The Chocolate War

The Chocolate War Chapter 27 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The Vigils have called a meeting—they have an assignment for a junior named Frankie Rollo. Archie regrets choosing Rollo, though—he is a troublemaker and a loner who does not participate in any school activities. His only talent is cheating. Archie asks Rollo to state his name before the Vigils, and Rollo protests. Archie asks Rollo if he’s a big shot, and then admits that the Vigils actually like big shots—they love turning big shots, he says, into little shots.
As the Vigils call Frankie Rollo to a meeting and prepare to conscript him into their service, Archie has doubts about having chosen such a rebellious individual. Their group has already suffered enough humiliation through Renault’s rebellion, and are playing with fire in choosing someone so volatile.
Themes
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
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Rollo urges Archie to “cut the shit”—he is not scared of the Vigils. The group, he says, can’t even scare a “punk freshman” into selling chocolates. Carter strikes Rollo in the jaw, and Rollo recoils in pain. Carter punches Rollo once more, in the gut, and then orders the Vigils to get him out of the meeting. Archie is disappointed in the way Carter stole the spotlight from him, but admits to himself that Rollo was just the “curtain raiser” for the meeting; its real purpose is to discuss Jerry Renault.
Archie’s fears come true as Rollo mouths off against the Vigils, and points out that their inability to restrain and control Renault has made the rest of the student body question the Vigils’ power. Carter attempts to control Rollo through physical violence, demonstrating his belief in the power violent masculinity holds.
Themes
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Tradition Theme Icon
Before Archie can get talking, however, Carter warns Archie that it is dangerous for them when students like Rollo start challenging the Vigils. Something is wrong, Carter says—and it’s the Vigils themselves, for letting their name get swept up in the chocolate sale, and for letting Jerry Renault get away with defying them. Carter asks Obie to show the group what he found on a bulletin board this morning. Obie holds up a poster which reads “SCREW THE CHOCOLATES AND SCREW THE VIGILS.” Obie pulled the sign down before many people got to see it. Carter doesn’t think Jerry put the poster up—which means that more students than Jerry are questioning the Vigils’ rule. Carter then asks Archie, the “brains of the outfit,” what they should do.
Carter and Obie confront Archie with the reality of the Vigils’ loosening grip on the school before Archie can talk and wheedle his way out of trouble. They still concede that Archie is the smartest in the group, and allow him the chance to offer a solution to the humiliation they have suffered—but they have made it clear to Archie that things are bad for the Vigils because of his own actions.
Themes
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Tradition Theme Icon
Archie knows he must show Carter—and the rest of the group—that he alone can take care of Renault and the chocolates. Archie suggests the Vigils work double-time to ensure that the sale is over as quickly as possible. He points out that Renault will look foolish—traitorous, even—once the whole school devotes itself anew to the chocolate sale. Archie suggests the Vigils make it “cool” to sell chocolates, and bring school spirit back en vogue. Archie predicts that the school—Brother Leon, especially—will be grateful to the Vigils for turning the sale around, and the Vigils will once again enjoy power and immunity.
Archie scrambles to think of a solution that will solve the Vigils’ problem, but also ensure that his own reputation is uncontested and untarnished. The chocolate sale is a way to satisfy Carter and the Vigils as well as Brother Leon, and keep himself out of hot water with everyone around him.
Themes
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
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Carter assents to Archie’s plan, and adjourns the meeting—but then warns Archie that his plan had better work, or Archie is out of the Vigils. Carter places Archie on probation until the last chocolate is sold. Archie is humiliated, but smiles at Carter anyway.
Despite his best efforts, Archie is losing power within the Vigils, and thus control over the school.
Themes
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon