Analysis

With Janza on his side, Archie's warfare has now embraced the physical. Janza's approach assaults Jerry from all angles. First, he uses the "queer" tactic on Jerry, baiting and taunting him, making him angry and emotionally vulnerable. Then Janza uses his own technique then, using a bunch of his friends who would "beat up their own grandmothers for a quarter." Archie finally reveals to Janza that there is no picture, knowing full well that Janza would not know whether to believe him. Archie seals his manipulation of Janza by making a comment about Janza's future with The Vigils. Archie knows that the ultimate situation for Janza would be one in which he could enforce the ideas of others, and be used as brawn, not the brains, but have the benefit of both.

Jerry's experience of being "invisible" in Chapter 34 is somewhat surreal. He experiences the world as if he is not there—as if he has been eliminated by The Vigils. It is unclear exactly how The Vigils got the students and the teachers to ignore Jerry. Showing Jerry that his existence is relatively unimportant is another kind of psychological punishment. Jerry almost welcomes it, because it is less brutal than being beaten. He looks for the one person who can ground him, but The Goober is not in school. Jerry is once and for all on his own, without a single friend to stand by him. Not even Brother Leon recognizes Jerry anymore, as he does not care that Jerry's chocolates are unsold.

In Chapter 35, Cormier tells the reader that there is an assembly at the stadium without describing what it is about. Like Jerry, we do not realize what is going to happen until it actually does. It is not clear why Jerry accepts when Archie calls him—Archie tells him that he and Janza will be boxing in the ring. Jerry cannot think that he can actually beat Janza in a fight. Perhaps the prospect of the whole ordeal being over is what Jerry is after, no matter what the cost. It is easy to understand why Janza would accept, as he gets to beat someone up in front of the entire school. Janza has nothing to lose, and in a sense Jerry does not either. He has been beaten up physically and emotionally for some time, and if it ends here at the assembly, for better or for worse, at least it ends.

The raffle is actually a write-in series of commands for Jerry and Janza. The students get to dictate who strikes whom and where. The fact that the tickets sell out only confirms The Goober's statement that something is rotten at the school. None of the students seem to have qualms about what is happening there. They all show up, and none of them protest the events, nor do they blow the whistle and call an administrator. Archie's statement about people being greedy and cruel is dead on and the students prove Archie right. Jerry's last chance is the black box. Obie wants to sabotage Archie, and wants to stop whatever it is about him that is unspeakably cruel. Obie knows that if Archie draws a black marble, the whole event is over, perhaps even The Vigils as a society. But Archie, always lucky and always in control, draws two white marbles without skipping a beat or sweating a bead.