“One of the greatest gifts you can get as a writer is to be born into an unhappy family,” Conroy once said (Starr 3). Pat Conroy received this gift from Don and Peg Conroy on October 26, 1945 in Atlanta, Georgia. His writings are reflections of this life he received so long ago. He was born into a traditional Catholic family. His father was a Marine Corps fighter pilot, and his mother was a socially eager house wife (Disc. Auth. 1-2). Pat was the first of seven children and 6 miscarriages. Family life was so bad that his sister once said, “The miscarriages were the lucky ones.

Pat says he served in the Marine Corps since the day he was born (Burns 5). His harsh fathers job required the family to move constantly. Conroy has moved 23 times in his life (Castro 2). He changed school 11 times in 12 years (bdd 1). They finally settled in Beaufort, South Carolina. Pat finished high school there in 1963(Disc. Auth. 1). He attended the Citadel on a basketball scholarship (Castro 2). While there, he became the literary editor for the school magazine (Disc. Auth. 1). He also became captain and MVP of the basketball team (Bdd 1). While he was attending the Citadel, he learned many important lessons of life (Burns 5).

Pat Conroy gained a lot of inspiration for his writing while attending college. His first book, The Boo, was published in 1970. It is based on a relationship with Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Nugent Courvoise, Assistant Commandant of Cadets, nicknamed Boo (Burns 1). It was a kind account of the Citadel (Disc. Auth. 2). Conroy once said The Boo was his longest letter to the world. In 1980, Conroy decided to write another book with influence from his alma mater. The Lords of Discipline was a story about the Carolina Military Institute, primarily based on The Citadel.

It took the reader behind the doors of the barracks and showed what no one outside ever knew before (Disc. Auth. 2). It was extremely controversial and even caused him to lose his ring. The Lords of Discipline is the only book banned from the campus. The vulgar language in the book may offend some readers (Pumphrey 1). It was nominated for the Robert Kennedy Book Award in 1981. It was made into a movie in 1983 (Disc. Auth. 3). After Conroy graduated The Citadel in 1967, he started teaching English at various local high schools. In 1969, he was hired at a small school off the coast teaching underprivileged black children.

The Water is Wide is the story of his battles with illiteracy and the school board (Burns 1). It also tells about his graduation from college and being filled with liberalism and a desire to erase racism in the South. When he began writing the book he saw it as a chance to show his disapproval of the South Carolina school system. He told an interviewer, “When I began to write the first chapters I was blazing. What concerned me most was denouncing the people who had brought me down. But when I began to cool off I realized I had played a major part in my own downfall. Locher 114) He was fired when he was accused of unorthodox teaching (Burns 1). The book was published in 1972. He stayed in the local community saying, “I do not want to be accused of nailing people to the wall in the book and then fleeing” (Locher 114) The Water is Wide won the Ansfield-Wolf Award by the Cleveland Foundation in 1972. It was also made into the movie Conrack in 1974 (Disc. Auth. 3). The Great Santini was Conroys first true novel. It was published in 1976. It was truly an auto-biography of Conroys life as the son of a fighter pilot who brought his military training home to his wife and kids.

In the story, the eldest son struggles to free himself from his abusive fathers ruthlessness (Disc. Auth. 1-2). This book started Conroys career as a writer. Conroys father was not happy of the perception of him in the book, but apparently cooled down because of his appearance at a book signing where he signed as “The Great Santini”. Peg Conroy left her husband the day after his retirement parade (Burns 1-3). She presented The Great Santini at the divorce hearing. It was made into a movie in 1979 (Disc. Auth. 3). Pat Conroys most well known book, Prince of Tides, was published in 1986.

It is a story about unemployed English teacher, who is traveling from South Carolina to New York City, where his sister has suffered from a nervous breakdown (Disc. Auth. 2). The exact same circumstances occurred in his own life. The strange thing is, in the book the character leaves his sisters Jewish psychiatrist for his southern wife, but in real life it was the exact opposite (Budman 1). Conroys latest novel, Beach Music, took longer to write than any other book he has ever written. Nan Talese, his editor, made him cut out several hundred pages, and even chapters (Klein 2). The book has a lot to do with his daughter, Sussanah.

She recently left him with her mother. Conroy desperately wants her to come back, or even see him. He says he did the worst thing he could do as a father by getting “a little bit famous. ” He has written over 100 letters, including a love letter in the book. Leah in Beach Music is based on her (Castro 1). Jack McCall is a travel writer, who goes to Rome after his wifes suicide, but returns to take care of his mother who is dying of leukemia. Peg Conroy died of leukemia in 1984 (Castro 1). In her deathbed, she said, “Son, I find it hard to relax while Im dying, knowing youre going to write down every damn word I say” (Starr 1).

His brother, Tom Conroy, also jumped from an 18-story apartment building, possibly the wife in the book (Castro 1-2). Pat said that his brothers death was probably a relief to him. He reveals that he got his passion to begin writing from Thomas Wolfe in this excerpt from Beach Music: “Taking out Look Homeward, Angel, I read the magnificent first page and remembered when I had been a sixteen-year-old boy and those same words had set me ablaze. ” (Starr 4) As with any other author, there are people who criticize Pat Conroy. Brigette Weeks says that all of his books seem to be the same thing. She says that all of his books are auto-biographical.

She thinks that Conroy is a simple storyteller with his “feet set firmly on the native earth. ” According to Weeks, he is a master of grotesque intensity. His words create a world of passion. He sometimes tends to stray off course. Prince of Tides is monstrously long, but a pleasure to read. It established him as a novelist (Votteler 44-45). Gail Godwin says that Conroy fiction has two obsessions: abusive fathers and the South. These two things cannot separate from one another. Godwin shares Weeks opinion on the alikeness of his books. Godwin says Conroy is excessive in some aspects, but his ambition is admirable (Votteler 45).

Lamar York thinks The Boo was a primitive beginning for his writing (Votteler 47). The Beach Music plot is too similar to Prince of Tides. Every problem in Prince of Tides format is magnified in this book . Too much time is wasted on telling about the Holocaust in Beach Music. The book spends 11 pages in a convent, 17 pages fighting Cossacks, and 27 enduring Nazis (Budman 1). In conclusion, Pat Conroy has no specific genre. It could be classified under auto-biographical; or fiction (Burns 5). Conroy mixes fiction and biography, with suspense and intrigue, and comes out with a book that, no matter how many flaws it has, you can not put down.

One of the greatest gifts you can get as a writer is to be born into an unhappy family,” Conroy once said (Starr 3). Pat Conroy received this gift from Don and Peg Conroy on October 26, 1945 in Atlanta, Georgia. His writings are reflections of this life he received so long ago. He was born into a traditional Catholic family. His father was a Marine Corps fighter pilot, and his mother was a socially eager house wife (Disc. Auth. 1-2). Pat was the first of seven children and 6 miscarriages. Family life was so bad that his sister once said, “The miscarriages were the lucky ones.

Pat says he served in the Marine Corps since the day he was born (Burns 5). His harsh fathers job required the family to move constantly. Conroy has moved 23 times in his life (Castro 2). He changed school 11 times in 12 years (bdd 1). They finally settled in Beaufort, South Carolina. Pat finished high school there in 1963(Disc. Auth. 1). He attended the Citadel on a basketball scholarship (Castro 2). While there, he became the literary editor for the school magazine (Disc. Auth. 1). He also became captain and MVP of the basketball team (Bdd 1). While he was attending the Citadel, he learned many important lessons of life (Burns 5).

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