The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier is a tale of psychological warfare. Jerry Renault is a freshman at Trinity High School. He is a strong willed character, often displaying his own individuality. Though not strong physically, Jerry’s perseverance wins him a spot on the Trinity High School football team, where he befriends Roland Goubert, known as the Goober. Jerry soon becomes a target of The Vigils, Trinity High’s local gang.

            As the assignment maker for The Vigils, Archie tasks Jerry to not participate in the school fundraiser, a chocolate sale, by refusing to sell the chocolates for the first ten days. Archie does this despite that he has promised Brother Leon, an instructor at the school, and someone who’s own deviousness matches that of Archie’s, to help with the chocolate sale by using his The Vigils’ influence with the students. At first the students and Brother Leon are shocked by Jerry’s refusal to participate, however, it soon becomes common knowledge that Jerry is refusing because of his assignment from The Vigils.

However, after his assignment is up, Jerry decides to “Disturb the Universe” by pitting his wits against Archie, the psychopathic mastermind of The Vigils. After the 10th day Jerry continues to refuse to sell the chocolates.

            Despite pressure from The Vigils, Jerry continues to refuse to sell the chocolates and becomes something of a hero amongst the other students. Brother Leon is outraged and accuses Archie of trying to sabotage the sale. In retaliation, and in attempt to coerce Jerry into selling the chocolates, The Vigils begin to bully Jerry constantly. They call at all hours and hang up, they steal his homework, and they make football practice a nightmare for him by getting other members of the team to clobber him. Finally, the bullying culminates in a boxing match pitting Jerry against a much larger and stronger student. In the end, Jerry’s spirit is broken. While waiting for the ambulance after the boxing match he tells Goober “not to disturb the universe”.