Institutions can have positive and negative effects that can alter an individual's perceptions, judgment and values. "Raw" by Scott Monk, "Hard Rock" by Etheridge Knight and "Dangerous Minds" by John N. Smith help communicate an understanding of how such institutions can reform an individual.
The novel "Raw" written by Scott Monk, is simple in style but introduces interesting and an acceptable insight to the concept of "the institution and the individual experience". Brett Dalton resembles a highly wrought, reactionary character who challenged or feels confronted by structures of authority or control.
Using Brett as the protagonist, Monk opens the novel with a prologue that describes Brett as delinquent and confused teenager who refuses to take responsibility for his own actions. His intolerance leads him to committing a crime - breaking him into a bottle shop; this explains why he is in the institution called the "farm", which can be described as a "half-way house" with between no security and maximum security. This institution accommodates troubled teenagers, in which it is their second chance to become better individuals. Throughout the novel Brett is symbolized as the troubled teenager who overcomes his ignorance.
On the farm, Brett meets the caretaker Sam, who is symbolized not only as a role model but also the cause of Brett's positive change. Sam respects each individual equally and believes everybody deserves a second chance, but Brett, at the beginning does not tolerate anyone, especially people with authority – "they are the enemy, and you never get friendly with the enemy". This demonstrates Brett's attitudes and protest t...
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... of the students. Many of the students have no sense of belonging and see no relevance of to be at a place where even there teachers have no expectations for them.
All until Lou Anne Johnson arrives. Lou Anne gives hope to the students and shows the students that there can be some positive effects of the institution. But the negative effects end up reappearing, when a student is turned away by the principle on the basis of a petty rule. This emphasizes and the focus on the rules and order rather than the individual. The consequence of the student in this case is the death. Lou Anne sums up this incident appropriately “What should I tell them? If they don’t want to die remember to knock?”
"Raw", "Hard Rock" and "Dangerous Minds" all deduce to exemplify one meaning – institutions have the power to radically change the personal experiences of any individual.
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