The Chocolate War

by

Robert Cormier

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The Chocolate War: Chapter 26 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Jerry has called Ellen Barrett, but can’t bring himself to say anything on the phone. Ellen’s agitated voice asks if “Danny” is calling her. Jerry croaks out a “No,” but when he asks if he is indeed speaking with Ellen, she doesn’t answer. Jerry says that though Ellen doesn’t know who he is, they smile at each other every day. Ellen asks if Jerry is a pervert, but Jerry says he’s just the boy from the bus stop. Ellen seems confused, and asks, “What bus stop?” Jerry apologizes for bothering her and hangs up.
Jerry’s failure with Ellen Barrett directly parallels his failures at school. Jerry, for all his bravado and deliberate resistance, is still unable to exert power over others—especially over girls, the one thing he truly desires.
Themes
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Jerry’s heart beats wildly, and he wonders if he actually is some kind of pervert—refusing to sell the chocolates for so long, he thinks, must be some kind of perversion. Even after the Vigils’ warning, Jerry reveals, he refused to sell the chocolates—and for the first time, his “No” brought him a sense of satisfaction. Jerry, suddenly hungry, goes into the kitchen to get some ice cream. He says out loud to no one: “My name is Jerry Renault and I’m not going to sell the chocolates.”
Jerry fears that he is just as morally bankrupt as the other boys in school—and perhaps even deviant or repellent. His self-assuredness is battered at by the Vigils, by Ellen’s rejection, and by Brother Leon’s hatred—but Jerry, in the face of all this, shows that he is committed to following through with what he has started.
Themes
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Tradition Theme Icon