The chocolate sale has begun, and Brother Leon calls roll, asking the kids whether they are willing to participate in the sale, and everyone says yes. He gets to Jerry, and Jerry pauses, and finally says no. Leon is upset, and angrily tries to convince him to agree to participate in the sale. Jerry still refuses. Goober is shocked—he, like everyone else, agreed to sell the chocolates. Cormier describes Goober as depressed after the collapse of Room Nineteen, even though he had become a kind of underground hero in school.
John Sulkey, master of sales chocolate and otherwise, thinks about his selling strategy. He sold the most raffle tickets at school last year, and won a prize. He wants to sell more chocolates than anyone else. He decided to make a list of all the people he would ask to buy the chocolates. Sulkey is pleased about the fifty box quota because it means most of the other boys would have a hard time making that quota. There is a jump forward in time, to a role call a few days later. As the names get closer to "R" the class gets tense. Leon, as he does every day, calls for Renault, and Renault says no. Goober sees Brother Leon's hand trembling as he marks in his book, and "he had a terrible feeling of doom about to descend on all of them."
The second section of the chapter introduces Tubs Casper, who is desperately trying to sell his chocolates so he can buy his girlfriend a bracelet for her birthday. The bracelet is $19.52 including tax, and as he meditates about wonderful she is, he plans on how he can sell enough to buy the bracelet.
The third section of the chapter focuses on Paul Consalvo's unsuccessful attempts at selling the chocolates. He cannot find anyone willing to buy them, and he pities the people he sees as he goes door to door, especially the people who are "stuck in their houses and tenements with kids to take care of and housework to do." Paul pities his own parents, believing that they do not have much to live for.
In a conversation between Emile Janza and Archie, Cormier finally reveals the nature of the mysterious photograph. Janza asks Archie how he can get that photograph, and Archie says that although it is not for sale, when the time comes he will give it to Janza. One day Archie went into the boys' bathroom, opened the door to a stall and found Janza inside, masturbating. Archie pretended to take a picture, and ever since has blackmailed Janza, not letting on that the picture does not actually exist. On the way to class, Janza stops a freshman and orders him to buy Janza a pack of cigarettes. There is something about Janza that chills even Archie, despite having the picture as a trump card.
This chapter shows Brother Leon at his worst. He is talking with one of the best, straight-A students at the school, Caroni. Caroni, for the first time ever, has received an "F" on a test, and wants to know exactly what he did wrong. Brother Leon leads him in circles for a while, telling him that teachers sometimes make mistakes, but sometimes on pass/fail tests if a student is not exactly right, he may fail. Caroni struggles to make sense of the conversation until Brother Leon brings up Jerry, and mentions what a troubled kid Jerry must be to refuse selling the chocolates. Caroni tells Brother Leon that Jerry's refusal is because of The Vigils—he is to refuse the chocolates for ten days, and then accept them. Brother Leon checks his calendar and realizes that the ten days are up tomorrow. He tells Caroni that he will review the "F" at the end of the semester, and depending on what happens, might or might not change it.
That's my favorite quote from the book and it makes Jerry realize that individuality isn't very meritorious because of the people of the world who will aim to bring you down. This was perfect.
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Be very clear. There is a mistake. It was David Caroni who was blackmailed by Brother Leon into exposing the Vigils as the reason why Jerry did not sell chocolates. It was NOT Brian Cochran.
5 out of 8 people found this helpful
If there's anything that's been annoying me horribly, is the question of why Jerry and Obie never report the bullying? Did Cormier himself, think that asking authority for help was for pansies; Or am I missing the whole pointlessness of this stupid and dismal story. Yeah, I understand that not everyone would like you in life, but why did He (the writer) have to be so sadistic? I got help when I was bullied, and everything was fine. I guess I just never got a pleasurable rise out of this guy's work. (And I read this twice in my life, plus wat... Read more→