military victories” (West). This transitioned to a period when the
military was viewed more favorably during the late ‘80s and ‘90s, and
presently viewers see a wide range of depictions of the military. The drill
instructor has varied in intensity and tactics, and the role has evolved
during each Hollywood era.
Drill instructors have always trained recruits for war. As such,
the indoctrination of a “kill or be killed” mentality begins at recruit
training when drill instructors attempt to mold a platoon into a single
unit, all willing to die for one another. It is from here that we can
develop what I term The Military Model of teaching, an archetypal
model that can be applied uniformly to drill instructors in military
movies. Not coincidentally, this archetype also serves as a contrast to
The Hollywood Model of iconic good teacher characters.
The Military Model of Teaching
The military film genre is concerned with showing the
advancement and betterment of a group of people who are committed
to serving their country. This objective is completed through what I call
The Military Model of Teaching, a three-pronged approach to teaching
that builds unfolds throughout the film as part of the central narrative.
The foundation of The Military Model of Teaching begins with a
depersonalized period of instruction. Immediately, a contrast emerges
between a teacher in a classroom and a drill instructor. A teacher in a
classroom strives to personalize the curriculum in an original way;
whereas, a drill instructor will not graduate a recruit until he or she
completes every requirement established in the curriculum. This
standard ensures that no one is subject to special treatment or unfair
treatment, which Full Metal Jacket exemplifies when Gunnery Sergeant
Hartman (R. Lee Ermey) pushes Private Leonard “Gomer Pyle”
Lawrence (Vincent D'Onofrio) on the obstacle course. Pyle is required
to complete it and will not be able to graduate until he does. Drill
instructors want their recruits to succeed in the form of graduating, but
they also want to be sure that they are well trained. A depersonalized
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