[New York, New York]: Random House Children's Books, A high school freshman discovers the devastating consequences of refusing to join in the school's annual fund raising drive and arousing the wrath of the school bullies. Add tags for "The chocolate war". ______ __ THE CHOCOLATE WAR ROBET CORMIER ______ This one's for my son, Peter. With love. __________CHAPTER ON. Editorial Reviews. stocuntutensa.tk Review. Does Jerry Renault dare to disturb the universe? You wouldn't think that his refusal to sell chocolates during his.
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Read "The Chocolate War" by Robert Cormier available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get $5 off your first download. One of the most. One of the most controversial YA novels of all time, The Chocolate War is a modern masterpiece that speaks to fans of S. E. Hinton's The I picked this up from the library's ebook service and was quite surprised to see that it. When Jerry refuses to be bullied into selling chocolates, he becomes a hero, but his I picked this up from the library's ebook service and was quite surprised to.
People also trash-talk it because they think it gives Catholic school, and school in general, a bad rap. Cormier got kind of tired of defending the book, but he continued to do so throughout his life. He argued that teens aren't "looking for titillation, they're looking for validity. You don't dwell on it" source. Sex, violence, and the occasional evil teacher are part of teens' real lives, and Cormier wasn't going to pretend otherwise.
To create the novel, Cormier drew on his own high school experiences in Leominster, Massachusetts, where he lived all his life. Apparently, he remembered his days of teen angst well. We caught him bragging in an interview. He said, "It's not as if I sit at the typewriter and say, 'How does a kid feel? In case he forgot, his son, Peter, could remind him. In fact, the direct inspiration for the novel came from Peter, who refused to participate in a candy sale at his Catholic high school.
So, does Cormier really get teens? Do his characters talk in a believable way, like he argued? Is high school really this bad? Check out the book, and see what you think. We don't need no education We don't need no thought control No dark sarcasm in the classroom Teachers leave them kids alone Hey! There are no rich men's sons here.
Take yourself, for instance. Your father operates an insurance agency. He makes a good salary but he's hardly wealthy, is he? Take Tommy Desjardins. His father's a dentist--very well off, they have two cars, a summer home and that's about tops for the parents of Trinity boys. It irritated him when grownups resorted to student language like put down. We have to find revenue wherever possible.
Football barely pays for itself we haven't had a winning season for three years. The interest in boxing has fallen off now that television doesn't feature boxing anymore The school was hushed around them, so hushed that Archie wondered whether the office was soundproof.
Classes were over for the day, of 12 course, but that was the time when a lot of other action got started. Particularly Vigil action. He's scheduled to enter the hospital tomorrow. Tests and things. The outlook isn't good Was he going to make a ridiculous pitch for the chocolate sale to be a success in honor of the sick Headmaster?
The school will be my responsibility. But this time Archie felt a waiting in the silence. He had a feeling that Leon was about to make his point. He knew now why he was here. Leon didn't mean Archie's help he meant the help of The Vigils. And didn't dare put in into words. No one was allowed to breathe a word about The Vigils. Officially, The Vigils did not exist. How could a school condone an organization like The Vigils?
The school allowed it to function by ignoring it completely, pretending it wasn't there. But it was there, all right, Archie thought bitterly. It was there because it served a purpose. The Vigils kept things under control. Without The Vigils, Trinity might have been torn apart like other schools had been, by demonstrations, protests, all that crap.
Archie was surprised by Leon's audacity, knowing his connection with The Vigils and bringing him in here this way. As you said, Archie twenty thousand boxes, that's a lot of chocolates. The school always gives the boys a bonus. A day off from school when every chocolate has been sold. Last year we were taken to Boston to a stage show. Archie let the silence stretch. Archie decided to plunge. To see how far he could go.
I'm just one guy. He was cool. In command. Let Leon sweat. Archie was sweet and cool. I'm not a member of the Student Council. The beads of perspiration still danced on his forehead but he had become stiff and cold.
