Surviving The Last Plantation Essay, Research Paper
Self-preservation, natures foremost great jurisprudence, All the animals, but adult male, doth awe.-Andrew MarvelleLove, household, and little bangs are but three things to populate for. Sometimes they are the lone things to populate for. Sometimes they are what drive us to last. For some of the inmates at Angola State Prison, there is small to populate for and they still survive. Daniel Bergner one time stated, & # 8220 ; We live for whatever it is possible to populate for? & # 8221 ; ( 168 ) . But what do the inmates of Angola live for? What brings intending into their lives? Many of the inmates at Angola have been convicted of capital offenses. Many have no opportunity for word. They still survive ; they still find a ground to populate. They find intending in their lives.Before intent and endurance or salvation and redemption can be discussed, an thought of what Angola is must be produced. The warden of Angola is a big adult male by the name of Burl Cain. Some believe that he is the ground for Angola being what it is. Bergner believes different: The dramatic repose at Angola? confirmed by the ACLU? s National Prison Project and Louisiana? s ain watchdogs? could non be credited to Warden Cain entirely. Twenty-one old ages ago conditions had been so lawless and homicidal a federal justice had ruled that the prison & # 8220 ; shocked the scruples & # 8221 ; and breached the Eight Amendment? s warrant against cruel and unusual penalty. Reform had begun so. [ ? ] [ Warden Cain ] aimed non simply at warehousing inmates safely, but at reconstructing them, at delivering them, whether in footings of his Southern Baptist belief or in spiritual footings more wide ( & # 8221 ; Love thy neighbour? & # 8221 ; ) or merely in the sense of larning to populate in some valuable manner, without the urges that lead to destructing others? . ( 24-25 ) Though Bergner merely carries this idea through the beginning of his stay at Angola, it is till a feasible description of the establishment. With this unsmooth thought of Angola in head, the inmates of Angola can be discussed. Their grounds for life can be shared.Carey & # 8220 ; Buckkey & # 8221 ; Lasseigne was convicted to populate imprisonment at Angola at the age of 22 ( Bergner 220 ) . & # 8220 ; He was separated from his married woman the month after the violent death, and they have since divorced. But they had been back together since his first twelvemonth at Angola & # 8221 ; ( Bergner 221 ) . That is portion of what kept Buckkey traveling ; portion of what gave him a ground to populate indoors Angola. His married woman is merely portion of the ground. The remainder of his household completed Buckkey? s ground to populate, particularly his boy, Chris. Buckkey wanted nil but the best for Chris. Buckkey wanted merely to be Chris? s male parent. He wanted to be at that place for his boy. This privation, this demand to be portion of a household, is what finally kept Buckkey going.Freedom is another ground that an inmate has to populate for while behind the fencings of Angola. Donald Cook used programs for flight as a ground to populate, but non for the freedoms that flight would supply. Cook was besides in it for the bang. The bang is the same ground that Cook continued to sell marijuana even though he did non desire to acquire caught merchandising any longer ( Berger 184 ) . The bang of acquiring caught was one thing that gave Cook a ground to populate and a ground to go on selling inside Angola.Planning flight was another ground for Cook to
live. Cook took advantage of every situation to plot an escape:?[H]e?d done some maintenance work on one of the Main Prison roofs, and he?d had his first look at Angola?s geography. He made it a very long look. Because the landscape was flat, he could take in almost everything, from the river to the front gate. Behind the administration building, the hills rose up and the prison ended. He believed in Angola?s buffer zone, but he, unlike many of the inmates, imagined an area of only a few thousand acres. Angola, to him was not endless. (Bergner 186)This realization of Angola was part of what kept Cook going inside Angola. The whole idea of Angola having a boundary was enough for Cook. Planning on reaching that boundary was enough to give Cook a purpose while behind the fences.In discussing family and freedom as reasons for living inside Angola, inmate Johnny Brooks must be discussed. Brooks was convicted of killing a store clerk during a robbery. His defense was, “?I just found the body.? This, he said, was how the blood had streaked his clothes?” (Bergner 203). “After twenty-three years he still hope the appeals court might overturn his conviction on grounds he could not explain” (Bergner 203). This was one reason for Johnny Brooks to survive the slight chance of freedom.But why did Brooks want freedom? Brooks wanted to get married and married he did behind the fences of Angola. He became a father through that marriage. He gained a purpose. He became a man with a reason to live. Brooks had a wife that he loved, two sons and two daughters that he cared for, and a driving desire to be free so that he could actually be a father to them.To take his mind from thoughts of marriage and family, Brooks would train for the rodeo. “Johnny Brooks had asked? to be transferred from the range crew to the car wash. The shorter hours allowed him time to run and work out, to devote himself to taking the all-around in [the] rodeo” (Bergner 201). “?[H]e was going to give those bulls everything he had. He was going to five an all-around and a bull-riding buckle to Belva?s sons, who would be, officially, his sons?” (Bergner 201). This is what kept Johnny Brooks?s mind occupied while he was waiting for his family to develop. The rodeo was just one more thing for Brooks to live for.The rodeo at Angola was a driving force for more than just one inmate. The rodeo became a purpose for Terry Hawkins. Before the rodeo became Terry’s purpose, his reason for living was to make himself better. He wanted to move up the ranks of Angola, to become the best that he could be. That never happened, so Terry turned to the rodeo. He was encouraged by the guards to use the rodeo as a purpose. So, Terry did. He used the rodeo as a reason to live.For the inmates of Angola, a reason to live was the most important fact of their lives. Without a reason to survive, many inmates probably would not. So long as a reason existed, even the most desperate could dream; dream of all the things that would allow them the slightest comfort. The smallest purpose could give an inmate?s life meaning, and with meaning a reason to continue and survive.Works CitedBergner, Daniel. God of the Rodeo: The Quest for Redemption in Louisiana?s Angola Prison. New York: Ballantine Books, 1998.