The Chocolate War

negative action in the chocolate war

why is the "hero" of the novel required to take negative action, by NOT selling chocolates, as opposed to positive action?

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The larger parable of the book The Chocolate War is related to how individuals need to challenge fundamentalist or fascist regimes (think the Nazis or other "mob rule" governments). By taking negative action, in this case refusing to participate in an activity that he deems morally wrong, Jerry is setting a larger example for everyone by essentially showing that an individual can and should resist oppression when it is wrong.

However, Cormier shows that such defiance does not go unpunished by the larger community, many of whom have a vested interest in preserving the status quo. That is clearly seen in the final chapters in the fight scene, where Jerry is ultimately beaten to a pulp while Brother Leon looks on from the hill. The novel ends without a clear resolution, other than the hope that others will take Jerry's lead and refuse to participate in the chocolate sales the next year.