Jerry Renault in The Chocolate War appears to be “going with the flow”—trying out for football, checking out girls—but his inner character drives him to differ. He fights to grasp his feelings and lacks self-confidence when he needs it most. As Jerry begins to unearth his inner-self, other obstacles and ideas dealing with certain emotions arise. As he progresses and reaches a level of comprehension, he grows closer to his goal—a sense of self-rule.
Jerry seems to be a typical freshman, in a period of experimentation—trying out for the team, dreaming about girls, reading “girlie magazines,” but he also appears to be a dazed and confused one. He is “stunned by his mother’s recent death and by the way his father sleepwalks through life.” Jerry is experiencing an identity crisis and needs some self loyalty which can only be gained by reaching a level of understanding of himself and his feelings.
Later, preparing for bed and sleep, Jerry looked at himself in the mirror, saw himself as that guy on the Common must have seen him the other day: Square Boy. Just as he had superimposed his mother’s image on his father’s face, now he could see his father’s face reflected in his own features. He turned away. He didn’t want to be a mirror image of his father. The thought made him cringe. I want to do something, be somebody. But what? But what? (p.53)
As Jerry continues to search for himself, he is faced with a “Vigil assignment”—refusal to participate in the school fund raiser, ...
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