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The Chocolate War

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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



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