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The Chocolate War

Robert Cormier


Character List

Character List

Character List

Character List

Jerry Renault  - The protagonist of the story. Jerry decides that he dares to disturb the universe. He single-handedly takes on the biggest bullies in school—both a gang of kids and a crooked teacher. Jerry does not complain or rat on the people making his life hell. Rather, he deals with them quietly, with his own silent protest. He is an admirable character that shows strength and individualism, but in the end pays for those qualities.

Read an in-depth analysis of Jerry Renault.

Archie Costello  - Archie is the antagonist of the novel. Archie specializes in designing psychological punishments for students. He is revered and feared, and gets away with everything and anything. In this book, a teacher asks for his help, thus lending credence to Archie's power and giving him immunity from consequences arising from his cruel actions. Archie displays many psychopathic tendencies: he has no loyalties, he does not discriminate and is arbitrary when deciding whom to give an assignment, he shows no remorse when his actions result in danger or damage and he does not seem to care about anyone except himself.

Read an in-depth analysis of Archie Costello.

Emile Janza  - A thug who operates using his own form of cruelty—physical as opposed to mental. Archie uses Janza as a thug to back up The Vigils and to beat up Jerry. Blackmailing him with a photograph, Archie gets Janza to participate in a lopsided boxing match in which he brutally beats Jerry.
The Vigils  - A gang of kids who run the school by scaring, commanding and torturing other students. Archie is the leader of The Vigils.
Obie - Secretary of The Vigils. Obie is perhaps the only one who understands that Archie is horribly cruel. At the assembly he tries to orchestrate Archie's downfall, but fails.

Read an in-depth analysis of Obie.

Carter - President of The Vigils. Carter provides some physical back up to the group. He doubts Archie when Archie gets involved with the chocolate sale, and threatens to kick Archie out of the group if his plan does not work.
Brother Leon  - The corrupt head administrator of the school. Brother Leon gets entangled in the sale by borrowing unauthorized funds and spending them all on the chocolates. He is so desperate to cover himself that he asks The Vigils for help, thus sanctioning their methods and means. Leon and Archie demonstrate eerie similarities and work as allies toward the end of the book.

Read an in-depth analysis of Brother Leon.

Roland Goubert  - An amazing runner and plays football with Jerry. Even though Goober is not there for Jerry at critical points throughout the book, he is Jerry's only ally. Victim of a Vigils assignment himself, he responds with fear and helplessness to his own and Jerry's downfall.
Brian Cochran  - The school treasurer who keeps Brother Leon informed of the sales figures of the chocolate. Brian is afraid of Brother Leon and Archie, and keeps quiet the fact that most of the boys have not sold their chocolates but are getting credit for doing so.


Who operates through physical cruelty?
Archie Costello
Bother Leon
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