Chapter 21 again focuses in on various students' progress in the chocolate sale. Kevin Chartier is on the phone with his friend Danny, complaining that he has been unable to sell any chocolates. They begin talking about Jerry, saying that perhaps he has the right idea after all. Kevin mentions that it used to be a "Vigil's thing," but that now it was "something else." Next year, Kevin will be a junior, and perhaps in line to become a member of The Vigils. Danny is curious about what Kevin thinks of the situation with Jerry. Kevin speculates that The Vigils might take some action, but adds that he does not care what happens, so long as he is done selling chocolates soon.
The chapter shifts to two more students, Howie Anderson and Richy Rondell. Howie tells Richy that Jerry has the right idea, and that he is going to stop selling the chocolates as well. Howie's declaration is surprising, since Howie is a high honors student, a varsity football player, and a respected student at school. Howie says that on principle, Jerry is right on, and that saying "no" is the simplest and best response. Richy says that he is with Howie, and will not sell chocolates either, but Howie tells Richy to do his own thing, and not to sell or refuse to sell based on what anyone else is doing.
The next scene cuts to the gym, where Obie has asked Archie to meet him. Obie tells Archie that Jerry still refuses to sell the chocolates. At first, Archie does not react, but then seems to appreciate the fact that Jerry's revolt is infuriating Brother Leon. Obie tells Archie that the sale is a farce now, and that many students are refusing to sell the chocolates. Obie suggests that now, Jerry is defying The Vigils, especially since The Vigils agreed to help Brother Leon with the sale. Archie, ready to devise a plan, leaves the gym.
The sales figures for the chocolates drop sharply, and the treasurer for the sale, Brian Cochran, worries about what Brother Leon will do. Brian tells him, and Leon reacts in anger, making Brian read off the names of everyone who has fulfilled his quota. Leon then rants about how Jerry's refusal to sell chocolates has "infected" the boys with "apathy." Leon repeats Jerry's name over and over, contemplating a way to "cure" the infection.
The Goober announces that he is quitting the football team. Jerry is upset and asks Goober why. Goober launches into an explanation about what happened in Room Nineteen and how ever since Brother Eugene has been on sick leave. Goober explains that there is something "rotten in that school. More than rotten." Jerry suggests that it is The Vigils, and Goober says it is, but also there is something more—plain evil. Goober does not want anything to do with the school, does not want to give anything back to the school.
The confrontation between Brother Leon and Archie finally takes place. Leon yells at Archie, telling him that the sale is failing, and that Archie is not doing a very good job promoting the sale. Archie has a trump card up his sleeve since earlier that morning, Brian Cochran told him about a conversation he overheard between Brother Leon and Brother Jacques. Jacques was accusing Leon of abusing his power and spending too much of the school's money in advance for the chocolates. Leon was $20,000 in the hole, and needed at least that much to break even on the sale.
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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