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.

This quote from Chapter 38 demonstrates Jerry's real downfall. The physical beating he has suffered in the previous chapter is brutal and horrible, but he is not truly beaten until he takes back everything he has done. The times when he was proud of himself for being an individual and for resisting the rotten tide at the school are now forgotten. That pride and distinction was not worth it, Jerry tells The Goober. Nothing is worth it because people like Archie beat you down and eventually make it impossible to go against the grain. It is believable that eventually, Jerry could have been killed simply for deciding not to sell the chocolates. The difficulties he encounters after he decides to do his own thing are so extreme that it is understandable that Jerry comes to this conclusion. This ending is dismal—the reader hopes for Jerry's strength and autonomy to result in the "right" ending, or a "good" ending, but it does not. We know that the novel ends and the wrong people win and the right people suffer, and there is no real resolution for that. The reader, along with Jerry, is left in limbo and not in control of his or her own destiny. Jerry tries to determine his own fate but The Vigils are so powerful that not only can they get people to perform assignments, but they can infiltrate someone's life so much as to determine its path. Jerry, rocked and beaten out of his own universe is exhausted and beaten, and as a demonstration of his loss accepts that he is not the master of his own universe.