Reform School

Decent Essays
With a troublesome past, Smith fell under police control after trying to run after a robbery. Ironically, this desire to run turned into a form of punishment when he entered a reform school for his wrongdoings. Though, previously pleasurable to Smith, running morphed into a troubling and oppressive punishment when it assumed the form of a race and a means of conforming to the wishes of his oppressors. Part of Smith’s punishment includes training for a race that, if won, would bring great pride to the Governor. The purpose of this reform school rests on its ability to shape troubled children into upstanding members of society and leave the impulses of criminal acts in their past. This school worked to change Smith and allow him more productive…show more content…
The running provides an escape where Smith can think comprehensively about parts of his life more thoroughly than any other time. This mode of stress release leaves Smith alone with his thoughts and cements his philosophies and ideas on life void of the distractions of the others at the reform school. Some of his best thinking transpires while running, “And this long-distance running lark is the best of all, because it makes me think so good that I learn things…” (1207). Not only does he think profoundly about life on his runs, Smith could compare his life to his long distance runs. Unsurprisingly, Smith does not rush through life and neglect the things that please him in search of a societal destination. Instead, Smith roots himself in the idea of living in the moment and connecting with any impulse, he may possess. Not thinking of the future, Smith treats life decisions synonymous to long-distance running. Without a final destination, Smith does not think about speed or times of acceleration or pacing; no end game or final destination that he must prepare for, instead he just runs the speed he wants when he wants. In life, Smith sees no final destination, no point in life he wants to be at at a certain time, he only knows what he wants and when he wants to get it. A life as a run leaves behind forethought and…show more content…
Running never presented itself as a race to Smith, he never competed against anyone else, he only ran for himself. In a way, this competition worked congruent to the reform school in that it transformed how Smith thought about running and how he lived life. Growing up, Smith always thought of himself as an independent and did not rely on anyone else, nor did he feel the need to outperform anyone else. Smith’s singular desire to live freely and independently, separated him from the traditional views of how people should lead their lives. Nevertheless, Smith feels society’s pressure. According to society, a successful life contains an excellence at what one does and surpasses the weak. Running turned into a race, as did his life. Running to race meant Smith constantly comparing himself to others and seeking to beat them, “... I know now there ain’t another long-distance cross-country running runner in England to touch my speed and style”. Previously, he never cared what anyone else did or intended to do. A long distance run separates one from the stress and hardships of reality and connects one with their inner self, void of all distractions. In a way, when Smith ran, he separated himself more distinctly from society and the expectations that lay upon him. Ordinarily, making him feel truly alone, running provided an escape, “It’s a treat, being a long-distance runner, out in the world by
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