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The Chocolate War

The Chocolate War

by Robert Cormier

Power Theme

There is a definite power structure at Trinity high school. Brother Leon and The Vigils use violence and manipulation to control the student body and teachers who might have a problem with their awful tactics. Jerry, The Goober, and some other students try to destroy this power structure by refusing to participate in it. Unfortunately, it's not that easy. The Chocolate War shows just how hard it is for a small group or a single person to stand up to the majority – regardless of who's right and who's wrong.

Questions About Power

  1. What gives Archie his power? Why is he afraid of losing it? Why is he so afraid of the black box?
  2. Does the existence of The Vigils give the Trinity school administration more power over the student body? Why, or why not?
  3. Who is the most powerful person in the novel? Back up your answer with quotes from the text.
  4. Does Jerry have any power? If so, what gives him power? Does the amount of power he has change over the course of the novel?

Chew on This

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

Jerry is empowered when he says "No" to selling chocolates, but he loses this power when he follows his violent impulses and punches Emile during the raffle.

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