Archie could feel the coldness more than cold, an icy hate coming across the desk like a deadly ray from some bleak and lethal planet. Have I gone too far, he wondered. I've got this guy for algebra, my weakest subject.
Their eyes met, held. A showdown now? At this moment? Would that be the smart thing to do? Archie believed in always doing the smart thing. Not the thing you ached to do, not the impulsive act, but the thing that would pay off later.
That's why he was The Assigner. That's why The Vigils depended on him. Hell, The Vigils were the school. And he, Archie Costello, was The Vigils. That's why Leon had called him here, that's why Leon was practically begging for his help.
Archie suddenly had a terrific craving for a Hershey. Leon could be like money in the bank, for future use. And it hung. Leon didn't pick it up. Neither did Archie. They looked at each other for a long moment. He had never been able to use those words The Vigils aloud to a teacher, had had to deny the existence of the organization for so long that it was beautiful to use them, to see the surprise on Leon's pale perspiring face.
Then he pushed back his chair and left the office without waiting for the teacher's dismissal. Yes, what? But the kid Goubert stammered and then said, "Yes, sir. Despite his height, he was easily six one, he reminded Archie of a child, someone who didn't belong here, as if he'd been caught sneaking into an Adults Only movie.
He was too skinny, of course. And he had the look of a loser. Vigil bait. Archie was always puzzled about whatever there was inside of him that enjoyed these performances toying with kids, leading them on, humiliating them, finally. He'd earned the job of Assigner because. But something more than that, something nobody could find words to describe. Archie knew what it was and recognized it, although it eluded a definition.
One night while watching an old Marx Brothers movie on the Late Show, he was held entranced by a scene where the brothers were searching for a missing painting.
Groucho said, "We'll search every room in the house. That's what Archie did built the house nobody could anticipate a need for, except himself, a house that was invisible to everyone else. He always treated them with tenderness, as if a bond existed between them.
Someone snickered. Archie stiffened, shot a look at Carter, a withering look that said, tell them to cut the crap. Carter snapped his fingers, which sounded in the quiet storage room like the banging of a gavel.
The Vigils were grouped as usual in a circle around Archie and the kid receiving the assignment. The small room behind the gym was windowless with only one door leading to the gymnasium itself: The silence was deafening after the snap of Carter's fingers.
Nobody fooled around with Carter. Carter was the president of The Vigils because the president was always a football player the muscle someone like Archie needed. But 15 everyone knew that the head of The Vigils was The Assigner, Archie Costello, who was always one step ahead of them all. The Goober looked frightened. He was one of those kids who always wanted to please everybody.
The guy who never got the girl but worshipped her in secret while the big shot hero rode off in the sunset with her in the end. Archie let it gather. He could feel a heightening of interest in the room. It always happened this way when an assignment was about to be given. He knew what they were thinking what's Archie come up with this time?
Sometimes Archie resented them. The members of The Vigils did nothing but enforce the rules. Carter was muscle and Obie an errand boy. Archie alone was always under pressure, devising the assignments, working them out.
As if he was some kind of machine. Press a button: What did they know about the agonies of it all? The nights he tossed and turned? The times he felt used up, empty? And yet he couldn't deny that he exulted in moments like this, the guys leaning forward in anticipation, the mystery that surrounded them all, the kid Goober white-faced and frightened, the place so quiet you could almost hear your own heartbeat.
And all eyes on him: My father. He has a tool chest. Know what they use screwdrivers for, Goober? I mean, to put screws into things. And Archie let it pass. A relief to the tension. Not really lousy, though. Great; in fact. Beautiful, in fact. Worth all the sweat. Room nineteen. Second floor. Afternoon, evening, all night, if necessary.
