“The Chocolate War” Essay, Research Paper
Robert Cormier wrote The Chocolate War. The copyright of the book is 1974.
2. In the exposition of The Chocolate War, Jerry Renault, the freshman quarterback, was receiving constant blows from opposing players. Jerry was trying to get the ball to his receiver, the Goober, but not having any luck.
In The Chocolate War, the rising action was the majority of the story. At Trinity High School, the school that Jerry attends, there is a group of “elite” students called the Vigils. The Vigils give out “assignments” to random students at Trinity. Archie, the head, told the Goober that his assignment was to unscrew every screw in Room nineteen. The Goober spent several hours doing his assignment, and eventually finished with the assistance of a few Vigil members. As the story goes on, the reader learns that every year at Trinity, there is a chocolate sale run by the assistant head master, Brother Leon. The last major detail in the rising action was when Archie informed Jerry of his assignment, Jerry’s assignment was not to sell chocolates for the first ten days of the annual chocolate sale.
The climax of the novel was on the eleventh day of the chocolate sale when Jerry was supposed to start selling the chocolates but he didn’t.
As a result of Jerry not selling any chocolates, the other students’ sales began to plummet during the falling action of the story. Brother Leon began to feel nervous and had to go to Archie and the Vigils for help. Incredibly, the Vigils turned the whole school against Jerry and made selling chocolates the “cool” thing. Students began to look down upon Jerry for not conforming to the chocolate sale tradition. Someone even vandalized Jerry’s locker and cut up his gym sneakers. A group of boys, including Emile Janza, one of the biggest bullies at Trinity, jumped Jerry after football practice and abused Jerry’s body with their fists and football cleats.
The Chocolate War didn’t have a happy ending, but there was a resolution in the story. Archie set up a boxing match, of all things, between Jerry Renault and Emile Janza. Emile ended up beating Jerry to a bloody pulp in a matter of minutes, while Jerry landed only three punches the entire match. As a result Jerry finally learned that he couldn’t beat the system, and that he’d be better off doing what his authorities instructed him to do.
3. The main conflict of The Chocolate War comes from Jerry Renault wanting to be different. The conflict involves Jerry, who doesn’t want to sell the chocolates, and Brother Leon and Archie who want him to sell the chocolates. I would consider this conflict to be external human conflict.
4. The story doesn’t actually state a certain time period in which the story takes place, but I’d say the story takes place in the late seventies or the early eighties. Most of the story takes place at Trinity High School in a town that the author doesn’t reveal.
5. Jerry Renault, the protagonist in The Chocolate War, is a brave and caring young man. He proved himself to be brave by standing up to the vigils like no other student had, and agreeing to be in the boxing bout knowing his chances of winning were slim to none. Jerry always felt sorry for his dad whose wife had died, and he always was trying to cheer up his best friend, the Goober, who had a low self-esteem. Both of these acts make Jerry a character with whom the reader empathizes.
6. The main antagonist was Archie Castello. Archie is a cold-hearted selfish individual. By forcing students to do the “assignments” that they didn’t want to do and making the Goober cry, Archie proved himself to be very cold-hearted. Archie using Emile in the boxing match so he didn’t have to get beat up and taking all the credit for the chocolate sales proved Archie to be quite selfish.
7. Jerry agreed to fight in a boxing match knowing that he didn’t have much of a chance because he didn’t want to be like a coward and he didn’t like getting pushed around.
8. The Chocolate War was told from about a dozen characters’ points of view. This point of view would be third person omniscient. Had the author chosen to tell the story from just one point of view, I wouldn’t have been aware of so many details only made available through a third person omniscient point of view.
9. The mood of The Chocolate War is sorrow. The author makes the reader feel sorry for Jerry when he gets beat up on two occasions. Neither time was for a very good reason. I felt sorry for the Goober when he was crying after receiving his assignment.
10. The theme of The Chocolate War was, don’t mess with the authorities. Jerry tried to stand up to Leon, Archie, and the Vigils by not selling chocolates. He was successful for a few days, but he couldn’t hold his own when it came to battling his “authorities” in the chocolate war.
11. I did enjoy The Chocolate War because its main character was a freshman boy just like I am. I didn’t understand why the leaders of Trinity High School allowed the Vigils to exist. Some of the content of the book was a little graphic for a high school level when the author used several sexual terms. My favorite character in The Chocolate War was Jerry because he stood up for what he believed in. Even after he was beaten up, he still refused to sell the chocolates. I thought the title was fitting to the story because there really was a chocolate war.