In Alan Sillitoe's The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, the character of Smith is introduced. Smith is a man with his own standards, beliefs, values, and battles. He goes through the story thinking and rationalizing his decisions of the past present and the future. In the end one had to derive whether his decisions are morally expectable or not.
The prosecution will show that Smith has no intentions of changing his attitude, or his actions toward society.
The defense will show that Smith may have committed some physical crimes, but it is at the fault of his upbringing, and the society around the misguided adolescent.
Smith wants to assert himself and not be led along like a racehorse, which is what the Governor treats him like. To do this he must take the one thing he does well, his running, and turn it into his advantage. Smith is cunning and appears to want to please the Governor. Smith says, "I admit there has been times I thought of telling the Governor, but I've changed my mind (Sillitoe, 18)." The Governor is also cunning, and tries to appear like he wants to help or reform Smith. The Governor says, " We want hard honest work and good athletics, if you give us both these things you can be sure we"ll do right by you, and send you back to the world an honest man (Sillitoe, 9)." Smith mentions that if he is honest the way the Governor wants him to be, then he must win the race for the Governor. Smith remains skeptical when he talks about the Governor and the other in-laws wanting him to join the army after he is released from the Borstal. Smith wants the in-laws to know that the people that they deal with are just that; people with their own ideas and goals. He refuses to accept the value system of the in-laws and by losing the race, he believes he retains his independence.
Before the race, Smith is valued by the in-laws for the prestige of his, expected victory.