The brothers, most of them, the ones who count, will be off to a conference at Provincial headquarters in Maine. The janitor is taking a day off. There'll be no one in the building after three in the afternoon. No one but you, Goober. You and your screwdriver. The chairs, the desks, the blackboards. Now, with your little screwdriver--maybe you'd better bring along various and assorted sizes, just in case you start to loosen. Don't take out the screws. Just loosen them until they reach that point where they're almost ready to fall out, everything hanging there by a thread Then, others joined in the laughter as they envisioned the result of the assignment.
Archie let himself be caressed by the laughter of admiration, knowing that he'd scored again. They were always waiting for him to fail, to fall flat on his face, but he'd scored once more. There's a lot of desks and chairs in there. We guarantee you won't be disturbed. The Goober nodded, accepting the assignment like a sentence of doom, the way all the others did, knowing there was no way out, no reprieve, no appeal.
The law of The Vigils was final, everyone at Trinity knew that. Somebody whispered, "Wow. But a different kind of tension. Tension with teeth in it. For Archie. He braced himself. Reaching under the abandoned teacher's desk he sat behind as presiding officer, Carter pulled out a small black box. He shook it and the sound of marbles could be heard clicking together inside. Obie came forward, holding a key in his hand.
Was that a smile on Obie's face? Archie couldn't be sure. He wondered, does Obie really hate me? Do they all hate me?
Not that it mattered. Not while Archie held the power. He would conquer all, even the black box. Carter took the key from Obie and held it up. The black box was his nemesis. It contained six marbles: It was an ingenious idea thought up by someone long before Archie's time, someone who was wise enough or a bastard enough to realize that an assigner could go off the deep end if there wasn't some kind of control.
The box provided the control. After every assignment, it was presented to Archie. If Archie drew a white marble, the assignment stood as ordered. If Archie drew the black marble, it would be necessary for Archie himself to carry out the assignment, to perform the duty he had assigned for others. He had beaten the black box for three years could he do it again? Or was his luck running out? Would the law of averages catch up to him?
A tremor ran along his arm as he extended his hand toward the box. He hoped no one had noticed. Reaching inside, he grabbed a marble, concealed it in the palm of his hand. He withdrew his hand, held the arm straight out, calmly now, without shiver or tremor. He opened his hand. The marble was white. The corner of Archie's mouth twitched as the tension of his body relaxed.
He had beaten them again. He had won again. I am Archie. I cannot lose. Carter snapped his fingers and the meeting began to break up. Suddenly, Archie felt empty, used up, discarded. He looked at the kid Goober who stood there in bewilderment, looking as if he were going to cry. Archie almost felt sorry for the kid.
But not quite. Jerry knew the symptoms--all the guys knew them. Most of them were freshmen and had been in Leon's class only a month or so but the teacher's pattern had already emerged.
First, Leon gave them a reading assignment. Then he'd pace up and down, up and down, restless, sighing, wandering through the aisles, the blackboard pointer poised in his hand, the pointer he used either like a conductor's baton or a musketeer's sword.
He'd use the tip to push around a book on a desk or to flick a kid's necktie, scratching gently down some guy's back, poking the pointer as if he were a rubbish collector picking his way through the debris of the classroom.
One day, the pointer had rested on Jerry's head for a moment, and then passed on. Unaccountably, Jerry had shivered, as if he had just escaped some terrible fate. Now, aware of Leon prowling ceaselessly around the classroom, Jerry kept his eyes on paper although he didn't feel like reading. Two more periods. He looked forward to football practice.
After days of calisthenics, the coach had said that probably he'd let them use the ball this afternoon. Using words like crap and bull and slipping in a few damns and hells once in a while. Actually, he did shock. Maybe because the words were so startling as they issued from this pale and inoffensive looking little man. Later on, you found out that he wasn't inoffensive, of course. Now, everyone looked up at Leon as that word crap echoed in the room. Ten minutes left time enough for Leon to perform, to play one of his games.
