Archie disliked violence—most of his assignments were exercises in the psychological rather than the physical. That's why he got away with so much. The Trinity brothers wanted peace at any price, quiet on the campus, no broken bones. Otherwise, the sky was the limit.

In Chapter 2, Cormier describes The Vigils and how they work. This is the first time the reader has a chance to learn about The Vigils and gain insight into how their work. Cormier makes it immediately clear that the tactics they utilize are primarily psychological rather than physical. There are a number of reasons for this—first, because it is much easier to escape detection and punishment from teachers and administrators. Secondly, psychological damage can last longer and having more far-reaching and unpredictable consequences than physical damage. Archie believes that any thug can beat someone up, but that it takes a true master to think of an assignment or punishment that hurts someone in a way less tangible and simple than physically.