Lord Of The Flies The Lord of the Flies Symbolic significance and an In-depth look in the characters of this story Ryan Farrelly DUE Monday May 24, 1999 Mrs. Ferrelli English 8 Honors In viewing the aspects of the island society, the author William Golding’s Lord of the Flies as a symbolic microcosm of society. He chooses to set the children alone in an unsupervised world, leaving them to learn the ways of the world in a natural setting first hand. Many different perspectives can also be considered. Golding’s island of marooned youngsters becomes a microcosm. The island represents the individual human and the various characters represent the elements of the human psyche.
In My readings I learned that there were deep physiological symbols which led me to investigate into numerous psychology and sociology books. I realized that Golding’s world of children’s morals and actions then becomes a survey of the human condition, both individually and collectively. Almost textbook in their portrayal, the primary characters Jack, Ralph and Piggy are then best interpreted by Freud’s concepts of id, ego and the superego, respectively Traditional psychoanalytic theory states that all human beings are born with instinctual drives that are constantly active even though a person is usually not conscious of thus being driven. Two drives known for sexual pleasure, called libido, the other called aggression In discovering the thrill of the hunt, Jacks pleasure drive is emphasized. In one point in he book Jack said to Ralph you should have been there with us Ralph. We had a smashing time This statement was made right after Jack had violently had killed a gutted a mother pig.
This emphasizes the fact that the boys are losing sight of reality drifting further and further down the river of fantasies. Ralph on the other hand is still in contact with the rash, civil part of his personality lecturing Jack about how he let the fire go out when that was there only rescue. Freud saw this gratification to be one of the basic human needs. In much the same way, Golding portrayed the hunt as a rape with the boys ravenously jumping on top of the pig and brutalizing it. This alludes to Freud’s explanation of the pleasure drive, he called the libido.
The term serves as a dual intent in its psychodynamic and physically sexual sense. Jack’s unwillingness to acknowledge the conch as the source of centrality on the island and Ralph as the seat of power is consistent with the portrayal of his self-importance. Jack’s lack of compassion for nature, for others, and ultimately for himself is evidenced in his needless hunting. This is proved by his role in the brutal murders of Simon and Piggy, and finally in his burning of the entire island, even at the cost of his owns life. In much the same way, Piggy’s demeanor and very character links him to the superego, the conscience factor in Freud’s model of the psyche. Golding marks Piggy with the distinction of being more intellectually mature than the others, branding him with a connection to a higher authority: At the very beginning of the story Piggy remarks to Ralph arent there any adults at all? this shows his nervousness being in a situation without anyone to supervise or watch over the actions of the children. the outside world.
It is because the superego is dependent on outside support that Piggy fares the worst out of the three major characters due to the isolation of the island. Piggy is described as being more socially compatible with adults, and carries himself with a sense of rationale and purpose that often serves as Ralph’s moral compass in crisis; although Ralph initially uses the conch to call the others, it is Piggy who possesses the knowledge to blow it as a signal despite his inability to do so because of his bad ass-mar. Piggy is the rational one who tries to help but is never appreciated. At one point he suggests building a clock to keep some type of order. The responses he gets show the groups disinterest in time and order. Piggy says ..We could have a sundial each.
Then we should know what time it was. HE gets a response a fat a lot of good that would be. Jack doesnt want time, time is a form of organization and order. Things have a time and a place when they are organized. ( my mother Stacey Farrelly ) Similarly, Piggy’s glasses are the only artifact of outside technology on the island.
In an almost gothic vein, these glasses are the only source used to produce fire on the island, not only necessary for the boys’ rescue, but responsible for their ultimate destruction. Than fire, and likewise Piggy’s glasses, become a source of power. Piggy’s ideals are those most in conflict with Jack’s overwhelming hunger for power and satiation. It is between these representations of chaos and order that Ralph falls. Golding’s depiction of Ralph as leader is comparable to Freud’s placement of the ego at the center of the psyche.
Ralph acts as the island’s ego, this means that he is trying to keep order and rules, as he must offset the raw desires of the id, which is controlling the need to hunt, kill, destroy ect. This definition is consistent with Ralph’s actions. He patronizes Jack’s wish to hunt and their collective needs to be rescued, often turning to Piggy for advice. Initially, in the relative harmony of the island society’s early emergence, Ralph is able to balance the opposing id and superego influences in order to forge a purpose: rescue. It is only as the balance evolves that the fate of the island’s inhabitants is determined. While the Id of the island, represented by Jack, gets stronger and gains more and more control, Ralph representing the ego is losing power and will eventually give into the pressure of nature.