The class looked at him in a kind of horrible fascination. The brother's glance went slowly around the room, like the ray of a lighthouse sweeping a familiar coast, searching for hidden defects. Jerry felt a sense of dread and anticipation, both at the same time.
Bailey went quietly to the front of the room. Jerry could see a vein throbbing in the boy's temple. A line must be drawn between teachers and students. We teachers would love to be one of the boys, of course. But that line of separation must remain.
An invisible line, perhaps, but still there. You 19 see its handiwork, bending the trees, stirring the leaves The boy leaped backward in pain and surprise. Had it been an accident? Or another of Leon's little cruelties?
Now all eyes were on the stricken Bailey. Brother Leon studied him, looking at him as if he were a specimen under a microscope, as if the specimen contained the germ of some deadly disease. You had to hand it to Leon he was a superb actor. He loved to read short stories aloud, taking all the parts, providing all the sound effects.
Nobody yawned or fell asleep in Leon's class. You had to be alert every minute, just as everyone was alert now, looking at Bailey, wondering what Leon's next move would be. Under Leon's steady gaze, Bailey had stopped stroking his cheek, even though a pink welt had appeared, like an evil stain spreading on his flesh. Somehow, the tables were turned. Now it seemed as if Bailey had been at fault all along, that Bailey had committed an error, had stood in the wrong place at the wrong time and had caused his own misfortune.
Jerry squirmed in his chair. Leon gave him the creeps, the way he could change the atmosphere in a room without even speaking a word. But not looking at Bailey, looking at the class as if they were all in on a joke that Bailey knew nothing about. As if the class and Leon were banded together in a secret conspiracy. A pause. The noise comes after the flash, after the silence.
That's the kind of silence that blazed in the classroom now. Bailey stood speechless, his mouth an open wound. Bailey shook his head frantically. Jerry felt his own head shaking, joining Bailey in silent denial. Your marks all A's, no less. Every test, every paper, every homework assignment. Only a genius is capable of that sort of performance. Do you claim to be a genius, Bailey? And it came. They laughed.
Hey, what's going on here, Jerry wondered even as he laughed with them. Because Bailey did somehow look like a genius or at least a caricature of the mad scientists in old movies.
Bailey stood alone at the front of the class, as if he was facing a firing squad. Jerry felt his cheeks getting warm, throbbing with the warmth. All those A's that implies perfection. Is that the answer, Bailey? And his lungs burned. He realized he'd been holding his breath. He gulped air, carefully, not wanting to move a muscle. He wished he was invisible. He wished he wasn't here in the classroom.
He wanted to be out on the football field, fading back, looking for a receiver. The class was utterly silent. Jerry could hear the hum of the electric clock he'd never realized before that electric clocks hummed. And, of course, you're not.
He could taste the hate in his 21 stomach it was acid, foul, burning. And a liar. You rat, Jerry thought. You bastard. A voice boomed from the rear of the classroom. The bell rang, ending the period. Feet scuffled as the boys pushed back their chairs, preparing to leave, to get out of that terrible place. Softly but heard by everyone. Brother Leon regarded them pityingly, shaking his head, a sad and dismal smile on his lips. Do you know who's the best one here? The bravest of all?
He denied cheating. He stood up to my accusations. He stood his ground! But you, gentlemen, you sat there and enjoyed yourselves. And those of you who didn't enjoy yourselves allowed it to happen, allowed me to proceed. You turned this classroom into Nazi Germany for a few moments.
Yes, yes, someone finally protested. Aw, let the kid alone. Leon ignored the noise. He turned to Bailey, touched the top of his head with the pointer as if he were bestowing knighthood.
I'm proud of you. You passed the biggest test of all you were true to yourself. He gestured toward the class he was a great one for gestures. They're the cheaters. They cheated you today. They're the ones who doubted you I never did. The amusement was there because it was obvious what Emile Janza was doing he was siphoning gas from a car, watching it flow into a glass jug.
