RAW by Scott Monk
Raw, written by Scott Monk is a simple, yet thought provoking book exploring the themes of teenage rebellion, its effect on institutionalization. The story revolves around the experiences of, Brett a young offender is sent to a detention centre to reform and attain a second chance in life. As a result Brett is sent to The Farm, a facility that aims to turn young offender's lives around, by reforming them. The Farm works on the principals of care, trust and responsibility. There are no fences or guards, just the boys and parent figures Sam and Mary. There are no cells, rather bedrooms. As well as offering rehabilitation, The Farm also supplies educational facilities, as it aims to give young offenders a second chance in life, and excursions to reward the boys for their good behaviour, a justification of the trust placed on the boys.
The author uses his protagonist and other connected characters to strategically explore the range of responses the individual can experience when exposed to the influence of institutional policies.
The opening chapter resonates with aggressive, dramatic action that pre empts the focus of the narrative - the examination of the individual rejecting compliance with defined social, legal and other norms that exert control over humanity.
Brett's negativity towards authority is expressed in his antagonism towards the police. This is exemplified in chapter one through Brett's derogatory view of "the cops" and authority in general, and his lack of compliance with even minor commands, such as his refusal to leave the paddy van when he arrives at the institution earmarked for his reformation. This is also supported Brett's derogatory colloquialism, such as 'pigs' in reference to the police. His initial resentment of Sam, who runs The Farm, where he is sent for this rehabilitation, is marginally tempered by his exposure to experiences that further his own self examination and ultimately his recognition of the challenge of finding value in one's existence.
Scott Monk uses the early stages of the text to explore the effects of institutionalization on the individual through Brett's attempts to defeat any kind of conformity to society's mores and expectations. Ironically, Brett typifies those individuals who struggle to assert themselves through confrontational means, yet only succeed in affirming society's stereotypical perspective of them. Brett's acts of petty theft and his failed attempt to escape from The Farm later in the text signify his own intrinsic struggle to refute conformist behavior and yet simultaneously, and unconsciously, conform to the archetypal view of the juvenile petty criminal.
The use of contrast between characters...