The Chocolate War

by

Robert Cormier

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The Goober Character Analysis

A skinny, quiet freshman who becomes Jerry Renault’s only friend. The Goober is given an assignment by the Vigils before Jerry. He is reluctant to carry it out, but he goes through with it—though he is disgusted with what he’s done for weeks after it’s over. The Goober is trying out for football alongside Jerry, but as the “chocolate war” escalates and Jerry suffers more and more, The Goober quits football and even starts staying home “sick” from school, not wanting to give anything else of himself to Trinity—a place that he feels is “rotten” and even “evil.”

The Goober Quotes in The Chocolate War

The The Chocolate War quotes below are all either spoken by The Goober or refer to The Goober. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Ember edition of The Chocolate War published in 2004.
Chapter 13 Quotes

“Let me get this straight, Renault,” Brother Leon said and his voice brought the room under his command again. "I called your name. Your response could have been either yes or no. Yes means that like every other student in this school you agree to sell a certain amount of chocolates, in this case fifty boxes. No—and let me point out that the sale is strictly voluntary, Trinity forces no one to participate against his wishes, this is the great glory of Trinity—no means you don't wish to sell the chocolates, that you refuse to participate. Now, what is your answer? Yes or no?"

“No.”

The Goober stared at Jerry in disbelief. Was this Jerry Renault who always looked a little worried, a little unsure of himself even after completing a beautiful pass, who always seemed kind of bewildered—was this him actually defying Brother Leon? Not only Brother Leon but a Trinity tradition?

[…]

"You may pick up your chocolates in the gym, gentlemen,” Brother Leon said, his eyes bright—wet-bright. "Those of you who are true sons of Trinity, that is. I pity anyone who is not." That terrible smile remained on his face. "Class dismissed," Leon called although the bell had not sounded.

Related Characters: Jerry Renault (speaker), Brother Leon (speaker), The Goober
Related Symbols: Chocolate
Page Number: 82-83
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 23 Quotes

"Look, Jerry. There's something rotten in that school. More than rotten." He groped for the word and found it but didn't want to use it. The word didn't fit the surroundings, the sun and the bright October afternoon. It was a midnight word, a howling wind word.

"The Vigils?" Jerry asked. He'd lain back on the lawn and was looking at the blue sky, the hurrying autumn clouds.

"That's part of it," The Goober said. He wished they were still running. "Evil," he said.

"What did you say?"

Crazy. Jerry would think he'd flipped. "Nothing," Goober said. “Anyway, I'm not going to play football. It's a personal thing, Jerry." He took a deep breath. "And I'm not going out for track next spring."

They sat in silence.

"What's the matter, Goob?" Jerry finally asked, voice troubled and loaded with concern.

"It's what they do to us, Jerry."

Related Characters: Jerry Renault (speaker), The Goober (speaker)
Page Number: 151
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 30 Quotes

“Goober sold his fifty boxes," someone called. Cheers, applause and ear-splitting whistles. The Goober started to step forward in protest.

He had only sold twenty-seven boxes, damn it. He had stopped at twenty-seven to show that he was supporting Jerry, even though nobody knew, not even Jerry. And now the whole thing evaporated and he found himself sinking back in the shadows, as if he could shrivel into invisibility. He didn't want trouble. He'd had enough trouble, and he had held on. But he knew his days at Trinity would be numbered if he walked into that group of jubilant guys and told them to erase the fifty beside his name.

Out in the corridor, The Goober's breath came fast. But otherwise he felt nothing. He willed himself to feel nothing. He didn't feel rotten. He didn't feel like a traitor. He didn't feel small and cowardly. And if he didn't feel all these things, then why was he crying all the way to his locker?

Related Characters: The Goober (speaker), Jerry Renault
Related Symbols: Chocolate
Page Number: 197
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 35 Quotes

"What do you say, Renault? Do you accept the rules?"

What could he say? After the phone calls and the beating. After the desecration of his locker. The silent treatment. Pushed downstairs. What they did to Goober, to Brother Eugene. What guys like Archie and Janza did to the school. What they would do to the world when they left Trinity.

Jerry tightened his body in determination. At least this was his chance to strike back, to hit out. Despite the odds Archie had set up with the raffle tickets.

“Okay," Jerry had said.

Related Characters: Jerry Renault (speaker), Archie Costello (speaker), Emile Janza, The Goober, Brother Eugene
Page Number: 225
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 38 Quotes

"It'll be all right, Jerry."

