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Do Institutions Abandon the Individual in Texts Raw by Scot Monk and the Film Girl Interrupted (1999)

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Essay Preview: Do Institutions Abandon the Individual in Texts Raw by Scot Monk and the Film Girl Interrupted (1999)

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An institution is an organization that is set up for a particular purpose. Institutions are run through a hierarchical system of authority, whereby rules and regulations are enforced. Scott Monk's novel, Raw, explores a number of issues to do with the power of institutions and the impact on individuals, within them. The text also explores the relationship between individuals and the authorities that have the power and the loss of individuality of inmates. The text also explores the concept of rehabilitation. Through the use of techniques such as characterisation, language and imagery, Monk examines the personal experience of institutions.

From the beginning of the novel, the reader is aware of the tension between those in authority and the individual. The police who arrest Brett are referred to as "pigs," while they refer to Brett as a "no hoper". The author uses the 3rd person narrative but tells the story from Brett's perspective as he arrives at The Farm. Brett's stereotypical view of authority is conveyed when he meets Sam, and thinks "he was the enemy and you never get friendly with the enemy," reinforcing his "us" and "them" mentality. While The Farm challenges the stereotypical correction institution, words like "prisoner" and "detention" provide a contrast and a reminder that this is still a detention center.

Not all institutions have a negative impact on individuals. The Farm encourages change through encouraging individuals to consider their actions and the consequences of them. Sam tries to treat the inmates as individuals and believes that "if guys want to stay, they will". He does not believe there is any benefit in loss of individuality, and believes that improving a persons self image is more successful. Punishment in The Farm is powerful and effective in that it is communal punishment, which affects not only the individual, but also the whole group. Each person is therefore encouraged to think about others. In this way, Sam encourages freedom of choice but also freedom to choose consequence, "if you wan to break the rules, you have to face the consequences." Thus, Sam chooses to use rehabilitation rather than punishment as a form of change.

Through characterisation, Monk illustrates diverse effects of institutional policies on individuals. Brett, Josh, and Tyson all reflect differing reactions to the expectation of compliance. Brett particularly learns the value of conformity. He learns from the consequences when he breaks the rules and comes to respect authority. Whereas Tyson seems intent on rebellion and doesn't consider the consequences. Tyson exploits peer pressure to bully individuals to conforming to his rules. It seems that any attempt to rehabilitate him "didn't work". Josh complies with rules, "we all have to get along". He is at The

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