The novel highlights the Vigil’s manipulation, cruelty and control over students.This very dark depiction of the abuse of authority could easily be a metaphor for any corrupt political society in the world.Archie is always one step ahead of his peers, wielding his intellect to manipulate disciples and victims alike.
It had been funny and terrible at the same time, watching Leon call the roll and waiting for his name to be called, and finally his name blazing in the air and the defiant NO.
The teacher might have been able to carry off his act successfully, except for his eyes. His face was always under control but his eyes showed vulnerability, gave Jerry a glimpse into the hell that was burning inside the teacher – page 124 is all about power, especially power abused by corrupt authority figures or bullies.
Brother Leon, Archie and of course Jerry(protagonist) represent different dimensions of the human condition.
Jerry is the idealist, Archie is the egocentric coward and Leon the manipulative abusive.
Due to its content the book is frequently banned and appears third on the American Library Association’s list of Top 100 Banned / Challenged Books in 2000 – 2009.
The novel was adapted into a feature film in 1988, directed by Keith Gordon.
When Brother Leon enlists Archie’s help to make the annual fundraising chocolate sale is a success, it looks like they’ve got it in the bag.
That is until Jerry disobeys the Vigils by refusing to sell chocolates.
They represent the best and the worst and therefore are interesting and capture the readers attention.
On the other hand, Obie, Carter and Goober could do more.