"You see, Carter, people are two things: greedy and cruel. So we have a perfect set up here. The greed part—a kid pays a buck for a chance to win a hundred. Plus fifty boxes of chocolates. The cruel part—watching two guys hitting each other, maybe hurting each other, while they're safe in the bleachers. That's why it works, Carter, because we're all bastards."

Archie's quote from Chapter 36 explaining how he knew the raffle and the boxing match would be a raging success is perhaps the most nihilistic and depressing quote of the entire book. Archie says something about the student body at school that we as readers desperately do not want to believe—both for Jerry's sake and our own sake. We believe deep down that there is good in people, and that people are generally not driven by cruelty and greed. We want to believe that it is Archie who is driven by those principles, not an entire cluster of students. Archie's statement is proven correct, however. Not only do all the students show up to the assembly, but they purchase all the raffle tickets. Students willingly pay for the chance to dictate the fight. No students blow the whistle, and none demonstrate any discomfort or qualms about what is happening. Even The Goober, who is afraid of what is going to happen at the assembly shows up and does nothing to try and help Jerry. At the assembly it becomes clear that the students are more like Archie than they are like Jerry. Jerry, the only person who does not let cruelty or greed dictate his emotions, suffers and suffers alone.