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The Chocolate War

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Autor:  anton  28 November 2010
Tags:  Chocolate
Words: 976   |   Pages: 4
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The Chocolate War

Robert Cormier writes novels for teenagers. In his books he uses violence and power and other features that the adolescence age group usually use. A lot of people are disturbed by the way he uses violence the way he does at the end of the novel. Cormier wrote the Chocolate War during the 1970’s during the hippie era. The story takes place at a higher intelligence level than most of the outside world.

Jerry Renault, the main character in the novel, has lived a rough life, especially in the last year or so. He is mostly kept to himself and not to outspoken because of his mothers death. A hippie tells Jerry at the bus stop something that gets him thinking. Jerry then soon participates in a Vigil stunt of not participating in a chocolate sale that takes place at Trinity, which is a school tradition and helps to pay for different material things at Trinity. After his assignment is over he continues to refuse the chocolate sale. Jerry is then portrayed as a rebel, so refusing to sell the chocolates helps build Jerry’s character identity.

The Chocolate War is a novel where social status and acceptance play key [themes] throughout the story. The story takes place at a private all boys’ school. Cormier shows how social acceptance is important by the secretive club known as the “Vigils.” The Vigils is a club that is an honor to be a part of and if you are a senior or an upper classman you are not considered to be “cool.” The time period that the novel takes place is also important in the outcome of the novel. The novel takes place in the 1960’s the same time that the “hippies” were in existence. This time period helps Jerry make his decision that will make him become [not normal].

There are a couple of different [things] that spark Jerry into becoming true to himself. The death of his mother is one reason Jerry desire’s to be more of an individual. He feels confused and that he is supposed to do something because of his mother’s death. There is also the hippie man by the bus who criticizes Jerry for going to school everyday and taking orders from everyone, he tells Jerry to be himself and not to be such a follower anymore. After Jerry meets the hippies he decides to do his own thing in the chocolate sale (Moss and Wilson 64). Next, one of the biggest things that urge Jerry to be different is the poster that he keeps in his locker. The poster is of a beach with a star sparkling far away and a man taking a walk with these words across the bottom- “ Do I dare disturb the universe”. Jerry isn’t exactly sure what the poster means or why he even has it posted in his locker. Jerry will learn soon what the poster means as the novel progresses.

Jerry is also influenced, intimidated, and harassed by several other characters throughout the novel. “This was the payoff, that’s all. A fight. With rules, Fair and square” (260; ch.38) He does not really have any friends except for one guy,

Goober. Goober also tries to be like Jerry and be true to himself but he cannot do it.

Brother Leon is a character in the novel who tries to intimidate Jerry by yelling at him and singling him out in front of the whole school and his classmates. Brother Leon asks the Vigils to help him destroy Jerry (Travers 1). Brother Leon is in control of the whole school and his classmates. Brother Leon is in control of the whole chocolate sale, that Jerry refuses to participate in, and he decided to double the amount of chocolates from the previous years. Brother Leon calls it selling chocolates but it is actually mind control (Magill 235). He not only tries to intimidate Jerry but all of his students, he does so by hitting them and embarrassing them.

The rest of the school also adds to Jerry’s feelings. The school starts off by not knowing Jerry because he is just some freshman. Then Jerry is ordered to participate in a Vigil stunt, which is to not sell the chocolates for ten days, which he does so and he becomes known but they all know it is just a stunt. After the ten days is up he continues to refuse the chocolates and all the students were shocked but they all know who Jerry was. His decision of not selling the chocolates looks like the whole school does not care about Trinity’s future (Moss and Wilson 65) At first when he continued to refuse, the students though it was pretty cool but eventually all the students thought he was just trying to be cool and they started to hate him. Jerry’s decision allows him to gain a new identity (Magill 235).

Arthur tries to control Jerry psychologically by controlling him. Cormier shows the harsh world that teenagers live in. (Moss and Wilson 62) Arthur does so because he gets satisfactory in mind control over others. He likes to know that he can control someone physically and mentally. “ I gave you an assignment- don’t sell the chocolates- and then I gave you another-sell them. You did the rest, kid. I didn’t beat you up. I don’t believe in violence. But you touched off the fireworks…”(232; ch.35) Jerry doesn’t agree with Arthur because he is being true to himself and being an individual. Arthur does not agree with this concept.

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