Free Study Guide for The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier|
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ONLINE STUDY GUIDE - THE CHOCOLATE WAR BY ROBERT CORMIER
5. “Those of you who are true sons of Trinity, that is. I pity anyone
who is not.” - Brother Leon, pg. 86.
When Jerry refuses to sell the chocolates, Leon becomes upset. At the end
of the roll call, he says that anyone who does not sell the chocolates
is not a true son of Trinity. He is trying to instill a sense of pride
in the boys. This rhetoric is actually very common during wartime. National
leaders often try to equate going to war with patriotism; therefore, opposing
the war means someone is not truly a citizen.
6. “Were teachers like everyone else, then? Were teachers as corrupt
as the villains you read about in books or saw in movies and television?”
- David Caroni, pg. 112.
David wonders this as he figures out that Leon is trying to threaten him with
a bad grade if he does not make Jerry Renault sell chocolates. This is
a pivotal quotation because it reveals Cormier’s larger metaphor of this
novel--Trinity high school is a microcosm of the larger world. Leon represents
corruption in government. The students are citizens who must decide how
to live their lives.
7. “It’s a free country.” - Jerry, pg. 205.
Jerry takes an important stand when he does not back down in front of his
class mates. Although Leon says that it is unoriginal for Jerry to express
that he is refraining from the sale because it is a free country, this
is an important statement. Jerry a right that is very fundamental to our
American heritage--the right to dissent. In this novel, Cormier presents
an oppressive authority (Leon) who is able to force the masses (the students)
to do what he wants through coercion, and by equating his cause, which
is not legitimate, with pride in Trinity. This method is similar to despots
and illicit wars that are promoted by evoking sentiments of patriotism.
Jerry refuses to buy into Leon’s rhetoric and is exercising his right
to disagree, no matter how unpopular he becomes.
8. “You see, Carter, people are two things: greedy and cruel. So
we have a perfect set up here. The greed part--a kid pays a buck for a
chance to win a hundred. Plus fifty boxes of chocolates. The cruel part--watching
two guys hitting each other, maybe hurting each other, while they're safe
in the bleachers. That's why it works, Carter, because we're all bastards.
” - Archie, pg. 241.
This quotation exemplifies Archie’s world view. A good deal of this novel
is dedicated to Jerry’s quest for his identity in the universe-for how
he wishes to “disturb” it. Archie has developed a very basic and animalistic
view of human nature. He fails to see any good in it.
9. “They tell you to do your thing but they don't mean it. They don't
want you to do your thing, not unless it happens to be their thing, too.
It's a laugh, Goober, a fake. Don't disturb the universe, Goober, no matter
what the posters say.” - Jerry, pg. 259.
These are Jerry’s thoughts as The Goober sits with him, awaiting the ambulance.
Jerry has been defeated for the final time, the result of disturbing the
universe--the natural order.
10. “Maybe the black box will work next time, Archie...Or maybe another
kid like Renault will come along.” - Obie, pg. 263.
Obie says this to the apathetic Archie in the last chapter. This quotation
reveals the inevitability of Archie’s downfall. Eventually Archie will
be beat. He cannot live the way he is forever.
Edition used: Dell Laurel-Leaf Press, 2000
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. 13 May 2008