The Chocolate War
by Robert Cormier
The Chocolate War Theme of Education
The students at Trinity, a Catholic high school for boys, are supposed to be getting a religious education. Instead, they're mostly being taught how physical and psychological violence can be used to manipulate others. Too bad it's not a school for super villains, because it'd the best in the world. The hero of The Chocolate War, Jerry Renault, makes a symbolic stand against the bad educational practices at Trinity by saying "No" to selling chocolates for the school. He suffers a lot for doing this, and the lesson he learns at the end of the book may not be the warm, fuzzy thing you might expect.
Questions About Education
- What are some of the things Brother Leon teaches his students?
- Are there any good teachers at Trinity?
- What has Jerry learned at the end of the novel? Archie? Brother Leon?
- What speculations can you make about Brother Leon's education? What's your evidence? Is there enough evidence to speculate?
- Does Trinity remind you of your own school or a school you've been too? Why or why not? What are some similarities and differences?
- If you were to "clean up" Trinity, what would be your game plan?
- Should The Chocolate War be taught in school? Why or why not?
Chew on This
The "real world" is a ruthless place; Trinity is simply preparing its students for this world.
Jerry models non-violent resistance for his peers.