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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Lord Of The Flies Thesis - 1434 words
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INTELLIGENCE, CIVILIZATION, AND INSTINCTS Often times, authors use characters in their novels and stories as symbols. The characters may be symbolic of the tangible as well as the non-tangible. In addition, characters can often be looked at with a psychological approach to literature in order to better determine or understand their symbolic significance. In William Golding's Lord of the Flies, special symbolic significance may be found in the characters, Piggy, Ralph, and Jack. Piggy, the heavy, asthmatic, nearsighted boy, was often teased and ridiculed, however Golding made it obvious to the reader that Piggy was indeed the super ego.
Piggy symbolizes all the hate and discrimination in the world. If it was not for Piggy's bizarre appearance, he may have been made ruler of the island, and he certainly was the most suited for the job. He also symbolizes intelligence. He was analogous to sanity and reason. "Piggy's role as a man's reasoning faculties him as a father" (Rosenfield 264)
Piggy always used ideal judgment and was the island's only adult-like figure. He demonstrated this at a tribal meeting after the boys nearly burned down the island:"I got the conch! Just you listen! The first thing we ought to have made was shelters down there by the beach. It wasn't half cold there in the night but the first time Ralph says 'fire' you goes howling and screaming up this here mountain. Like a pack of kids!" By now they were listening to the tirade."How can you expect to be rescued if you don't put first things first and act proper?"He took off his glasses and made as if to put down the conch; but the sudden motion towards it of most of the older boys changed his mind. He tucked the shell under his arm, and crouched back on a rock."Then when you get here you build a bonfire that isn't no use.
Now you been and set the whole island on fire. Won't we look funny if the whole island burns up? Cooked fruit, that's what we'll have to eat, and roast pork. And that's nothing to laugh at! You said Ralph was chief and you don't give him time to think. Then when he says something you rush off, like, like-" He paused for breath, and the fire growled at them."And that's not all. Them kids. The little 'uns.
Who took any notice of 'em? Who knows how many we got?" Ralph took a sudden step forward (Golding 45).Then after a brief argument with Jack, he continued:"--and them little 'uns was wandering about down there where the fire is. How d'you know they aren't still there?"Piggy stood up and pointed to the smoke and flames. A murmur rose among the boys and died away. Something strange was happening to Piggy, for he was gasping for breath."That little 'un-" gasped Piggy-"him with the mark on his face, I don't see him. Where is he now?"The crowd was as silent as death (Golding 46).When Piggy finally was given a chance to speak, he pointed out everything the boys on the island had been doing wrong, like a father lecturing his child. If Piggy was made chief, things may have been different and none of these negative effects would have struck the island. All of this shows how Piggy symbolizes prejudice, intelligence, and a father-like figure to the boys on the island.
Ralph, who was made chief, transformed the island from a barbarity to a civilized society. He represents civilization. Ralph was the chief, or leader. He was the head of all civilized society on the island. He was constantly concerned with rules, and was extremely articulate on how he wanted things ran. He demonstrated this in an argument with Jack:"There was a ship.
Out there. You said you'd keep the fire going and you let it out!" He took a step toward Jack, who turned and faced him."They might have seen us. We might have gone home-"This was too bitter for Piggy, who forgot his timidity and the agony of his loss. He began to cry out shrilly:"You and you're blood, Jack Merridew! You and your hunting! We might have gone home-"Ralph pushed Piggy to one side."I was chief, and you were going to do what I said. You talk.
But you can't even build huts-then you go off hunting and let out the fire-"He turned away, silent for a moment. Then his voice came again on a peak of feeling."There was a ship-"One of the small hunters began to wail. The dismal truth was filtering through to everybody. Jack went very red as he hacked and pulled at the pig."The job was too much. We needed everyone."Ralph turned."You could have had everyone when the shelters were finished.
But you had to hunt (Golding 70)."Not only does this show how Ralph wanted everything orderly; it further determines him as a symbol of civilization. Ralph rejected the hunting, which may seem to some as barbaric. He instead insisted on shelter and being rescued which would bring him and the rest of the boys back to a civilized society. Rosenfield said, "Ralph is every man or every child" (Rosenfield 263). Civilization is man's higher instinct.
If basic survival instincts are taken away, one can perceive that civilization is somewhat instinctive. Every man or every child instinctively wants to form a society, whether consciously, or not. Therefore, Rosenfield's metaphor further depicts Ralph as a symbol for civilization. These aspects should make to it clear that Ralph symbolized civilization in Lord of the Flies. The barbaric, hunting, choir leader, Jack can be compared to a wild Indian.
Jack knew the land and knew how to survive, just as the Native Americans did. He found food and relied on his natural instincts to keep himself healthy. He does not represent the civilization instinct that Ralph represents, but rather the opposite. Jack represents man's barbaric instincts that allow survival. Jack's instincts kicked in at the beginning of the novel when the boys first were deciding on what needed to be done.
Jack immediately knew hunting would be necessary. Golding proves this to the readers when he says, "Jack broke in. 'All the same you need an army-for hunting. Hunting pigs-'" (Golding 32). Golding depicts Jack as a wild beast by the language he uses to describe him. Golding makes it very clear to the reader in this passage that Jack symbolizes instincts: Here, struck down by the heat, the sow fell and the hunters hurled themselves at her. This dreadful eruption from an unknown world made her frantic; she squealed and bucked and the air was full of sweat and noise and blood and terror. Roger ran round the heat, prodding with his spear whenever pigflesh appeared.
Jack was on top of the sow, stabbing downward with his knife. Roger found a lodgment for his point and began to push till he was leaning with his whole weight. The spear moved forward inch by inch and the terrified squealing became a high-pitched scream. Then Jack found the throat and the hot blood spouted over his hands. The sow collapsed under them and they were heavy and fulfilled upon her. The butterflies still danced, preoccupied in the center of the clearing (Golding 135).Golding uses certain language to make this scene sound like a rape.
Sex is often associated with the id of psychological literary criticism. The id is also associated with basic human instincts. This further identifies the symbolic significance linked with Jack. After reading Lord of the Flies, it is obvious to one that Jack symbolizes natural human instincts. After reading this essay and Golding's novel, one now has a better understanding of the symbolic significance or the characters: Piggy, Ralph, and Jack. Piggy, symbolic of intelligence and prejudice, can be most closely compared to a modern-day "geek." The geek may not seem to be of importance because of their awkwardness, but may be extremely intelligent.
Ralph is the chief, leader, and symbol of civilization. He is the President of United States. He leads the society and governs the people. Finally, Jack, the barbaric hunter who symbolized human instincts is like the ancient cave man that hunted the wholly mammoth. Both survived solely on instinctive motives.
When one understands the symbolic significance in a novel, they are able to better interpret the novel and understand it to a much fuller and broader extent.WORKS CITEDGolding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Perigee Books, 1954.Rosenfield. "Men of a Smaller Growth.".
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