Do I dare disturb the universe(172). With these words Robert Cormier clearly shows his purpose for writing The Chocolate War. He writes it to give insight into the consequences of standing up for what you believe in. Through his portrayal of characters, and plot, Robert Cormier achieves his purpose. Cormier shows what happens to Jerry Renault and his protagonist Archie Costello. Through The Chocolate War Robert Cormier clearly shows his feelings towards conformity and the abuse of power.

The Chocolate War focuses on a freshmen named Jerry Renault, and his problems at Trinity. Trinity is a prestigious school run by Brother Leon, the school headmaster. Brother Leon runs a school chocolate sale every year in the fall and it usually lasts about two months. The vigils are a secret group at Trinity led by Archie Costello. When Jerry refuses to participate in the school chocolate sale the Vigils take offense. As a result the Vigils psychologically and physically destroy Jerry Renault. Because of Jerry's refusal to conform he gets beaten by the school bully.

Robert Cormier shows the consequences of standing up for what you believe in and his feelings towards conformity through his great use of character and plot.

One way in which Cormier achieves his purpose is through his excellent portrayal of character. Through the characters of the novel Cormier sets up the protagonist and the antagonist to make an interesting novel. Cormier's description of his characters sets up a vivid image of the character and also helps the reader to identify with the character.

The main character in The Chocolate War is Jerry Renault. Jerry is the unfortunate young adult who suffers the consequences of standing up for what he believes in. Every morning Brother Leon would read the roll call off and every morning Jerry would reply NO(67). Cormier uses Jerry as the victim of the story, who gets harassed over and over again. He is described as Poor Renault(86). Cormier makes the reader feel sympathy for Jerry Renault and makes it so the reader can identify with the suffering that Jerry is being confronted with. We are made aware that Jerry's Constant refusal to conform gets him nothing but trouble. Through Jerry, Cormier portrays his feelings towards standing up for what you believe in and the consequences of what you might suffer to do that.

Perhaps the most insidious and evil character of them all is Archie Costello. Archie is the assigner of the vigils and was considered very powerful. He plays mind games with people instead of using physical means. People say keep Archie happy, when Archie's happy, we're all happy(14). Cormier uses Archie as the antagonist of the story. Archie gloats on his reputation and abuses his power at Trinity. He sometimes stays up all night thinking up assignments. Archie has influence which he could use over the school and against Jerry Renault(26). Cormier uses Archie Costello as the cause of Jerry Renault's suffering for standing up for what he believes in.

Another character in The Chocolate War who makes Jerry suffer is Brother Leon. Brother Leon abuses his power as the headmaster of the school. Brother Leon is running the school chocolate sale and will do anything to ensure it's success. Brother Leon invested a large sum of money in the chocolates and feels this is the only way for the school to make money. To ensure it's success Brother Leon asks the Vigils to help By getting behind the sale(25). Brother Leon finally convinces Archie Costello to get the Vigils to help. Archie says The vigils will help(27).

Robert Cormier does an excellent job of using character to show his purpose for writing The Chocolate War. He uses very realistic characters that are very easy to relate with especially easy for teen readers. Cormier's books are very stirring, ...probably because his novels are among the relatively few that combine a frank examination of the values and decisions that trouble adolescents...(256)

Another way Cormier achieves his purpose is through plot. Cormier makes the plot so the reader can identify with what is happening. Cormier uses the plot to show the consequences of standing up for what you believe in and to show his feelings towards conformity. Cormier also uses vivid detail throughout the plot to