Ralph is continuously looking for a way out which shows he still Among Ralph, Piggy and Jack exists a constant struggle to assert their own visions of the island. As the authority of leadership by default falls to Ralph, the conch then becomes symbolic of their conscious. Its possession rotates between Ralph and Piggy in determining the logical course of action for the boys. Jack however, constantly refrains from the authority of the conch, consistent with the id remaining in the subconscious, but fully able to exert influence over decision-making. The masks and face-paints that Jack’s group of hunters wear, are very suggestive.
The hidden and secretive nature of the boys’ faces beneath their disguises helps them to camouflage, blending them into the background of the island foliage, and making them feel like one with the island. At one point Golding writes He looked is astonishment, no longer at himself but at an awesome stranger This shows the transformation between the boys and the warriors that they want to be. The boys think that when they have the masks on that they are no longer them selves, that this gives them the right to hunt and kill. I think that the boys wear the masks so they can tell themselves that it wasnt them who is killing and that way they wouldnt feel guilty as society has taught them to. Their actions go generally unnoticed, but still have great impact on the island as they kill and destroy, eventually overhunting the pigs they so desperately need to survive.
The general assembly of the island is torn between the conch and the hunters. This becomes symbolically valid. The conch was a symbol of authority using it to limit ones talking time and to gather everyone for a group meeting. The hunters didnt follow the rules of the conch rebelling against its meaning. The initial scar caused by the boys’ arrival on the island, presents the first sign of damage to paradise.
The scar is caused by the plane when it went down when the bias had first arrived. The plane left a huge gash in the woods, this shows that even before the boys set foot on the island their presence was a destructive force on this island. As such, other analyses of the island must be taken into in a greater context. Piggy’s intellectual maturity, and Ralph’s eventual rescue at the hands of British naval officers are indicative of the role of the seemingly absent adult world on the island. It seems like the world of an adult to the boys, and its virtuosity is elevated it to a much higher level than the everyday life on the island.
Ralph and Piggy’s desire to be rescued becomes a form of faith and a renewed form of spirituality for the boys. The signal fire then develops into a plea for divine salvation, communicating to the adult world a wish to be rescued spiritually. Ralph and Piggy want to return where it is civilized and peoples actions are governed. They know they are going to need the other boys help in the effort to take back control of the island. They try to convince the others that it will be better if they go back.
For Jack I think that he likes it better here, here he is in control and has seniority people are afraid of him and he likes that power rather than being a quire boy. It is Jack and his hunters that care not for the maintenance for the fire, despite the fact that it is their only means off the island. The true downward turn in the island/person then comes as Ralph loses control of the boys and they become Jack’s hunters. This is shown when Ralph is running from the boys, during the chase Golding write There are many things he could do. He could climb a tree; but that was putting all his eggs in one basket.
If he were detected, hey had nothing more difficult than to wait This shows that the once calm fair hared boy that was cool and confident in the beginning was starting to lose his head. The death of Piggy was a blow to the islands social make-up and Piggy’s subsequent death. Golding’s reasons for pursuing this course of action in the sociology of the island are debatable. While it may be a mere exciting plot device, it is also very possible within the context of the macrocosm that Golding is in fact, portraying the island as a person in decay. Previous events including the crash, which could symbolize death and various untended wildfires indicate the island has suffered substantial trauma and loss. Golding’s choice to generate conflict between the id and the ego may well be a symbol for a greater crisis for the island/person, where it is reduced to an internalized battle between its two fundamental psychological processes.
A mental patient fighting against sanity or a sane person fighting insanity, was this an attempt at suicide or a fight for the rein? Bibliography Works Cited 1. Lord of the Flies . written by William Golding Published by the Berkley Publishing group 200 Madison Ave. New York, New York 10016 2. Grolliers, Online Interactive Encyclopedia Copyright 1997 3. Sociology; written by Richard T.
Schaefer, Robert P. Lamm Published by the McGraw-Hill, INC. Copyright 1995 4. Psychology, written by John W. Santrock Published by the Brown & Benchmark publishers Madison WI. Copyright 1997 Sociology Essays.