The Lords Of Discipline The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy I wear the ring and return often to the city of Charleston, South Carolina, to study the history of my becoming a man, (Conroy, 1). The Lords of Discipline is essentially the story of Will McLean growing up and learning what it really means to be an honorable man. He began the book as one person: a young, naive cadet in his senior year who used humor to keep everyone from seeing how troubled he was. The book ends with Will as a wholly different person due to catastrophic events that happened during the course of his final year at the Carolina Military Institute. Will endured the plebe year at the Institute, he fell in love with a pregnant girl, uncovered a well-hidden misuse of power in the Institute and because of that discovery, suffered the death of a close friend and the loss of many other people he thought he could trust.
All these events contribute in different ways to Will becoming an honorable man. Will enrolled in the Institute because his father, on his deathbed, made him promise to graduate from the Institute, just as he had. He went on a basketball scholarship, unaware of the brutal initiation required for all freshman. Within the first minute of him arriving at registration, he was beaten and humiliated by upperclassmen. Then, he and the rest of his class were subjected to physical and mental torture whenever and wherever possible.
They were afraid to use the bathroom, so they used the sinks in their rooms. The plebes , as the freshmen were called, also had sweat parties every night. All the doors in the room were locked and the heater was turned on. Then everyone lined up and followed the commands of the cadre, upperclassmen. My body took asylum in a mental and physical paralysis, (p.
147). The idea of the hazing was to separate the strong and capable cadets from the flimsy and weak. If a cadet whom was thought to be unworthy survived the hazing, they were treated to The Taming. The cadre would find the weakness of the plebe and exploit it. If they were afraid of bugs, the cadre would cover the plebes body with insects until he agreed to leave the Institute.
One boy, Bobby Bentley had managed to survive all the cadres had put him through. They picked on him because he wet his pants. All his classmate were rooting for him and helped him whenever he was being picked on. The angered the cadre more than anything. Then, all of a sudden, Bobby disappeared.
All his belongings were packed. He vanished from the Institute. In the midst of all the turmoil around him, Will managed to survive, and even make some friends. Dante Pignetti, a poor, muscled Italian from New York, Mark Santoro, a loyal Yankee, and Tradd St. Croix, a wealthy Charleston aristocrat following in the footsteps of his father became his roommates.
These four would form bonds that lasted all four years they attended the institute. Mark and Pig were the defenders for Tradd and Will. Tradd was teased for being effeminate and called the honey prince. Will got in trouble for his sharp tongue and unwavering loyalty to the Honor Code of the school. The four of them made it to the end of the school year. There was twenty-eight in their class.
Thirty-two had dropped out along the way. There was a picnic to celebrate the end of the year and the survival of the twenty-eight. The upperclassmen were there. Will vows I will not be like them. I shall bear witness against them (p. 206).
He sensed something sinister and immoral under the surface, and decided he would we the one to uncover it. The torture he endured in the plebe year made him mentally and physically stronger. It also made him want to be all the more honorable than those around him. The book jumps ahead to Wills senior year. It was time for him to participate in the torture of the plebes.
He showed little interest and tried to save who ever he could from being overwhelmed by the cadre. He saw a fat kid name Poteete being singled out for stronger punishment. Poteete cried whenever faced with the cadre. He refused to quit the school, another southerner being forced to follow in their fathers footsteps. A few days after meeting Will, he attempts to commit suicide. They find him hanging precariously over the railing overlooking the courtyard. While trying to talk him down, Poteete mentions something that catches Wills attention.
I thought I could make it. I thought I was doing better until they took me to the house (p. 117). It sounded like another of the clues that were steadily adding to Wills suspicion of the integrity of the school. Mark and Pig forced Poteete to get off of the railing.
He was sent to the infirmary where he hung himself with his belt. He could not face the disgrace of quitting. He would rather die. During that same time, Will met a young pregnant girl. Her name was Annie Kate. She was one of the Southern aristocrats like Tradd. She only lowered herself to be friends with Will because she was banished from the rest of society.
