trouble—the chocolates are not selling, the sale is in jeopardy, and it is all Archie’s fault. Archie asks if the sale’s finances are bad—Archie has been tipped off by Brian Cochran, who believes that Leon is in deep trouble and that there is “more than chocolate” involved in the sale. Brian revealed that he overheard Brother Jacques and Leon talking, and Jacques accused Leon of “abusing his power of attorney” and “overextend[ing] the school’s finances.” Brian told Archie that he believes Leon bought the chocolate with money he wasn’t supposed to use.
Brother Leon and Archie are locked in a game of wits and psychological manipulation. Unfortunately, as they both love such games, they seem destined to circle one another endlessly in escalating displays of power and control. Brother Leon doesn’t know that Archie knows Leon is in deep—but Archie leverages this information against Leon in order to squeeze more favor from the powerful Brother, who is in charge of the entire school in the Head’s absence.
Themes
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Leon ignores Archie’s question about finance and asks why Archie and his “friends” aren’t able to exert more influence on the sale. Archie protests that the sale is not his problem, but Leon insists that it is—ever since Archie involved Renault and his protest, the assignment (and the sale) have backfired. Archie insists that Trinity boys are simply sick of selling chocolates every year. Leon menacingly warns Archie that the chocolates must be sold.
Leon is attempting to psychologically manipulate Archie into feeling responsibility for the sale, and to take the onus off of himself and his own poor financial decision-making.
Themes
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Archie asks Leon how he suggests Archie breathe new life into the sale, and Leon suggests Archie “begin with Renault,” and make him agree to sell his share. Leon is worried that discontented students will “rally around a rebel,” and urges Archie to have the Vigils throw their full weight behind the sale. If the sale goes down the drain, Leon warns, so will the Vigils.
Leon knows that Jerry’s protest represents a challenge to the Vigils, as well as to Leon’s own chocolate sale. By preying on Archie’s fear of losing hold of any power, he blackmails Archie into directly confronting Jerry, hopefully putting an end to his rebellion against Leon and the sale.
Themes
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Tradition Theme Icon