Recently, I have finished reading the novel The Chocolate War which is written by Robert Cormier. I have written two essay-like reflections for this book. Here there are.

In the book The Chocolate War, Jerry’s father works as a pharmacist. He lives a pretty boring and uneventful lifestyle. Because of this, Jerry wants to live differently than his father and live a life that is adventurous and eventful. He wants to disturb the universe, as it says on Jerry’s poster in his locker. The way he wants to disturb the universe is by being completely different and rebellious, so he doesn’t sell chocolates for his high school fundraiser.

I feel like since his father lived a boring lifestyle and that provoked Jerry into doing something different, then Jerry’s relationship with his father caused the whole war at Trinity High School to start. Jerry wanted to disturb the universe, but he could have done it in a completely different way. He could have just not done his homework or something else that didn’t cause such a big impact upon his cool.

Obviously, if Jerry had a different father, or a father who had a different job/lifestyle, then this whole story would have gone completely differently. Lets just say Jerry’s father had a job that made him travel a lot, and made him very happy. Jerry would probably not want to be rebellious because his dad is adventurous. He would want to be like his dad and have an interesting job when he grows up. During school, he could have chosen to go into the study his father had a job in. In conclusion, Jerry’s father and his relationship with his son caused the war about chocolate to occur. So, if Jerry had a different father, all of this wouldn’t have happened.

 

In The Chocolate War, two main themes that are presented are authority and pessimism. Pessimism is huge in this novel and is portrayed in multiple main characters. Jerry became pessimistic after he thought about his father’s lifestyle after Jerry’s mother died. Jerry thought that life was horrible for his father; live, get married, have your wife die, and live a really boring lifestyle until you die. Goober is one of the more pessimistic characters and he expresses his pessimistic feelings very clearly. He keeps saying throughout the novel that he hates the school, he hates the students, and he hates the world.

Pessimism is displayed by almost all of the characters in the book at least once. For example, Carter keeps thinking that the world is a terrible place. As I mentioned in the paragraph before, he is not the only student that expresses these feelings. With all the pressure on the students to sell chocolates from the teachers and the Vigils, some people start to feel pessimistic and defiant.

The second large theme portrayed in this novel is authority. Many different groups and people show different levels of authority. Let’s start with the group called The Vigils. This group has a very large amount of authority at the school. With their power, they control most of the student body at Trinity High School to believe that Jerry was bad for not selling chocolates.

Not only did The Vigils show authority, but so did the teachers. Brother Leon showed authority over all the other teachers at the school and over the students. Archie, a student, had authority and power over The Vigils, the students, and even Brother Leon. With that much authority, Archie controlled the whole school by himself.

Overall, this novel expressed so many themes, some of which include pessimism and authority. Pessimism is displayed by almost all of the students during the novel due to all the pressure put on them to sell the chocolates by the Vigils. There were many authoritative figures in this book, including Brother Leon, Archie, and the Vigils. I think I learned a lot about these themes from the novel, and I hope to read the sequel in the future.