Her mother hid her from everyone to avoid the scandal of an unwed pregnant girl. The family pretended she was in California and hid her away at their beach home. Will visited her, wrote her, and called her whenever possible, falling in love with her in the process. She was the first girl he had ever loved. In the incoming plebe class there was a black student, the first in the history of the Institute.
No one wanted him there. Will was specially assigned to keep him safe. They developed a secret system of communication, leaving notes in a designated book in the library. Pearce, the black cadet, and Wills roommates are the only ones to know about the system. While Will was at a party at Tradds house, Annie Kate called and said she was having the baby. He rushed over to her house and took her to the hospital.
Her mother was passed-out drunk on the couch. At the hospital, everyone treated will like the father, and he loved it. Then he found out that the baby was born dead, the umbilical cord had strangled it. Annie Kate never tried to contact Will after that, and he was unable to see her for weeks. When he finally saw her, she treated him as an impersonal neighbor.
He begged for her to recognize his love but she refused, and left for California the next day. The rejection and hurt made Will mourn for weeks. When he finally recovered he was stronger and wiser that he had been before. He would always love her, but he knew he would find another. Will met with Colonel Reynolds, an English teacher from the Institute to discuss his suspicions about the bad things going on at his school.
Reynolds confirmed his worries with stories about a secret group within the school called The Ten. Reynolds had written about it in his history of the Institute, but the section about The Ten magically disappeared when it reached the printers. Will decided to contact Bobby Bentley to see if he could add anything to the story. Bobby told Will about being taken to a house and abused beyond the reaches of humanity. The Ten poured gas on him and tossed matches dangerously close. They made him faint and revived him by throwing buckets of water in his face.
It didnt end until he agreed to leave the Institute immediately. He was able to give them the name of one of the men that had done it to him, Dan Molligen. Mark, Pig, and Will found Molligen and kidnapped him to find out more information about The Ten. They laid him on a set of deserted railroad tracks that ran parallel to working tracks. They left him there until he gave up the information they needed.
He told them that the house the torture took place in belonged to General Durell, President of the Institute. When they returned to the school, they found out that Pearce had been taken from the school. Will decided to go to the house to find out what was going on. When he arrived there, he found s basement window to look in. There were ten masked men standing around Pearce, who was tied to a chair.
He was being electrocuted. Will recognized a few of the ten torturers. While he was watching, the phone rang. The men, after listening to the person, went directly to the window Will was at. He ran away, and came back and broke the window. They gave chase down the beach. Pig and Mark appeared and fought the guys off.
The next day at school Will was approached by Cain, a representative of the Ten. He was threatened, as was his roommates. The Ten did nothing for a few months. Then, Pig was caught trying to steal gas from Wills car. He was put on trial and convicted of being dishonorable and was kicked out of school.
He had to go down The Walk of Shame, where all the cadets turn their backs on him as he passes. After going down the walk, he went directly in front of a train, for all the cadets to see. It broke Wills heart. Then, he knew The Ten were serious about getting him quiet. Will and Mark became the subject of attention for all the commanding officers.
Their room was searched randomly and they were given huge numbers of demerits. A senior was allowed 100 demerits and they accumulated over 100 within weeks. They too were kicked out of school. Will broke into Tradds house to see if his dad, Commerce, a graduate of the Institute, knew anything about The Ten in his journals. He found lists of people in The Ten, including Tradds father, Gen.
Durell, and Tradd himself. He also found out that Tradd was the father of Annie Kates baby, and that he had shunned her and put her to shame. He used the information about The Ten to blackmail General Durell. He and Mark were allowed to graduate with their class. He promised to write an accurate history of the school.
He also confronted Tradd about being a member of The Ten. He lost two of his best friends with in months of each other, on the victim of another. Will always did whatever he could to be and honest and honorable cadet. Even though he detested the Institute, he remained there to follow through with the promise he made to his father. In The Lords of Discipline we see Will go from a shy plebe, to an admirable graduate.
It cost him his friends, his love, and almost his education, but Will was finally a man. English Essays.