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How does Archie talk Jerry into participating in the boxing match in The Chocolate War?

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minimimi | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 8, 2010 at 5:13 AM via web

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How does Archie talk Jerry into participating in the boxing match in The Chocolate War?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 8, 2010 at 12:33 PM (Answer #1)

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Archie talks Jerry into participating in the boxing match with a carefully planned program of manipulation. He first breaks Jerry down, arranging for his locker to be vandalized and for him to be goaded and beaten up by the school tough, Emile Janza. He then instigates a campaign of harrassment, tormenting Jerry with an endless series of threatening phone calls at home. Archie engineers to have the entire student body, and possibly even the teachers, "freeze" Jerry out of existence, refusing to acknowledge through word or action that he exists, even as he circulates among them. When Jerry is thoroughly frustrated and angry, Archie then approaches him, offering him a chance to get back at his tormentors.

Convincing Jerry to take part in the boxing match requires Archie to use all of his manipulative skills and resourcefulness. Like the serpent in the Garden, Archie asks Jerry, "Want to get even?...Strike back? Get revenge? Show them what you  think of their goddam chocolates?" Despite himself, Jerry is interested in what Archie has to say, and when Archie brings up the idea of a boxing match in front of an assembly of the students with "everything under control," Jerry rises to the bait. Archie says nothing about the format of the match, and Jerry does not think to ask. Jerry falls completely for Archie's assurance that this will be "a chance to end it all and get on with other things" (Chapter 35).

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