Literary Significance Through Symbolism in the Chocolate War

Good Essays
“Literary Significance through Symbolism in The Chocolate War”
The Chocolate War, written by Robert Cormier in 1974, is set at Trinity, a Catholic high school for boys. However, this is no ordinary school, it is a twisted place controlled by the tyrannical Vigils, a school gang that doles out ‘assignments’, such as the destruction of Room Nineteen, for students to carry out. Brother Leon, a teacher and the assistant headmaster at Trinity, also has power over the students. He psychologically terrorizes them and is the main reason why The Vigils become so bent on destroying Jerry, the protagonist. It is Brother Leon’s chocolate sale that eventually brings about the downfall of idealistic young Jerry, who tries to resist the brother and The Vigils, partly because of a poster in his locker, by not selling the former Mother’s Day chocolates. Cormier uses the three aforementioned things: the chocolates, Room Nineteen, and the poster, to symbolize Jerry’s loss of motherly protection, Trinity's twisted atmosphere, and the theme of the book. ‘The Chocolate War’ is an aptly chosen title for this novel because these seemingly innocent sweets truly do cause a riveting psychological battle within the school.
The chocolates in The Chocolate War symbolize many different things in the story. One of their representations is the loss of motherly protection the protagonist experiences when his mom dies. They are symbolic in this way because, just like Jerry the protagonist, the chocolates have had ‘mother’ removed from them. Brother Leon says in a private conversation, “… these [were] Mother’s Day chocolates. … All we have to do is remove the purple ribbon that says Mother and we're in business" (Cormier 23). Jerry no longer has a mother to protect him from Trinity or to be there for him, which is why the removal of the word ‘mother’ from the chocolates symbolizes his loss. They are also an example of dramatic irony because only the reader knows that they were former Mother’s Day

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Satisfactory Essays

    Chocolate War

    • 574 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Hernandez 1 Eliseo Curiel Ms. Hart ACDV B50 Tue Thur 11:10 4 April, 2013 The Chocolate War Students are missing out on great book! Americas freedom of speech is protected by the First Amendment, according to the U.S. Constitution, unless the act or work is considered obscene. In which the First Amendment is then not protected by the U.S Constitution. Although banned in selected schools throughout America, such as The Broken Arrow in Oklahoma, there are many moral and social values…

    • 574 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Chocolate War

    • 542 Words
    • 3 Pages

    The Chocolate War Why would a person decide to betray the beliefs they had fought so hard for? In Robert Cormiers novel The Chocolate War, the character of Jerry Renault changes drastically from a rebel to a follower in the end. The school gang known as the vigils and his moral beliefs motivates Jerry's actions. He feels he must take a stand against evil. Jerry can be considered a hero because of his beliefs. In the end however he gives in to the things he fought against and becomes a follower…

    • 542 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Chocolate War

    • 1170 Words
    • 5 Pages

    The Chocolate War: To Ban or To Not Be Banned In Robert Cormier’s The Chocolate War, the story itself may be considered a little controversial. Although the storyline is interesting and many people had their eyes glued to the page, others believe that some parts in the book are too controversial that it should be banned in schools. I personally believe that even though The Chocolate War was an interesting book to read, it should be banned from schools. While reading The Chocolate War, I noticed…

    • 1170 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    The Chocolate War

    • 401 Words
    • 2 Pages

    they are smart and they know everything then everyone else in high school. Bullying in school, ways to prevent bullying in school. First, Bullying in school. Bullying is a very popular disease among the school students today. Page 106 the chocolate war the author Robert Cormier states that “The world was made up of two kinds of people—those who were victims and those who victimized.” Archie watches as Emile Janza bullies a freshman into buying him cigarettes, and the scene confirms his view…

    • 401 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Chocolate War

    • 882 Words
    • 4 Pages

    “Archie is a scheming and manipulative character who controls the ‘entire school in the palm of his hand’ Do you agree?” In The Chocolate War, written by Robert Cormier, Archie Costello is the main antagonist who enjoys torturing his victims psychologically. In the novel he is portrayed as a manipulative and cunning person. Archie Costello is a character who is powerful enough to control the entire school. The novel shows how Archie can turn a bad situation for him into a good one – demonstrating…

    • 882 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    CPT Literary Significance Notes (3-80) Plot * Liesel, her mother and her brother Werner are all travelling on a train, to greet Werner’s and Liesels foster parents. * Liesel, illiterate has a dream o Adolf Hitler and speaks to him in broken German. * As she is half awake, Liesels brother dies, and there were two Nazi soldiers who argue on weather they leave the body there or take it with them. * Both Liesel and her mother are traumatized by his sudden death and 2 days later he is buried…

    • 1453 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    authors tend to use specific techniques while writing, that make it easier to grab the reader and really engage them within the story itself. The Chocolate War is a strong example of how many authors follow this same formula for writing, and use it as a sort of backbone for their work. You can very easily tell how in just the first page of The Chocolate War, Robert Cormier uses this method of hooking in his reader. ”They murdered him”1 would probably be a shock to see as the first sentence to most people…

    • 989 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Essay—Major Paper 1: Literary Analysis June 18, 2013 The Significance of Symbolism in The Great Gatsby A symbol in literary work can be described as “something that represents something else by association, resemblance, or convention, especially a material object used to represent something invisible. Symbolism is used greatly through out the novel The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Many of the symbols portrayed in the novel provide great significance in the development of…

    • 874 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Significance of Fire in Like Water for Chocolate In the novel Like Water for Chocolate, by Laura Esquivel, fire is used as imagery to symbolize the release of strong, intense passion by the characters of the novel. Fire as well as coldness ( which is used to describe the absense of passion) influences the way that the reader views the characters, Mama Elena, Tita, Pedro, Rosaura and Gertrudis and illustrates the love, lust and emotion that are common themes throughout the text. Fire can be linked…

    • 1041 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Chocolate War Essay

    • 756 Words
    • 4 Pages

    The Chocolate War – Essay 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…

    • 756 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays