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The Chocolate War

Robert Cormier


Key Facts

Key Facts

full title ·  The Chocolate War

author ·  Robert Cormier

type of work ·  Novel

genre ·  Young adult, Fiction

language ·  English

time and place written ·  Written in 1974 in Leominster, Massachusetts

date of first publication ·  1974

publisher ·  Dell Laurel-Leaf

narrator ·  There is a third person narrator.

point of view ·  The point of view is from a third person omniscient narrator who skips from character to character, revealing a number of characters' thoughts and actions.

tone ·  The tone in the book is largely serious and very perceptive. While Jerry is the protagonist, we get into the minds of other characters as well. The tone during passages about Brother Leon and Archie becomes sarcastic and pessimistic. The tone at the ending is dismal and hopeless.

tense ·  Past tense

setting (time) ·  It is unclear, only to say that it is a relatively modern time period

setting (place) ·  Trinity school (an all-boys school), with a few scenes at Jerry's home.

protagonist ·  Jerry Renault

major conflict ·  Jerry's refusal to sell chocolates at the school chocolate sale.

rising action ·  Jerry's refusal after the first ten days and The Vigils' subsequent punishment of that choice.

climax ·  The assembly at which Jerry fights Emile Janza for the chance to get back at everyone who has punished him for his decision not to sell the chocolates.

falling action ·  The ending of the boxing match and Jerry's subsequent realization that it is not worth it to disturb the universe.

themes ·  Disturbing the universe; psychological warfare; the power of fear; manipulation; nonconformity; perversion; corruptness.

motifs · Assignments; football; roll call

symbols · Jerry's poster; the chocolates; Room nineteen

foreshadowing · The Goober's disintegration after carrying out his assignment, the beatings Jerry takes during and after football practice, Jerry looking at his poster and pondering the meaning of it.

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Last Quote

by poetic-oreos, January 04, 2013

That's my favorite quote from the book and it makes Jerry realize that individuality isn't very meritorious because of the people of the world who will aim to bring you down. This was perfect.


1 out of 4 people found this helpful


by Gracelyn0509, June 10, 2013

Be very clear. There is a mistake. It was David Caroni who was blackmailed by Brother Leon into exposing the Vigils as the reason why Jerry did not sell chocolates. It was NOT Brian Cochran.


8 out of 12 people found this helpful

What I Don't Understand about TCW.

by thegingersnap16, June 19, 2015

If there's anything that's been annoying me horribly, is the question of why Jerry and Obie never report the bullying? Did Cormier himself, think that asking authority for help was for pansies; Or am I missing the whole pointlessness of this stupid and dismal story. Yeah, I understand that not everyone would like you in life, but why did He (the writer) have to be so sadistic? I got help when I was bullied, and everything was fine. I guess I just never got a pleasurable rise out of this guy's work. (And I read this twice in my life, plus wat... Read more


7 out of 10 people found this helpful

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