What did the kid on the bus say to Jerry in The Chocolate War?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Recognizing Jerry as the student who is standing up to Brother Leon by refusing to sell chocolates, the kid on the bus tells him that he's "got guts".  He says that he too is "sick of selling the frigging chocolates", as well as the Christmas cards, soap, calendars, and everything else that he has been forced to sell since transferring from Monument High to Trinity, but he himself has"never thought of just saying no".  The kid completely admires what he sees as Jerry's courage in declining to take part in the sale, and he tells Jerry that he's cool.

Jerry knows the kid on the bus only vaguely; he thinks he is a junior.  He does not initially know how to respond to the student's praise, but finds himself "blush(ing) with pleasure despite himself...who didn't want to be admired?"  Jerry feels a little guilty at his reaction, however, because he knows that he is "accepting the kid's admiration under false pretenses, that he (is)n't cool at all, not at all".  Not only that, but Jerry doesn't even exactly know why he is refusing to sell the chocolates.  Now that he has fulfilled the "assignment" from the Vigils, he had thought that he would be glad to accept the chocolates like all the others, and escape the ire of Brother Leon.  He had not planned to continue in his rebellion, and must still work out in his own mind the reasons behind his choice to pursue this dangerous course.

By not saying anything to counter the kid's opinion of him, Jerry feels that he has "faked (him) out".  A short time later, when his friend Goober asks him why he is continuing to refuse the chocolates, Jerry knows that he cannot "(fake) out Goober the way he had faked out that kid on the bus".  He cannot pretend to be something he is not, and he tells Goober the truth - that he really doesn't yet know why he is doing it (Chapter 19).

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