Ideas for Reports and Papers

1. Several other well-known and popular novels deal with private schools as reflections of society and human nature. Compare The Chocolate War with The Catcher in the Rye or A Separate Peace.

2. The Iran-contra political scandal of 1987 demonstrates that the problems of the 1970s may still be part of the American political landscape. Write an essay comparing the Characters in The Chocolate War to the figures in the scandal, or compare the actions and explanations each group used to justify its decisions.

3. Cormier obviously believes that Characters such as Archie and Carter will leave Trinity and become part of other institutions. Choose one character and project him into the future. What will his future be like and what danger, if any, will he represent to society?

4. Imagine an entire society governed by the Vigils. Describe in detail what that society would be like.

5. Jerry Renault’s act of defiance is similar to many that have taken place in history when one person stood up to an entire system. Report on a famous individual whose conscience motivated him or her to act against almost impossible odds. Compare the results of this action with Jerry’s in the novel.

6. Critics have admired Cormier’s use of simile and metaphor in The Chocolate War, particularly because they provide revealing insights into theme and character. Find several of these and explain what we learn from them.

7. Some critics claim that The Chocolate War is an allegory and that each of the Vigil leaders represents a specific part of the establishment in American society. Identify these institutions and explain how each of the Characters embodies their characteristics.

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