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The Chocolate War: Book Vs. Film

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As done with many books turned into movies, there are many omissions and changes such as the chronological order, or the way an event occurs. These changes may sometimes be a key to the change in perspective that is taken on the movie, or may not. Such is the case of the movie The Chocolate War based on the novel by Robert Cormier. Some of these changes are as follows:

Chronological Order. In the movie the chronological order of events varies, yet mostly in ways that are not so significant, such as at the beginning of the movie. After the scenes introducing Jerry, then Archie and Obie, comes the scene where Jerry watches his father sleep on the couch and remembers his mother who had passed away, then has a talk with his father about his "fine" days at work. In the novel this scene was to come after a few chapters. Another distortion to the novel's chronological order is that Brother Leons way of being in the classroom is presented before than his relationship with Archie, as in the book. Half way into the movie the order of scenes is basically parallel to those in the novel.

Change in Events and Omissions. The movie contains a variety of differences from the book, from the character that makes an event happen, to the way the event actually occurred in the book. Beginning with the omission of the scene in the book where Jerry picks up a Playboy magazine, and somehow feels guilty for doing what normal boys do. Later in the novel, after the completion of Gooper's assignment, Obie reveals that he was one of the masked boys that helped complete such assignment, when in the book such complaint is not mentioned. Many other irrelevant changes are made, such as Brother Leon confronting Archie for the second time, warning him about the decrease in the chocolate sales and The Vigils, was really one on one, not on the phone, like the movie. Jerry's only talk with the hippie girl from the bus station is omitted, and presented in the movie as a simple exchange of names.

Most of these changes are made for editing or time length purposes of the movie; some are simply made because it was either the movie director or the scriptwriter's perspective of the book. The greatest change made in the movie from the book was the boxing match event and every thing that followed. The novel really never explains how Jerry finds out about the match, yet in the movie Archie actually calls him to make the offer, and Jerry accepts. The movie shows the whole process of the "making of" the upcoming event, the boxing match. How the Vigils get away with what they want, for instance, how they sold the rest of the chocolates and how they got away with the boxing match at school is never presented in the book, as if they were a mafia that doesn't give out their secrets. The director decides to eliminate this extra tension form the audience, to help them understand the Vigil's mentality,



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