A Darkly Tragic Novel: the Chocolate War

In: English and Literature

Submitted By michaeljiang
Words 2701
Pages 11
Michael Jiang
February 10, 2014
A Darkly Tragic Novel: The Chocolate War Robert Cormier’s The Chocolate War gives readers a dark tale that leaves them on the edge of their seats. Ever since its debut in 1974, it has angered and shocked parents, transfixed students, and has been banned in many schools throughout the nation. Robert Cormier was born on January 17, 1925 in Leominster, Maryland and died on November 2, 2000 due to complications from a blood clot in Boston, Maryland. Cormier was the son of Lucien Joseph, a factory worker, and Irma Margaret Cormier; and attended Fitchburg State College, he graduated in 1944. He married Constance B. Senay on November 6, 1948 and had 4 children. Young Adult Banned Books tells us that Cormier was acclaimed for “his powerful and disturbing novels for young adult readers” (Young, 8). He has written many novels for young adults including the sequel to The Chocolate War (Beyond the Chocolate War, 1985). Cormier wrote The Chocolate War based on a true life experience “in which his son was the only person in his class to refuse to sell chocolates for a high school fund raiser” (Young, 9). The Chocolate War was published by Pantheon in New York, New York in 1974. The Chocolate War tells the story of “a young boy's struggle against the conformity imposed on him by the restrictive atmosphere of an all-male Catholic prep school as well as by the demands of the Vigils, a secret group that the school does not officially condone but whose existence and infractions it ignores” (The Chocolate, 15). The novel opens with our protagonist, Jerry Renault, a freshman in high school still “emotionally bruised after his mother’s death, is handed a typical assignment, to spend two weeks publicly defying Trinity’s traditions by refusing to take part in the school’s annual chocolate sale” (Robinson, 18). However, once the 10 days are…...

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