Extended Formal Analysis: Biographical and Cultural Criticism on the Lords of Discipline

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Extended Formal Analysis: Biographical and Cultural Criticism on The Lords of Discipline

Conroy displays his life through his novel, The Lords of Discipline, to give readers a visual demonstration of how life connections can transform the entity of a novel. Conroy's attendance to the Citadel, his family, and the South helped influence his innovative writing style.

"A lifetime in a Southern family negated any possibility that he [Will/Conroy] could resign from the school under any conditions other than unequivocal disgrace (6)." Conroy's family held a strong control over his will to renounce the hardship of the Citadel. A pervasive admiration for his mother runs through the book as he declares her as being one of the main reasons he continues to stay in the Institute, and the one who kept him in line through both his boyhood and his passage to maturity. "Her severity was soft, but severity nonetheless… the discipline of my mother disguised itself in love and tenderness and often held far greater terrors (5)." The "far greater terrors" were in contrast to his father's form of terrors. While Conroy's mother treated him with love, his father abused him both physically and mentally. Through the book, Conroy mentions the torment he endured by his father's negligence and lack of support. The Lords of Discipline is not the only book where Conroy mentions the abuse by his father, like in his other novel The Great Santini, but it is the one where he incorporates the influence of his father into why he attended the Citadel.

Being raised in the South, with a long standing and proud heritage, makes it difficult for Conroy to bow down and accept the control of the Citadel. His rejection of their norms...
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