No it won't. He recognized Goober's voice and it was important to share the discovery with Goober. He had to tell Goober to play ball, to play football, to run, to make the team, to sell the chocolates, to sell whatever they wanted you to sell, to do whatever they wanted you to do. He tried to voice the words but there was something wrong with his mouth, his teeth, his face. But he went ahead anyway, telling Goober what he needed to know. They tell you to do your thing but they don't mean it. They don't want you to do your thing, not unless it happens to be their thing, too. It’s a laugh, Goober, a fake. Don't disturb the universe, Goober, no matter what the posters say.

Related Characters: Jerry Renault (speaker), The Goober (speaker)
Related Symbols: Chocolate, Jerry’s Poster
Page Number: 248
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Chocolate War LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Chocolate War PDF

The Goober Character Timeline in The Chocolate War

The timeline below shows where the character The Goober appears in The Chocolate War. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
...pummeled by the other players and repeatedly tackled to the ground, he hears his friend The Goober ’s advice in his ears: “Coach is testing you, and he’s looking for guts.” Determined... (full context)
Chapter 2 
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Archie calls out “ The Goober ,” and Obie writes down “Roland Goubert.” Archie notes the assignment as “Brother Eugene’s room.”... (full context)
Chapter 5
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Tradition Theme Icon
In a secretive Vigils meeting, Archie gives the freshman known as The Goober his first assignment. Archie outlines the preconditions for the assignment—there is nothing personal in it,... (full context)
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Archie orders The Goober to get his hands on a screwdriver and, next Thursday afternoon, arrange to be free... (full context)
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Tradition Theme Icon
...and the meeting is adjourned. Archie gets an empty feeling inside. He looks over at The Goober , who looks as if he is about to cry. Archie almost feels sorry for... (full context)
Chapter 8
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Tradition Theme Icon
The Goober loves to run. When he runs, he feels beautiful—he forgets about his insecurities and is... (full context)
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Tradition Theme Icon
Right at that moment, The Goober hears a noise in a corridor, and after a minute someone whispers his name from... (full context)
Chapter 12
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Tradition Theme Icon
...own teammates topples Carter miraculously, and with a “sudden sense of freedom,” Jerry passes to The Goober . Carter tackles Jerry to the ground, having recovered, but the ball is already out... (full context)
Chapter 13
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
...chocolates. Leon is in rare form, delighted that everyone is showing off their school spirit; The Goober , meanwhile, is vaguely depressed, and has been since the fiasco in Brother Eugene’s room.... (full context)
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Tradition Theme Icon
When Brother Leon calls The Goober ’s name, he accepts his chocolate. Brother Leon observes, though, that The Goober seems in... (full context)
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Tradition Theme Icon
...to sell their chocolates. Jerry confirms that he is not going to accept his boxes. The Goober is stunned. He looks to Brother Leon, who looks furious as he makes a mark... (full context)
Chapter 14
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Tradition Theme Icon
...sold as many as ten already. It is the fourth day of the sale, and The Goober waits tensely for Jerry’s name to be called, knowing that Jerry will refuse the chocolates... (full context)
Chapter 17
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Tradition Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Chapter 19
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Tradition Theme Icon
The Goober is waiting for Jerry outside the school’s entrance, looking concerned. Jerry worries that his friend... (full context)
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Tradition Theme Icon
As the boys head into school, The Goober begs Jerry to take the chocolates. Jerry says he can’t—he is “committed now.” The Goober... (full context)
Chapter 23
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
On the way to the bus stop on a no-practice afternoon, The Goober tells Jerry that he’s going to quit the football team. Jerry asks why, but rather... (full context)
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Tradition Theme Icon
Jerry, winded, stops running and asks The Goober what Brother Eugene has to do with football. The Goober answers that there is something... (full context)
Chapter 30
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
...there is no need for the chocolate roll each day—but Brother Leon continues calling it. The Goober notices how Leon takes an odd delight in the process, excessively praising the boys who... (full context)
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Tradition Theme Icon
Later that afternoon, The Goober heads to the assembly hall to watch Brian Cochran post the latest chocolate returns. He... (full context)
Chapter 34
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
...his newfound invisibility—he is tired of being afraid, intimidated, and attacked. Jerry looks everywhere for The Goober , but can’t find him; he doesn’t blame the Goober for wanting to stay home... (full context)
Chapter 37
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Tradition Theme Icon
The Goober arrives at the last minute and makes his way up the bleachers. He had been... (full context)
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Tradition Theme Icon
Janza begins beating Jerry again. From up in the stands, The Goober counts the blows—fifteen, sixteen, and counting. He leaps to his feet and cries for the... (full context)
Chapter 38
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Control vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Power Theme Icon
Tradition Theme Icon
...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... (full context)