Lords Of Discipline By Pat Conroy

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

Willís 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