What is the real reason the kids sell chocolate in The Chocolate War?
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier is a book about a boys' high school. Each year, the boys are encouraged to sell chocolates as a school fundraiser.
One year, freshman Jerry Renault refuses to sell any chocolate. The action prompts violence both from the other students and even from the teachers.
The short answer to your question, "Why do the kids sell chocolates?" is because they are encouraged to sell chocolates by their teachers in order to help with costs of the school.
However, the novel explores the fact that it's a lot more complicated than it seems.
When Jerry first refuses to sell chocolates, it's because of a dare given to him by a group of students who call themselves the Vigils. They often select students to carry out assignments or pranks against the teachers.
However, when Jerry refuses the chocolates, he is also standing against the structure that's been set out for him. He doesn't want to be a mindless follower like the other students or go through life in a trance like his dad does.
He stops selling chocolates and continues not to sell chocolates, long after his assignment is over because he doesn't want to conform. His rebellion gives him a greater sense of choice and power in his own life.
So, you could say that the other students do sell the chocolates because it's easier to conform than to stand against the expectations that have been placed on them.
Although selling chocolates is optional, it's also expected, and it's much easier and safer to follow expectations than to rock the boat the way Jerry Renault did.