The Chocolate War

The Chocolate War Chapter 38 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Jerry awakens out of a black, wet darkness to someone calling his name. He can hear that whoever is calling him is scared—after a moment, he feels intense pain, and opens his eyes. He realizes that The Goober is cradling him. The stands are empty—Brother Jacques and a few other teachers have chased everyone away. The Goober and Obie have called for a doctor, and The Goober assures Jerry that everything will be okay, but Jerry knows it won’t be. From deep inside his own pain, he wishes he could warn the Goober to play football, sell chocolates, and do “whatever they want [him] to do.” He wants to warn Goober not to disturb the universe—“otherwise, they murder you.”
Jerry has been beaten both physically and psychologically. He wants to warn The Goober to conform to whatever is asked of him in order to avoid facing the kind of pain Jerry is dealing with now. Jerry’s spirit has been broken—a dark and unlikely ending for a young adult novel, but one that feels inevitable in the wake of all the humiliation and torture Jerry has suffered. Whereas getting “murdered” at football tryouts was once a point of pride and inspiration for Jerry, he has been so thoroughly worn down that he now feels as if his spirit truly has been killed.
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Related Quotes
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As an ambulance approaches, Brother Jacques asks Archie why he did all of this to Jerry. Archie says he doesn’t know what Jacques is talking about, but Jacques does not let Archie off easy. He informs Archie that the students were about to riot, and that if someone hadn’t fetched him and the other brothers from the residence, something truly terrible could have happened to Jerry. Archie doesn’t answer Jacques—he feels the brother has “spoiled the evening.”
Jacques attempts to demonstrate to Archie the grave nature of his actions, and the serious damage he could have done. Archie, however, sees Jacques only as a threat to his power—and his fun.
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Leon approaches and puts an arm around Jacques’s shoulder. He asks if Jacques has everything under control, and Jacques answers coldly that a disaster was “barely averted.” Leon sunnily tells Jacques that “boys will be boys.” Turning to Archie, Leon says that though Archie did not use his best judgement tonight, Leon knows Archie did what he did “for Trinity.” Brother Jacques turns and stalks away. Archie smiles, knowing that with Brother Leon on his side, it is going to be a great year.
Brother Leon, having had the success he wanted both in the chocolate sale and in his humiliation and defeat of Jerry Renault, is firmly in Archie’s service—as Archie is in his. Together, the two stand to wreak devastating havoc on the school—a prospect which delights Archie and, seemingly, Leon as well. Evil has apparently won—the “rotten” fabric of Trinity High has prevailed.
Themes
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Tradition Theme Icon