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Summary The Lords of Discipline is a best-selling novel by Pat Conroy author of The Prince of Tides Beach Music and The Great Santini The novel takes place in Charleston South Carolina in the 1960s The hero Will McLean is a cadet at the military academy called The Institute The novel is modeled after Conroys own experience of plebe hazing and four years of fear as a cadet at The Citadel from which he graduated in 1967 The novel is Wills narration of his four years at the academy and how those years shaped him into the man he has become The Lords of Discipline deals with such intense topics as the demands of military life deep-seated racial prejudice in the South and the corruption and loss of individualism in an institutionalized setting It is a glimpse at Southern tradition and snobbery it is about falling in love for the first time It is the story of Will McLeans passage from boyhood to manhood The novel opens with a brief explanation of why Will is writing about The Institute He is not relating a nostalgic tale of fond memories but a mixed tale of hatred and love for his college years He explains A Southern man is incomplete without a tenure under military rule I am not an incomplete Southern man I am simply damaged goods like all the rest of them Will survived the Institute but he never conformed to the military way of life The novel is divided into four parts The first part is subtitled The Cadre Will is returning to the school for his senior year He arrives a few weeks before the rest of his senior class because he has been chosen as a member of the cadre the officers responsible for breaking in the freshmen plebes He is also made responsible for the safety of a freshman named Pearce the first black student to attend The Institute
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