In "The Chocolate War," why does Goober empathize with Jerry but never do anything to intervene? What might Cormier be saying about human nature and the desire to conform or not conform?

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ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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On page 76, "Goober was a peaceful figure.  He hated strain, contention.  Peace, let's have peace."  Then at the end of the story, on pg. 150  "he found himself sinking back into the shadows, as if he could shrivel in to invisibility.  He didn't want trouble.  he'd had enough trouble, and he had held on.  But he kniew his days at Trinity would be numbered if he walked into that group of jubilant guys and told them to erase the fifty beside his name.'Cormier makes a strong point here about how strong the human desire is to "fit in."  Goober knew that he should step up and be honest, but he just couldn't summon the courage to stand up against the whole school for his ideals.  The desire to survive and remain a conformist was too strong. "The Goober" who, as a silent and secret act of solidarity with Jerry, has stopped selling chocolates after twenty-seven boxes. When he is falsely announced as having reached his quota he shrinks away without saying anything: "He willed himself to feel nothing. He didn't feel rotten. He didn't feel like a traitor. He didn't feel small and cowardly." Cormier, however, does intend the reader to see cowardice and treachery in both the individual and group behavior."

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