Beyond the Chocolate War

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The school year is almost at an end, and the chocolate sale is past history. But no one at Trinity School can forget The Chocolate War. Devious Archie Costello, commander of the secret school organizationcalled the Virgils, stall has some torturous assignments to hand out before he graduates. In spite of this pleasure, Archie is troubled by his right-hand man, Obie, who has started to move away from the Virgils. Luckily Archie knows his stooges will fix that. But won't Archie be shocked when he discovers the surprise Obie has waiting for him? And there are surprises waiting for others. The time for revenge has come to those boys who secretly suffered the trials of Trinity. The fuse is set for the final explosion. Who will survive?
Curriculet Details
81 Questions
83 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in 8th grade, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining theme, characterization, and author’s style. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos about foreshadowing and dramatic irony. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of theme, diction, and points of view. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

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Homework #8

What effect does this first sentence have on you as a reader? Why would Cormier decide to begin the novel in this manner? 
Below is a scale model of a guillotine. Note the "collection" basket. (This annotation contains an image)
What is the setting for this story? 
The highlighted phrase is an example of a literary technique called "foreshadowing." Watch the video below to learn more. Based on this clue, what do you think may happen later in the novel? (This annotation contains a video)

Homework #9

Note that while the first section was told by Ray Bannister, the author has now shifted perspective to Obie. 
Why is Bunting smirking at Obie? 
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently. Is there a word on this page you need to look up? 
This situation where the reader knows how Carter feels about Archie's antics, but Archie and the other Vigils don't, is an example of dramatic irony. Watch the video below to learn more. (This annotation contains a video)
Explain in your own words how Bunting realizes "Archie's power and unpredictability." 
Why do you think Carter doesn't just speak up against Archie? As you continue reading, make note of other examples of characters forced to conform. 
Why would Bunting take Archie's place next year? 
Why do you think Archie is not president of the Vigils? Could he be if he wanted to? 
In the highlighted phrase, Cormier uses a ________ to emphasize the tension of the situation. 
Does it seem suspicious or lucky that Archie has never drawn the black marble? 

Homework #10

Why does Goober plan to transfer schools? 
Notice how the author sets this event apart in its own paragraph. This must mean the phone call is significant. 
The highlighted phrase is an example of which type of figurative language? 

Homework #11

Compare the beginning paragraphs of this section with the paragraphs at the start of the previous section. Which literary device does Cormier use in the previous section to create suspense that he doesn't use here? 
The video below reveals the magic of a stripper deck. (This annotation contains a video)
Which of the following meanings best fits the highlighted phrase? 
The reader knows why Obie is befriending Ray, while Ray doesn't. This is called ________ and creates suspense about what might happen next between the characters. 
We keep hearing allusions to some terrible event that happened at Trinity earlier in the school year. Do you have a hypothesis as to what it could have been?  
Why is "Vigils" an appropriate name for the secret group? 
If you want to read more about the chocolate sale, check out "The Chocolate War," Robert Cormier's novel that precedes this one. Watch the video for the movie trailer below. Then answer the following question.  (This annotation contains a video)
How is the information provided by Obie different from that used in the trailer? 

Homework #12

This section, told from Archie's perspective, starts off with a reference to a boxing match. This signifies that Archie sees the world as 
Why do you think Archie always keeps his emotions in check? 
How does Archie manipulate Brother Leon to make him angry? 
Here we see evidence of another central idea in this novel--conformity. As you continue reading, note what happens to characters who do not conform to the desires of those in power. 
How are Brother Leon and Archie similar? 
Do Archie's thoughts apply to more than just Brother Leon? 

Homework #13

The highlighted phrase is an example of which type of figurative language? 
Why doesn't Obie just admit to Laurie that he wants their physical relationship to have limits? 
What is Ray's role in Archie's new assignment? 

Homework #14

Do you think people in your school sometimes feel like no one really knows them, that they are more complex than their reputation? Have you ever felt this way? 
What does Obie's initial reaction to Carter's plan indicate? 
Why is Carter telling himself that his accomplishments will live on at Trinity? What might he be worried about? 

Homework #15

What effect does this simile have on your understanding of the tone of Jerry's response? 
Why would Jerry appear interested in a place that had caused him so much pain? 
What detail indicates the tension of this scene? 

Homework #16

Notice how Cormier likes to start chapters by leaving the reader guessing exactly what's happening. 
For whom is the mass being held? 
Why would Archie have Bunting spy on Obie and his girlfriend? 
How are Archie and Edmund similar? 
Visit the link below to read about a Shakespearean villain, Edmund, from the play "King Lear." Then answer the question that follows.  (This annotation contains a link)
Notice how Cormier highlights the darkness and seriousness of the boys' conversation by setting it against the backdrop of innocent, everyday high school activities. 

