anguish and despair, not to kick him out of the program.
(Sawyer 373)
Ultimately, Mayo sacrifices his personal achievement to help another
person in his platoon succeed. This happens during the obstacle course
when he is on pace to break the course record but sacrifices his time to
help another officer candidate complete an obstacle. This is the final
run of the obstacle course, and her failure would have been immediate
grounds for dismissal. When Mayo realizes this, he goes back for her,
helps her over a wall, and then completes the course with her. Gunnery
Sergeant Foley’s (Louis Gossett, Jr.) primary goal is to change Mayo’s
mentality about teamwork, and he eventually succeeds. This change also
illustrates an important aspect of the relationship between the drill
instructor and the recruit. Most recruits start the films as misfits and
troublemakers of some variety, very similar to featured students in most
Hollywood teacher movies, and while recruits do not leave boot camp
as flawless human beings, they do leave with the utmost respect for their
drill instructors (see Screenshot 6.2).
This respect does not develop immediately, however. It
emerges out of intense struggle and discipline. For anyone who has seen
Fight Club, the idea of hitting rock bottom should evoke images of Tyler
Durden (Brad Pitt) chemically burning a pair of lips into the narrator’s
(Ed Norton) hand. While this is obviously an extreme action, the
mindset behind the action is often replicated during boot camp. This
evolution is most clearly seen in G.I. Jane throughout Lieutenant Jordan
O’Neill’s (Demi Moore) SEAL training. Her Command Master Chief
spends weeks of training breaking each of the potential candidates
down until they truly hit rock bottom.vi What is both interesting and
different about this movie is that each candidate is there voluntarily
because it is SEAL school and not boot camp. This also means that they
can leave voluntarily, which makes the mental fortitude necessary to
endure SEAL training much greater than that required in a boot camp
environment because in most boot camp environments, recruits have
signed a contract obligating them to service. The Command Master
Chief still follows the progressions of the military genre aimed at
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