…Or A Chocolate War..?? Essay, Research Paper
Chocolate “sale” or…..chocolate “war”? Although you describe this novel as
being mainly based on simply the chocolate sale, the correct answer is more like the
war of the chocolate sale. Already from the opening page of this exclusive book,
where quarterback Jerry Renault is clobbered by a relentless defense, The Chocolate
War is relentless in its portrayal of the vicious, sometimes violent world of high
school. Through Jerry Renault, Robert Cormier who is the author of this book,
thrusts us into the tormenting world of Trinity High, an all boys prep school.
The Chocolate War isn’t all about the schoolwide chocolate sale Brother
Leon presented to Trinity. The sale is part of the “war” going on through the school,
but even before the sale was put out, problems already were occurring. The theme in
their school was always “the students vs. the teachers”. It then lowered down to “the
Vigils vs. the teachers”, particularly talking about Archie Castello, head and assigner
of the Vigils, and Brother Leon, assistant headmaster of Trinity. These conflicts were
already existing before the sale was given by Brother Leon. The characters are
guided by peer pressures and the desire to please (or displease) their teachers. All of
this is just a piece of the war at Trinity.
The real chocolate war all started out just as Brother Leon announced and
introduced the chocolate sale that all the students were supposed to participate in.
Everyone was perfectly fine about the idea of the sale since it is held as one of the
biggest fund-raisers all year to help the school. But once Leon changed around the
expectations on the sale, conflicts around the school began to form. This year,
Brother Leon wants the entire school to sell up to 20,000 boxes of chocolate, which
means every single student is needed to sell 50 boxes each. Some of the students
were excited and motivated to sell their set of chocolates, while some only sold them
because they feared Brother Leon. Many of the students didn’t want to sell the
chocolates, but they were all afraid of what Brother Leon might do if they weren’t
involved in the fund-raiser. They all knew about the unexplained failures Leon gives
out to the students in his class. The reasons of these F’s are usually something that is
related to the sale.
Archie Castello came up with a clever, yet of course cruel, idea for an
assignment about the chocolate sale. Everyone knew how serious Brother Leon was
with the sale, sometimes even going a little overboard with it. Everyone, is of course
including Archie. He knew that Leon would just go out of his mind if a student at
Trinity, just one little student, didn’t sell the chocolates. It seemed just like the
greatest idea he came up with yet, except the difficult part was to find who would be
capable and willing to do such a thing. He needed to find someone who was brave
enough and that “had the guts”. Just about every student in Trinity was extremely
frightened and intimidated by Leon, but a lot easier than it sounds, it actually didn’t
take long for Archie to find the right person. This is when he came up with the idea
of having Jerry Renault carry out the assignment of refusing to sell absolutely no
chocolates for a certain amount of weeks. Once Archie saw how Renault never gave
up on the football field, no matter how much he was getting thrashed or even if he
happened to be the smallest player out there, he knew Jerry was perfect for the
Other than Jerry looking like a wimp, he was probably the only guy tough
enough who had the actual guts to face Brother Leon himself. He did as he was
assigned by the Vigils, to refuse to sell any chocolates. Jerry actually said, “no,” to
Leon. Everyday, he had to face that intimidating teacher and being in the
uncomfortable position of isolation against all the other students who had sold the
chocolates. Just a few weeks seemed just about forever.
Brother Leon, of course, was furious about this. Especially since he was so
serious about his sale. he wasn’t going to let one little boy ruin the sale for him. He
even blackmailed David Caroni with his grades. Caroni was a straight A student,
never receiving lower than that grade, and Leon knew if he used his grades against
him, Caroni would have to tell him the explanation of why Renault wasn’t selling
Even though Brother Leon soon discovered that the reason of the behavior of
Renault had to do with the Vigils, there want much he could do that would force
Jerry to change his mind and start selling the chocolates. Archie couldn’t even get
Jerry to sell again. When Archie asked him to sell the chocolates, Renault still
refused. And all of this is still just most of the beginning of the actual chocolate war.
Since Renault refused to sell, others soon started to believe that if Jerry didn’t
have to sell them, they didn’t have to either. An example in the story of a character
who did that was Howie Anderson. Howie was one of the students at the school
who chose to stop selling the chocolates. He believed that if little, freshman, Jerry
Renault, didn’t sell the chocolates, it wouldn’t make a difference if he didn’t either.
Now this war is no longer just Archie Castello and Brother Leon, but also
including Jerry Renault as well. Brother Leon already had his problems with getting
every student to sell their 50 boxes, and Renault made it even more difficult when he
chose to permanently refuse to sell any. Archie was the one who also got Brother
Leon into this mess by having Jerry involved, knowing how stubborn Renault was.
Leon acted so serious about the sale, he made it actually seem as if the whole thing
really was a war and he wanted to win it badly. Brother Leon was planning to pay
off the debt from last year’s sale because he had pre-bought all the chocolates from
last year. Leon was in money debt. This was part of the reason why he became so
serious about selling 20,000 boxes, and had to make sure that every student did their
job of selling their amount given.
This whole chocolate sale began to cross the line when Archie came up with
another one of his ideas. He decided since he couldn’t make Jerry himself sell the
chocolates, that he would have to figure out his own way to get them sold. Castello
told David Caroni to ask Brother Leon if he could use the football field for a football
rally. Leon agreed, yet not knowing that this “football rally” was really going to be a
boxing match. Although Caroni was the one who asked for the permission to use the
field, he too, did not know that it was going to be held as a boxing match controlled
In order for him to get the chocolates sold, he needed to get money. Although
Archie hates the sport boxing, and any other activities that involve violence, as
smart as he was, he knew that all the students at Trinity would love it. Jerry Renault
and Emile Janza were the two who were going to be the ones fighting in the match.
Just about everyone in the school bought a raffle ticket, and the profit of the tickets
was what Archie was planning to use to pay off the rest of the chocolates.
This whole boxing match idea of Archie’s definitely doesn’t show much
about the chocolate sale, but of its war. It showed the war against Brother Leon and
Archie Castello. It showed the war against Leon and Jerry Renault, the war of Jerry
vs. Emile Janza, and definitely the war of just the criticizing world of high school.
The word “war” doesn’t always have to be a physical war, as in deaths or literally
fighting. It can mean internal war, where not a single show of violence has to be
involved. This whole novel, The Chocolate War, takes the reader into the
underworld of Trinity, where justice is ruled by just one powerful