The Chocolate War Why would a person decide to betray the beliefs they had fought so hard for? In Robert Cormier novel The Chocolate War, the character of Jerry Renault changes drastically from a rebel to a follower in the end. The school gang known as the vigils and his moral beliefs motivates Jerry's actions. He feels he must take a stand against evil. Jerry can be considered a hero because of his beliefs. In the end however he gives in to the things he fought against and becomes a follower. There are many factors that cause Jerry to act the way he does.
The main reason is he forced by the vigils to refuse the chocolates. 'When he returned to the school after practice, he found a letter scotch-taped to the door of his locker. A summons from the vigils. Subject: Assignment.' (Cormier 62) He is now forced to refuse the school chocolate sale.
He now has to face Brother Leon and tell him no which soon gives him insight in to the teachers' feelings. 'His eyes gave him away. His face was always under control but his eyes showed his vulnerability.' (Cormier 92) Jerry realizes that Brother Leon is struggling with the candy sale and that he is trying to hide his anger for Jerry's' refusal. Jerry knows Brother Leon's hate for him and his fear of failure with the chocolate sale.
'He had met Brother Leon in the corridor late one afternoon after football practice and had seen hate flashing in the teachers eyes. More than hate: something sick.' (Cormier 92) Jerry knows that Leon hates him for refusing the chocolates but he doesn't want to give into Leon and take the chocolates. This is what motivates Jerry to become a rebel Webster's dictionary defines a hero as any man admired for his courage, qualities or exploits, especially in war. Some people attribute the term hero mostly to war. My personal definition of a hero is someone who takes a stand against evil or an unjust cause. The term hero can be applied to anyone, it isn't necessary to save the world from explosion to be a hero.
The act of standing up for a friend can also be called a heroic act. The character of Jerry Renault can easily be classified as a hero in my opinion. Jerry stands up for what he believes is right and says no to Brother Leon. This is a courageous act and despite what people say he continues his fight. This is what makes him a hero, his dedication to his cause.
Jerry's outlook changes when he realizes he can't get away with saying no. He knows that he cannot refuse the chocolates without upsetting the whole school. He comes to this realization after he is beaten up by another student and is hated by nearly the whole school. After the fight Jerry tells his friend Goober that it isn't worth it that you should so what the school wants you to do and not disturb things. Jerry's' change of heart comes when he realizes he cant change the school.