Homework #17

David Caroni plans to 
Teen suicide is a growing problem. If you or anyone you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Watch the video below to learn more about preventing teen suicide.  (This annotation contains a video)
Why has David decided not to kill himself yet? 

Homework #18

Who sent the letter to Brother Leon? 
Again we see more evidence of Archie's perspective that life is a series of battles. 
Visit this link to read about sociopathic behavior. Pay attention to how the text is structured. Then answer the following question. (This annotation contains a link)
How does the narrative of the novel, specifically the parts about Archie's character, illustrate the numbered points on the website defining sociopathy?  
Who do you think "won" this confrontation, Archie or Brother Leon? 

Homework #19

The highlighted phrase is an example of which type of figurative language? 
If students at other schools know about the Vigils and Archie, is it possible parents don't know? And if they do, why don't they do anything about it? 
Quiz #1 

Homework #21

Remember that Harley and Cornacchio are the other two sophomore members of the Vigils. 
The nightmare shows that Archie is preoccupied with 
It's interesting to see that Archie still has some limits on the behavior he finds acceptable. 
Which word is the best synonym for "stew" in this context? 

Homework #22

In the highlighted phrase, anger is being given human qualities. This is a type of figurative language known as "personification." Watch the video below to learn more. (This annotation contains a video)
What does Laurie do to indicate she's done with Obie? 

Homework #23

Here we finally get the last piece of the puzzle of all the terrible events that happened at Trinity earlier in the year and are still impacting the characters' behaviors. 
This paragraph is evidence for which of the following themes? 

Homework #24

Unlike the made up town of Monument, Saint-Antoine-sur-Richelieu is a real city in Quebec, Canada. See the map below for its location, just north of New England. (This annotation contains an image)
Why did Jerry enjoy spending time in the church? 
Do you think the Goober is right to feel responsible for what happened to Jerry? 

Homework #25

Explain how Archie is manipulating Tubs in this conversation. 
Obie is calling from a payphone like the one pictured below. Users deposit coins in the slot at the top and are then able to dial a phone number. Callers can talk for about four minutes before having to deposit more money. (This annotation contains an image)
Cormier creates suspense by letting the reader know why Archie has called the meeting, but he hasn't told the main characters. This is called 
Why does Tubs feel compelled to tell Archie what he wants to know? 
The author uses a _______ to describe Archie's tone of voice. 
Do you think Carter's acting fooled Archie? 
What clues convince Archie of Carter's guilt? 

Homework #26

Each section of the novel starts off in a different character's perspective. What effect does that have on a reader's understanding of events? 
Obie is experiencing the same emotion that makes people want to slow down to look at car accidents or watch reality TV-- when we know it's terrible but we can't stop watching. This concept is known as "schadenfreude," meaning we take pleasure in the problems or misfortunes of others.  
Which of the following words or phrases helps create excitement in the description of the cabbage test? 
Do you think Obie's anger over what happened at the Chasm and his concern for Laurie are appropriate, or does he go too far and become creepy? 
Why does Obie awaken so abruptly? 

Homework #27

Why is Carter so nervous? 
Why is Carter so sure that it is Archie on the phone? 

Homework #28

Who is David Caroni? 
Ah, here we see that the initial scene was just someone's imagination!  
This is rather mysterious and sinister. What do you make of it?  
The highlighted phrase is an example of which type of figurative language? 

Homework #29

Do you think it's realistic for Obie to find the shoe from his dream among all the students at Trinity? 

Homework #30

Do you think this is as close as Archie can get to feeling real affection for someone? 
Archie prefers to call this girl by her last name. What does this tell you about him? 
What has damaged Archie to the point where he can't find real happiness? 

Homework #31

Why would Goober be "guarded" and "tentative" in his response to Jerry? 
Notice how Goober's tone of voice changes now that he feels absolved of most of his guilt by Jerry. 
Why would Jerry be "weak with relief" after talking with Goober? 

Homework #32

Why is it ironic that Obie tails his possible attacker to Room Nineteen? 
What do you think Obie plans to do to Cornacchio? 

Homework #33

Why does the Goober suggest they take a rest? 
Do you think if he had to do it all over again Jerry would make the same decision not to sell the chocolates? 
These are lines from a poem called "The Laws of God, the Laws of Man" by A. E. Housman. Watch and read the full poem here. (This annotation contains a video)
How does the poem apply to Jerry? 
Jerry's resolve not to disturb the universe is an example of the theme of 

Homework #34

Are you surprised that Obie asked Janza for help? This is another indication of how strongly Obie feels about the attack. 
Why does Janza's presence signal to Cornacchio the reason for Obie confronting him? 
Which literary device does Cormier use to describe Obie's reaction? 
Do you feel sorry for Obie, or has he gotten what he deserves after working for the Vigils for so long? 
Quiz 2 

Homework #36

Do you think Archie is right to be concerned about Obie's plans? 
Which type of figurative language does Cormier use to describe the storm in the highlighted section? 
Have you ever broken up with someone? Does this conversation sound realistic? 
How much of Obie's analysis of the highlighted situation is true? What did happen? 
Obie is sounding just as unbalanced as David Caroni. 

