Analysis Of The Lords Of Discipline By Pat Conroy

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Making Positive Decisions With The Group There was a study done by Alexander Merone, a researcher at Penn State, in relation to exactly how much mob mentality can impact decisions. He stated that, "it only takes 5% of what the scientists called ‘informed individuals’ to influence the direction of a crowd of around 200 people. The remaining 95% follow without even realizing it” (Hodan). Statistics likes these frequently cause people to view mob mentality, or the way people are influenced by their peers to make decisions, as having a negative connotation. This can be directly related to the story The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy. This book repetitively brings up the topic of mob mentality and how it impacts members of the Citadel, a military…show more content…
Through the eyes of Will Mclean the reader is able to experience the impacts that mob mentality has on young freshmen enduring their first year at the Citadel Military College. At one point in the story, the upperclassmen had their mind set on kicking out a kid named Bobby Bentley due to the fact that he was known for wetting his pants. During a meeting of the Freshmen, they discuss what to do about Bobby Bentley. The idea that they should brutally kick him out keeps coming up until one person stands up and says, “We think Bobby Bentley has more guts than any other knob in this company” which triggers a beneficial chain reaction, (Conroy 187). Going deeper into this quote it is identified how a potential negative outcome was able to completely change to a positive result just because of one person and their opinion. The Freshmen are a prime example of how being in a group can change decision making for the better in certain situations. These types of groupthink situations are consistently found throughout the story. This example of forming a group with a different, positive opinion goes against a small study done by a man named George Hodan. He claimed that, “individuals have evolved to be negatively influenced by their neighbours, rather than rely on their own instinct” (Hodan). This quote is true in some situations, but it does not mean that every form of mob mentality resulted from being negatively influenced by a neighbor. Many examples from The Lords of Discipline show the exact opposite. A prime example of this would be when Will Mclean agreed to defend his dear friend Pig in front of the Honor Court. They were nearing the end of their senior year together, and Pig was caught ‘stealing’ gas from Will’s car. This is a major violation at the Citadel Military College and Pig was in desperate need of someone to defend him. Will decided that he was going to, “start
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