The Chocolate War Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 28 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Chocolate War.
This section contains 485 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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The Chocolate War Summary & Study Guide Description

The Chocolate War Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion on The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier.

The Chocolate War is a young adult novel by Robert Comier. Its primary setting is Trinity High School where a secret society called The Vigils exists. The Vigils give different boys “assignments” that they must carry out. Some of The Vigils believe they are upholding a long-held Trinity tradition, while for others the Assignments of The Vigils are a play on power and authority. The assigner of The Vigils is Archie Costello, a moody and unpredictable boy who likes to hold the ultimate authority.

Every year Trinity hosts the Chocolate Sale fundraiser; but this year Brother Leon purchased in advance twice as much chocolate as last year. His superior is ill and Brother Leon is next in line to be headmaster. He wants to prove he can handle taking care of the school by doubling the fundraising efforts. He enlists the help of Archie Costello and The Vigils.

Jerry Renault is a shy, skinny freshman who is trying out for the football team. He makes the freshman team and loves the camaraderie of the team. His mother died of cancer the previous spring, and he has thrown himself into school and his athletics. He watches his father struggle through life. Jerry makes a choice not to live a dull life like his father. He is summoned by The Vigils and told not to sell the chocolates for the first ten days. He accepts the assignment and refuses to participate in the chocolate sale.

At first everybody is shocked by his defiance of Brother Leon. Even though Brother Leon has said the chocolate sale is voluntary, the expectation is that everyone will participate. Each morning at roll call Brother Leon becomes infuriated because Jerry is still refusing to sell chocolates. As a whole, the chocolate sale is suffering. Brother Leon summons Archie, reminding him he has agreed to help the efforts of the chocolate sale.

Archie and The Vigils now demand Jerry sell chocolates, but the following day he still refuses with the T.S. Eliot question of “do I dare disturb the universe?” hanging in his mind. Jerry becomes tired of doing what everyone wants him to do.

The Vigils make selling the chocolates the “cool thing,” and everyone reaches their quota of 50 boxes sold except Jerry. He is harassed and bullied: he’s pushed down stairs, beaten up, his locker is vandalized and his schoolwork stolen. Archie and The Vigils set up a fight on the football field and sell raffle tickets to the student event.

At the fight, Jerry is forced to fight a much larger senior, Emile Janza, who taunts him. The bleachers are filled with students who watch as Jerry is beaten up . In the distance Brother Leon watches the fight but doesn’t stop it. A different teacher, Brother Jacques turns off the stadium lights and the crowd dissipates. Jerry is taken away in an ambulance.

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This section contains 485 words
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