Comparing Coming of Age in The Chocolate War and Boy's Life
579 Words3 Pages
Coming of Age in The Chocolate War and Boy's Life
Cory in Boy's Life and Jerry in The Chocolate War are examples of characters in a bildungsroman
Many high school students read coming of age novels, or bildungsromans such as: Kidnapped, The Outsiders, To Kill a Mocking Bird, and many others. What these students, however, do not realize while reading these novels is that the protagonist of the story is growing and changing throughout the novel in many ways. Many of these changes are results of conflicts, which most teens face throughout their lives. In Boys Life, by Robert McCammon, and The
Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier, the male protagonist encounter many conflicts, in which most teens can relate to in everyday life. These two books are examples of bildungsromans because both, Cory and Jerry change throughout the novel because of their mental tests and physical abuses.
The male protagonist, Cory and Jerry, encounter many mental tests, which affect the boy's views on life. The most obvious test which shows this is the dealing with a close one's death. In Boy's Life, Cory shows this best the way he completely changes his views on life and especially faith, when his best friend Davy Ray dies. A good example is when Cory says "I wasn't sure of anything anymore: not life, not afterlife, not God, not goodness." (p454).
Cory begins to understand that he must have faith. In The Chocolate War, when Jerry's mother dies he begins to look at life in a new way wondering if he is wasting away his life. He wonders if he is a part of anything special, or if he is "sleepwalking" through life (p20). He later thinks of this often when he thinks about disturbing the universe. He also shares very little intimacy with his father after his mother's death and looks at him in a different way. When Jerry looks at his father one night, he wonders if his father is wasting away his life with everyday ordinary routines, and if he is turning out to be like his father (p52). The deaths involved in these two books challenge Cory and Jerry's beliefs and help them to grow and to mature into young adults.
Because of the boy's determination, they are challenged in many ways.
This is best shown in The Chocolate War with Jerry's decision not to sell the