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The Chocolate War

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

  1. What are some of the things Brother Leon teaches his students?
  2. Are there any good teachers at Trinity?
  3. What has Jerry learned at the end of the novel? Archie? Brother Leon?
  4. What speculations can you make about Brother Leon's education? What's your evidence? Is there enough evidence to speculate?
  5. 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?
  6. If you were to "clean up" Trinity, what would be your game plan?
  7. Should The Chocolate War be taught in school? Why or why not?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The "real world" is a ruthless place; Trinity is simply preparing its students for this world.

Jerry models non-violent resistance for his peers.

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