Historical Context

(Novels for Students)

The 1960s/1970s Counterculture
The Chocolate War was written in the early seventies and published in 1974. Its story is told...

(The entire section is 509 words.)


(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Set at a prestigious Catholic high school in New England, The Chocolate War takes place in the late 1960s or early 1970s. Beyond its...

(The entire section is 206 words.)

Literary Qualities

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

The Chocolate War offers a harrowing glimpse into human society and relationships, conveying its powerful message through a wealth of...

(The entire section is 421 words.)

Social Sensitivity

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Controversy has surrounded The Chocolate War since its appearance in the 1970s. Critics, parents, and educators cited its political...

(The entire section is 261 words.)

Bibliography and Further Reading

(Novels for Students)

Norma Bagnall, "Realism How Realistic Is It? A Look at The Chocolate War," in Top of the News, Vol 36, no...

(The entire section is 309 words.)


(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Campbell, Patricia J. Presenting Robert Cormier. Boston: Twayne, 1985.

Coats, Karen. “Abjection and Adolescent Fiction.” JPCS: Journal for the Psychoanalysis of Culture & Society 5 (Fall, 2000): 290-300.

Gallo, Donald R. “Reality and Responsibility: The Continuing Controversy over Robert Cormier’s Books for Young Adults.” In The VOYA Reader. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow, 1990.

Hyde, Margaret O. Robert Cormier. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2005.

Ishandert, Sylvia Patterson. “Readers, Realism, and Robert Cormier.” Children’s Literature 15 (1987): 7-18.

Karolides, Nicholas J., ed. Censored Books, II: Critical Viewpoints, 1985-2000. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow, 2002.

Keeley, Jennifer. Understanding “I Am the Cheese.” San Diego: Lucent, 2001.

Myers, Mitzi. “’No Safe Place to Run To’: An Interview with Robert Cormier.” The Lion and the Unicorn: A Critical Journal of Children’s Literature 24 (September, 2000): 445-464.

Tarr, C. Anita. “The Absence of Moral Agency in Robert Cormier’s The Chocolate War.” Children’s Literature 30 (2002): 96-124.

Veglahn, Nancy. “The Bland Face of Evil in the Novels of Robert Cormier.” The Lion and the Unicorn: A Critical Journal of Children’s Literature 2 (June 12, 1988): 12-18.

Topics for Discussion

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Many readers are disturbed by the conclusion of the novel because it is not a "happy ending." Others claim that it is the only sensible...

(The entire section is 419 words.)

Ideas for Reports and Papers

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Several other well-known and popular novels deal with private schools as reflections of society and human nature. Compare The Chocolate...

(The entire section is 267 words.)

Topics for Further Study

(Novels for Students)

Pretend that you are Brian Cochran, treasurer for the chocolate sale. Design an accounts sheet on which you would be able to record the...

(The entire section is 170 words.)

Related Titles / Adaptations

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

The Chocolate War was adapted to the screen in a 1988 film production directed by Keith Gordon and starring John Glover as Brother...

(The entire section is 77 words.)

Media Adaptations

(Novels for Students)

The film version of The Chocolate War, produced by Jonathan D. Krane and Simon R. Lewis, and directed by Keith Gordon, was released in...

(The entire section is 95 words.)

What Do I Read Next?

(Novels for Students)

I Am the Cheese, Cormier's second young adult novel, published in 1977, is an effective psychological thriller based on the U.S....

(The entire section is 177 words.)

For Further Reference

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Campbell, Patricia. Presenting Robert Cormier. New York: Twayne, 1985. A thorough critical study of Cormier's novels and stories....

(The entire section is 221 words.)