The Chocolate War

Main Ideas

Key Facts

Main Ideas 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.