The Vigils are a high school gang in the novel written by Robert Cormier "The Chocolate Wars". Set in the 1970's the Vigils are a menacing gang in Trinity College, which is run by a corrupt principle Brother Leon. The Vigils are a secret gang in the school with a reputation of being physical, violent and aggressive. Everybody in Trinity knows about the existence of The Vigils but at the same time deny that they even exist. "The Vigils kept things under control. Without The Vigils, Trinity might have been torn apart like other schools had been, by demonstrations, protests, all that crap". (4.23)
The Vigils are lead by their leader Archie Costello who is a natural leader. Archie finds satisfaction over watching people sweat when he is interrogating them. He has a strong mental attitude and intimidates others with his psychological bullying. His ability to be one step ahead of everybody and his quick sharp thinking is what keeps him the leader of the vigils. There are three main members of the Vigils. Carter the president of the vigils and also the brute force who plays football and does boxing, Obie the secretary who hates Archie with all his life but at the same time admires him and Archie Costello the leader.
The Vigils work hand in hand with Brother Leon to help achieve discipline in Trinity. The Vigils perform pranks on teachers such as in room nineteen where they unscrewed all of the furniture and the chalkboard. Brother Leon, the school principle, turns a blind eye whenever The Vigils are causing mayhem around the school. The Vigils are known for handing out 'assignments' (pranks) to students. These assignments are given to students at random. This is done by interviewing them in their secret hideout and then supplying them with their assignment. Archie has a special role in The Vigils as the assigner.
The Vigils have a special system, which keeps everything in order. When Archie gives someone an assignment to carry out he must face a challenge. Archie must put his hand in a box filled with 5 white marbles and 1 black marble. If Archie pulls out a black marble he has to carry out the assignment himself.
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