Robert Cormier The Chocolate War

2091 Words9 Pages
A young catholic boy stands up for what he believes in while so many, of his own friends and classmates, turn on him because they do not want to be set out like outcasts. Meanwhile, teachers use their power for their own wants and needs and sit back while evil lurks the halls. Robert Cormier uses both a student and teachers point of view to create a powerful novel that involves both the abuse of power and evil within. Looking back on the events of his son’s and his life, Robert Cormier not only shows the battle of power and evil, but also how the 1970s and 1980s impacted his life the most in The Chocolate War.
Understanding a little about Robert Cormier will help understand how he came to be as a writer and how it influenced his novel. Cormier
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Cormier wrote three published works (“The Chocolate,” Novel) before writing The Chocolate War. The novel received the “Maxi Award” and the “Margaret A. Edwards Award gain by American Library Association” (Iskander). But unfortunately critics dislike the novel due to it being inappropriate and “disturbing” for it’s “distorted view on reality and… feeling absolute hopelessness” (Moss and Wilson 70). The book starts out talking about the main character, Jerry, who starts out high school at an all boy catholic school. The problems that occur in the novel are done by the The Vigils who are the schools gang. The group exists because of a boy named Archie who assigns things for the boys to do and if the assignments are not done by the time he tells them there will be a punishment awaiting them. Archie later finds out from one of the teachers, Brother Leon, that the original principle becomes sick and has to go to the hospital so he will be filling in for him. Brother Leon then tells Archie that the amount of chocolate that needs being sold in their annual sale will be doubled because Leon spent the money for school for his own personal demands. Brother Leon then tells Archie that he needs his help. But instead of doing what Brother Leon asked he starts up trouble by giving Jerry an assignment not to sell the chocolates which starts a lot of problems for Jerry and the…show more content…
When Cormier first started to write his novels he wanted to write about his kids lives, which was said in the previous paragraph. The novel is based around “Cormier’s son Peter, who, after discussing it with his parents, decided not to participate in his school’s annual chocolate sale as a matter of principle” (Angel 9). One thing that both Cormier and Jerry share is that they both, unfortunate, lost a person very close to them that overtakes a big impact it in many of their young lives. First, Cormier sadly lost his father to cancer when he was a young child and was raised by only his mother (“The Chocolate,” Literature). But in the novel, instead of Jerry’s father dying when he was younger, his “mother died last spring. Cancer” (Cormier 16). The novel takes place in an all boy catholic school that goes by the name Trinity. Trinity plays a big part in the major conflicts that Jerry faces throughout the book. John Cohen, writer of the chapter, “The Chocolate War Was Inspired by an Event in Cormier’s Life” in the book Peer Pressure in Robert Cormier’s The Chocolate War, interviews Cormier regarding his son and how he “went to Catholic private boys’ school of 400 boys (33). By saying this in the interview it allows the setting to be more realistic. Incorporating a catholic
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