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Cormier, Robert

New York : Pantheon, 1974.
ISBN 04400944597

(2 booktalks)

Booktalk #1

Jerry Renault is a freshman at Trinity, a New England parochial boys day school. As part of the initiation into the school, Jerry must perform an assignment given to him by the Vigils -- a secret society composed of the elite students. Jerry's assignment seems pretty easy. He is to refuse to sell boxes of chocolate during the school's fund raiser. He is told to refuse to accept boxes for the first 10 days and then to accept his full quotient. This year, the school has committed to sell twice as many boxes and Jerry's refusal does not go unnoticed. Brother Leon is adamant that Jerry sell his chocolates. As day 10 approaches, Jerry decides he will continue to refuse the chocolates. This puts him on the outs with both the Vigils and Brother Leon. Will Jerry's stand make a statement or will Jerry decide that it's better to go along with the crowd than to take a stand? Read THE CHOCOLATE WAR to find out.

Booktalk #2

The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier, is a realistic novel that focuses on a freshman outcast named Jerry Renault. Jerry decides that he is tired of following the crowd. As a result, he rebels by refusing to sell chocolates during the schoolwide fundraiser. Jerry's simple refusal ends up having far-reaching, violent and unpleasant effects as it "disturbs the universe" of the seemingly quiet and peaceful parochial school. Jerry's refusal to sell the chocolates shakes up the "powers that be" and he finds he must contend with three groups: the Vigils, a gang that runs the school; Brother Leon, who controls the Vigils; and those who stand by idle, doing nothing to help stop the events that spiral out of control. In a place where the people who are supposed to be protecting are actually the aggressors it is difficult to tell who will get to Jerry first. No matter what the consequences, will Jerry continue to stand up for what he believes in? Does he dare continue to disturb the universe? (Jennifer Adams,

SUBJECTS:     Schools -- Fiction


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