Homework #37

Archie's reaction to Obie's news is an example of the central idea of 
Why would Obie feel tense, like he's walking a tightrope? 
Why is the Goober so determined to "do the right thing"? 
Can you predict what Obie's revenge plan for Archie will be? 
The highlighted phrase is an example of which type of figurative language? 
Why do you think Jerry isn't more alarmed at Janza's presence? 
What does Jerry miss most about Canada? 
What does it mean that "Carter would head for the hills if he knew the plan"? 
Why would Cormier compare the sound of Carter slapping the dashboard to a gunshot, when there are so many other loud noises he could have used? 
What is the significance of replacing evidence of Carter's accomplishments with a toilet ashtray? 
How do Obie's preparations for Skit Night create suspense? 

Homework #38

Oh, no. This can't be good for anyone. 
Archie making Bunting's appointment as Assigner conditional on his acceptance of Janza as his right arm is an example of the central idea of 
Do you believe Archie? 

Homework #39

Why does Carter finally admit that he told Brother Leon about the plan to ruin the Bishop's visit? 
So much for standing up with Obie against Archie. Notice that what got Carter into trouble in the first place was a perceived act of treachery, although that was not Carter's intent. But now, he is purposefully planning to double-cross Obie, thus becoming what he was trying to avoid in the first place. 

Homework #40

From whom did Obie learn this sleight of hand? 
Why would Tubs think that enjoying himself is more terrible than anything? 
What types of figurative language does Cormier use to describe this pivotal moment with the marble? 

Homework #41

What words does Cormier choose to show how dangerous Janza is? 
Uh-oh! Janza knew they were there the whole time. 
Why is the Goober unable to help Jerry? 
What does Jerry mean when he tells Janza, "I am hitting back"? 
How do you think Jerry's dad will react when he sees that his son has been beaten up again? 
Notice how Jerry's philosophy is the opposite of what we read in so many other young adult novels, where the hero/heroine is always standing up to injustice and fighting back against authority. Why do you think Cormier chose this path for his novel to take? Why not have Jerry and Goober beat up Emile Janza and teach him a lesson once and for all? Why not have Archie meet his match and suffer for what he's done? 
Why does Jerry returning to Trinity mean the Goober has to return as well? 
Notice how both Jerry and the Goober are planning to end the friendship, but neither knows the other's intentions. 

Homework #42

Explain how Archie became the Fool. 
Why do you think Bracken even pretended to try to dunk Archie? Why will none of the other students try to dunk him? 

Homework #43

Why is Caroni there? 
To what extent is it realistic for a student to go berserk and try to kill a teacher over a bad grade? Have you ever argued with a teacher over a grade? 
Caroni finally confronting Brother Leon about his grades is an example of which theme? 
Brother Leon is almost as good at manipulating people as Archie. 

Homework #44

The highlighted simile creates what type of mood? 
Why is Obie really acting so strangely? What is he planning? 
What does Ray think Obie might be planning? 
What probably happened to Boudreau? 
Why would Cormier introduce a totally new character at this point in the novel? 
List three details that indicate a mood of tension and anticipation in the highlighted section. 
The highlighted phrase means "the best or most important thing or event." 
The highlighted phrase is an example of which type of figurative language? 
Notice how Cormier shifts perspectives throughout the story. The magic show starts with some of Ray's thoughts, then shifts to Obie's, then back to Ray's. This shifting perspective is possible because of the point of view in which the story is told. Watch the video below about point of view.  (This annotation contains a video)
Notice how Cormier ends on a cliffhanger to keep the reader in suspense. 

Homework #45

What is David Caroni planning to do? 
Notice how Caroni doesn't regret his decision until it's too late. Is Cormier's description of Caroni's last moments an effective way to illustrate the futility and finality of suicide? 

Homework #46

Can Archie really be so clueless or self-involved that he doesn't recognize the hatred with which most students regard him? 
What was Obie expecting to happen? 
This is an interesting parallel to Jerry Renault's realization that "you can look like a loser but don't have to be one." 
How did Archie avoid getting the black marble all those times? 
Is Archie really right or is he just deftly manipulating Obie once again? 
Cormier chooses to make his villain, Archie, a Catholic school boy. What effect does this juxtaposition of evil (Archie) and good (church) have on the reader's understanding of the text? 

Homework #48

Who does know what the "poor tortured boy meant"? 
Is it fair for Brother Leon to blame the entire student body for David's suicide? 
Who throws the tomato? 

Homework #49

The highlighted similes indicate that Bunting sees Janza as  
Ah, here we see that these increasingly criminal plans are all Archie's idea. 
Quiz 3