The idea, ‘Do I dare disturb the universe?’ is a strong message of the book, The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier. The book highlights tradition, discipline and authority, the possible evils of being too wrapped up in the idea of accepting what is because it is, and the question of ‘is the universe worth disturbing?’ in regards to the message.
The universe is represented by the school, Trinity High, as a microcosm of the macrocosm of the American society.
Tradition plays a part in the message, as to disturb the universe you must break tradition. For example, Jerry not doing his part in the chocolate sale, which has always been a Trinity tradition for all the boys to help fundraise, causes shock and admiration. Another example is Archie getting the Vigils involved with the chocolate sales, something in which was never part of their policy and causing some disarray within the group. Brother Leon also, by raising the number of chocolates and doubling its price, breaks the tradition of the school’s sale and increasing its pressure to be successful. It is also due to tradition that The Vigils and the other various sales conducted by the school are accepted by the student body.
The school sets high levels of discipline and enforces it with its authority. Thus discipline and authority are a large factor of the message. The boys at Trinity High know to do as they’re told to avoid trouble. The Vigils keep the school under control through fear strategies; emphasising their authority and an unquestioning obedience from the student body. When an assignment is set out by the Vigils is it protocol to not refuse, if you do there shall be dire consequences as demonstrated by Carter, the Vigils president, on Frankie Rollo who gets severely beaten up on the attempt of following Jerry’s example. Jerry gets punished himself, severely beaten twice, for resisting the Vigils authority by not selling the chocolates. Archie and The Vigils...