In Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, Leonard Lawrence’s experiences in basic training and death are a direct result of negligence on the part of private Joker. In the film, Paris Island is portrayed as a place where men are broken down and reconstructed as ruthless killers. The methods used by the marines to train soldiers are tested and clearly work on the average person. However, Leonard Lawrence was not an average man. Throughout most of the film he is despondent, almost oblivious to the gravity of his situation.
When Hartman is delivering his first day speech to the platoon, he insults and or punishes all of the main characters in the story, but Leonard’s abuse immediately seems more harsh than the others. The criticism that he draws from
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It is at this moment that he assumes responsibility for Leonard and because of the chain of command, is directly responsible for his actions. Despite trying to help Leonard, private Joker lets Leonard down on several occasions. When Hartman finds the jelly doughnut in Leonard’s foot-locker, it is because a basic detail was over-looked first by Leonard and subsequently by private Joker. Even before the padlock was put on the foot locker though, private Joker let Leonard down because he failed to stop Leonard from procuring the jelly doughnut. It was private Joker’s responsibility to keep Leonard on track and moving forward. By letting Leonard bring contraband into the barracks and by not checking his setup before gunnery sergeant Hartman does his inspection, private Joker has failed Leonard as a leader.
When gunnery sergeant Hartman starts punishing the rest of the platoon instead of Leonard he is performing a calculated action. He is forcing the platoon to push Leonard harder. He says “ I have tried to help him, but I have failed. I have failed because you have not helped me. you people have not given private pyle the proper motivation.”. The marine culture is centered on tradition, the idea of turning Leonard’s peers against him is not a new one. The results are predictable, with the most severe blow coming in the form of a blanket party. This is a ritual that leaves it’s victim overwhelmed by deep bruises, throbbing with pain, and more than likely in shock. Leonard is