Total Institution Essay
Growing up in a society resembling the social order of today, having a minute to escape the harsh reality of this world is hard to come across, although everyone has their own sanction they can hide in and forget about the outside world. The majority of population will call their home or room their quiet place, but what if you lived in a total institute environment? Wire fences, high walls, cliffs and no room to express one self is all associated with the idea of total institution.
They are different in that the total character is symbolized by a barrier that is often built onto the physical plan (Goffman Characteristics of Total Institutions). Where is there to go when there is no where to turn, when the community you are living in is designed to break you down, to keep people out and to keep others in? A total institution as a whole has a negative effect on society where the outcome doesn’t always provide a positive result.
As displayed in The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy, and Nancy Gibb’s article Zero Tolerance, Zero Sense, along with Rick Reilly’s What is the Citadel? nd The Oprah Winfrey Show’s episode entitled Annapolis, a total institution environment can result in negative effects on the individual as well as the surrounding society. The road to becoming and honorable man is not always as easy as one would like, but once achieved is deemed worth the struggle. How far would you allow someone to push you? To the place where your breaking point could be closer than your goal of achieving honor? The men and women who live in a total institution environment see and live these struggles on a daily basis, pushing through the pain and hoping one day they can say, “I made it”.
With all of these men and women striving for the same goal, with the same passion in mind, the thought of breaking you down to achieve the objective wouldn’t make sense to most. But to others it seems as if it’s the only way. This technique shouldn’t be the only way honor can be attained. Not everyone is the same, and not everyone can take the pressure. A majority of the inhabitants of a total institution go to great lengths to overcome the stress and some even use self inflicted pain or the extreme of suicide to conquer the anxiety of failure. “I’m gong to jump. I promise you that… I wanted to find out how you could survive all of this.
How could you survive such cruelty? ” (Conroy 129). Poteete was a freshman at the institute and learned first hand how hard it could be to cope with the stress of achieving honor. His lifelong goal was to graduate from the institute like his father did and couldn’t survive the obstacles thrown at him to mold him into an institute man. The techniques used to break someone down and then remold them into what is desired are never pleasant in an institution culture. With barriers made to keep secrets in and people out, a lot can go on without society having the slightest clue. Hazing is a main tool used in this process.