Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Chocolate War

The Chocolate War
Bibliographic Information:

Cormier, R. (2005). The chocolate war. New York: Knopf Books for Young Readers. ISBN: 0440944597.


"My God," Brother Eugene cried as he entered the classroom and beheld the bedlam. The destruction of Room Nineteen took exactly thirty-seven seconds. Archie timed it from the doorway. A sweetness gathered in his breast as he saw the room being turned into a shambles, a sweet moment of triumph that compensated for all the other lousy things... -page 71

Plot Summary:

Jerry Renault is a freshman at Trinity High School. At Trinity a secret society of upper classmen that go by the name "The Vigil" exert control over the student body through intimidation techniques and cruel "assignments". Jerry Renault refuses to follow The Vigil's order to sell chocolates for the school fundraiser which not only threatens the schools authority, but also The Vigil's.

Critical Analysis:

The Chocolate War is a realistic fiction novel that takes place in modern time. The story mostly belongs to Jerry Renault, a freshman whose mother has recently died. Jerry is simply trying to get through the drudge of day to day life and make it on the high school football team. It is also a story about Archie, a manipulative smooth taker who is in the secret society known as The Vigil. Also, there is Jerry's friend Goob (short for Goober), who learns fairly quickly to conform in order to be spared the cruelty of his peers.

Children can be cruel, and so can adults. The Chocolate War shows a darker side to humanity where the majority of the characters are self obsessed, power hungry(as well as drunk), seemingly conscienceless individuals, and "animalistic" as the story suggests. Cormier's greatest achievements with this novel would have to be his well paced suspense, gritty character portrayal, as well as his obvious devotion and respect to his audience. The issues and scenes in this book are blatant and at times jarring to the reader, which is what made it such a confrontational piece of literature when initially released. I have no complaints as far as weaknesses are concerned with this book. I think this piece of literature serves as the perfect example of a segway piece which is just as enjoyable to the young adult audience as it is to an adult audience.


The Chocolate War is masterfully structured and rich in theme; the action is well crafted, well timed, suspenseful; complex ideas develop and unfold with clarity."-The New York Times Book Review

Recorded Books (Recorded Books, LLC.)
The Chocolate War is a brilliant, unflinching portrait of vicious mob cruelty and conformity in an exclusive prep school. A gripping story from one of the most provocative writers in modern young adult literature, it will hold you spellbound until the final, anguished fight on the football fields of Trinity School.

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