The Chocolate War Questions and Answers
by Robert Cormier

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In the novel The Chocolate War (chapter 5), why did Archie choose The Goober for an assignment?

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Archie is interested in spreading evil throughout the school.  He chooses The Goober for an assignment because he is untainted and good.  Archie can't resist the chance to corrupt this goodness, and he chooses the perfect assignment for him.  By requiring The Goober to unscrew the furniture in Room 19, Archie is symbolically unscrewing The Goober from his moral foundation.  Archie has detached The Goober from his goodness, and replaces it with deception (of Goober's parents) and shame.  Once The Goober realizes what he has done, his corruption is complete.  This is why he wants to quit the football team (Ch. 23), to cleanse himself of his connection to Trinity and to regain his lost goodness.

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anemicroyalty | Student

The Goober was chosen for the assignment [by Archie] because he was weak prey.  Cormier uses that as a chance to show the reader how cruel Archie really is.  It shows that Archie gains pleasure by psychologically torturing an innocent student.

This assignment was not only implemented for the reason of torturing Goober.  It also affected the teacher who may have stood up against the corruption.  It was done to show Brother Leon and the student body the power of The Vigils.