recently i watched the movie 300. personal taste i suppose but i thought it was great. the scene depicted here where the barefoot boy is out on his own in the snow and slays a wolf to prove his worth reminded me of a case i saw.
when i was working at witbank in the winter we admitted two boys, about 16years old each. they came in from initiation school. they had been taken into the mountains, barefoot and left out in the cold, to prove their manhood. their toes froze off. the one ended in a forefoot amputation and the other lost a toe here and there. somehow the reality of that sort of thing took from the magic of that scene oin the movie. i couldn't help wondering how good a soldier you make if you deprive him of his feet.
to be honest in our neck of the woods we don't really get very bad initiation school injuries. in the eastern cape where the initiation culminates in circumcision, their regular gangrene results in amputations far worse than mere toes and feet. ironic to start your journey as a 'man' without that specific anatomic attachment.
what i found very interesting with our patients was that when they heard they would have to have operations, their main concern was would they be out of hospital in time for the final ceremony of the initiation school which would confirm them as men and no longer boys. the fact that they wuuld go into life partly crippled paled in comparison to the possibility of continuing life as a boy and never achieving manhood (in their view). interesting to view these sorts of things. i really felt for them. i also was once again reminded of the fragile male ego. different in different cultures, but it's amazing what we would go through to be viewed as men.
but despite all this, i still thought it was a great movie.