The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner
The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner, by Alan Sillitoe deals with an athlete facing conformity. Smith, Sillitoe's character is a young "rebel," who is in a borstal for stealing money from a neighborhood bakery. Smith is a long-distance runner, who runs every morning while in the borstal. The borstal governor keeps on top of Smith to keep running and win the "Borstal Blue Ribbon Prize Cup for Long Distance Cross-Country Running (All England)."
Throughout the story, Smith expresses his hate for the law, law-abiding citizens, and the law enforcements. He constantly calls them "pigs," "blokes," or "pop-eyed potbellied". He views life as a constant battle between the law and people like himself. He calls it a "battle of wits," in which he must outwit the law. I think that it is this theory that helps Smith make his decision on whether to lose the race that he could easily win.
To win the race would make Smith give in to the governor, and accept the values of all of the people he grew up to hate. However, to lose the race, Smith would keep his independence and values.
Smith loses the race to win. He knows that he could easily win the race, but feels that he will be giving in. His only fear about losing the race is that no other runner will catch him before the finish line, and he would be forced to stand before the tape until someone passes him. I agree with Smith's decision, and probably would have done the same thing. He had his values and what he believed in, and did not want to give all of that up because someone told him to he has hated his entire life. Therefore, Smith was so determined to...