Emile giggled. He, too, was amused that Archie should have discovered him performing such an act. The car, parked at the far end of the school's parking lot, belonged to a senior by the name of Carlson. Emile didn't bother to reply.
He grinned knowingly at Archie. Carlson wouldn't do anything about it at all. He was a thin, mild kid who hated getting involved in messes. Not too many people defied Emile Janza, anyway, whether they were fat or skinny, mild or not.
Emile was a brute which was kind of funny because he didn't look like a brute.
He wasn't big or overly strong. In fact, he was small for a tackle on the football team. But he was an animal and he didn't play by the rules. Not if he could help it. His small eyes were imbedded in pale flesh, eyes that seldom smiled despite the giggle and the grin that sometimes flashed across his face, especially when he knew he was reaching people.
That's what Emile Janza called it reaching people. Like whistling softly in class so that it got on the teacher's nerves, a barely perceptible whistle that could drive a teacher up the wall. That's why Emile Janza reversed the usual process.
Wise guys usually sat in back. Emile didn't. He chose seats near the front where he'd be in better position to harass the teacher.
Whistling, grunting, belching, tapping his foot, stirring restlessly, sniffling. Hell, if you did that kind of stuff from the back of the room the teacher wouldn't notice.
But Emile didn't harass only teachers. He found that the world was full of willing victims, especially kids his own age. He had discovered a truth early in life--in the fourth grade, in fact. Nobody wanted trouble, nobody wanted to make trouble, nobody wanted a showdown.
The knowledge was a revelation. It opened doors. You could take a kid's lunch or even his lunch money and nothing usually happened because most kids wanted peace at any price. Of course, you have to choose your victims carefully because there were exceptions. Those who protested found that it was easier to let Emile have his way. Who wanted to get hurt? Later, Emile stumbled upon another truth, although it was hard to put into words.
He found that people had a fear of being embarrassed or humiliated, of being singled out for special attention. Like in a bus. You could call out to a kid, especially one who blushes easily, and say, "Jeez, you got bad breath, know that? Don't you ever brush your teeth? What a dirty thing to do. Stuff like that in the cafeteria, during lunch, in study class: But it was better in public places, with strabgers nearby, especially girls. That's when the kids squirmed. As a result, people went around being extra nice to Emile Janza.
And Emile basked in that treatment. Emile was not stupid but he was not exactly bright in class. However, he managed to squeak by no F's, only a couple of D's, all of which satisfied his father whom Emile regarded as stupid and whose major dream was to have his son graduate from a fancy private school like Trinity.
His father didn't know how cruddy the place was. He was never sure whether Archie Costello was serious or not. Emile never fooled around with Archie. In fact, Archie was one of the few people in the world Emile respected. Maybe even feared.
Archie and The Vigils. Who else would siphon gas in the middle of the day?
Out in the open like this? He wished he could share with Archie some of the other stuff. But he couldn't. What makes his works unique is his ability to make evil behavior understandable, though, of course, still evil. And the obvious abuse of authority. He visited nearly every state in the nation.
While Cormier loved to travel, he said many times that he also loved returning to his home in Leominster.
Cormier was a practicing Catholic and attended parochial school, where in seventh grade, one of his teachers discovered his ability to write. But he said he had always wanted to be a writer: His professor, Florence Conlon, sent his short story, without his knowledge, to The Sign, a national Catholic magazine.
In , he began his award-winning career as a newspaperman with the Worcester Telegram, first in its Leominster office and later in its Fitchburg office. In , Cormier joined the staff of the Fitchburg Sentinel, which later became the Fitchburg-Leominster Sentinel and Enterprise, as the city hall and political reporter.
He later served as wire and associate editor and wrote a popular twice-weekly column under the pseudonym John Fitch IV. The column received the national K. Thomason Award in as the best human-interest column written that year.
That same year, he was honored by the New England Associated Press Association for having written the best news story under pressure of deadline. He left newspaper work in to devote all his time to writing.