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The Darkness Inside

In: English and Literature

Submitted By JRH26
Words 1450
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The Darkness Inside

Built inside every human being is the need to abide by law, and to act civilised. But hidden much deeper, is the temptation to resist acting lawfully and resort to savagery. Sometimes, these two impulses conflict with one another and people are confused as to which desire to follow through with. In William Golding's Lord of the Flies, Jack acts no differently. In the beginning of the novel Jack never strays from the law, he is always civil and lawful. As the novel progresses he forgets about society and wants to obtain power. He is not given what he wants and uses violence to obtain power.

Powerful people often resort to violence in order to control others. As Piggy tries to correct Jacks mistakes, Jack resorts to violence towards Piggy. The text subsequently shows Jack punching Piggy in the stomach, “This from Piggy, and the wails of agreement from some of the hunters drove Jack to violence.”(pg.71) This quote shows that when people demand power, they resort to violence to obtain their power, such as Jack did towards Piggy. This is significant because when too many people want to obtain power, they will all resort in violence to achieve what they yearn. Evidence that violence leads is a means of control is reflected throughout the book. Jack uses violence and the kids fear him, therefore he gains power. Ralph asserts his dominance in chapter two by interrupting others so he can be heard over the other kids, which is another way of showing how he wants to obtain power. It is not necessarily physical violence, like Jack has done, but verbal violence. This is Ralph’s way of asserting dominance to obtain power. “Shut up! Wait! Listen!” (pg.46) This quote shows how language is power too. Instead of physical violence Ralph manipulates the other boys by dominating their social hierarchy. We know this doesn't work in the Lord of the Flies because the groups split up into tribes, but also in the real world. If people didn't have a say in our government, then the government would completely crumble and would be corrupt, such as it did in the Lord of the Flies. This affects all of the kids but especially Piggy. Piggy is considered by many readers to be the most important character in the book because of his intelligence. Without his voice, impenetrable dilemmas cannot be elucidated. This connects to violence because when people are not heard, some people thrash out in violence to be heard, such as when Jack is not voted for chief. When Jack is not voted for chief he pulls a common eleven year old move, he cries, yells and throws a fit but in a more savage, inhumane way. Instead of the common fit, he splits off from the group creating his own tribe where he can be his own leader and have all of the control he wants. Prior to this quote, Roger follows Henry down the beach line, it is unclear what he is going to do until he starts to gather rocks. “Roger gathered a handful of stones and began to throw them. Yet there was a space round Henry, perhaps six yards in diameter, into which he dare not throw.” (pg.56) This passage from Chapter 4 describes the beginnings of Roger’s cruelty to the littluns, an important early step in the group’s decline into savagery. At this point in the novel we think Jack is the antagonist and Ralph and Piggy are the protagonists. Golding gives subtle hints throughout the book that display Roger’s savagery, this quote being one of the first. As we have learned in the book we know that power is obtained through violence, so we can infer that Roger wants to obtain the most power and take the chief’s spot from Jack or Ralph. Roger feels the urge to torment Henry, the littlun, by pelting him with stones. A few chapters later the boys actions reflect a loss of all morals and a 180 degree turn away from laws and civilized behavior. Before long Roger commits murder, he rolls a giant boulder off of a ledge and it swings down and kills Piggy. This is the point in the book that we see Roger’s real savagery. In chapter eleven Ralph and Piggy jaunt to Jack’s side of the island in search of Piggy's glasses. After an argument, chaos breaks out and Roger pulls the large lever that released the gigantic boulder that sent Piggy flying off of the cliff. "The rock struck Piggy a glancing blow from chin to knee; the conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist."(pg.181) This quote is significant because it proves the theme, powerful people may resort to violence in order to control others, plausible. Roger pursues this act because he too, is in search of power, as well as Jack. Ensuing the death of Piggy, Jack hurls his spear at Ralph grazing his chest. Jack undertakes this action because this is his chance to take the chief’s spot, what he was trying to accomplish the entire time. The only way to obtain the power and the title of chief is to kill Ralph, which Jack tries to do.

Powerful people may resort to violence in order to control others. In Lord of the Flies, the boys use “id” in order to obtain power. Ralph refers back to his social class as chief often to remind the others of his power. “You voted me for chief, now you do what I say.” (pg81) This quote shows how Ralph uses id, and his social class to control the others. This is important because if all of the boys want to gain power, then they will have to be in a higher social class. If you want to be in a higher social class then you need to have control or dominance over others. In order to achieve that, you have to use violence, to climb to the top to have the power and control all of the boys are seeking and desire. Early on in the book Ralph, the dominant leader reminds the boys of the laws to keep them in check. This soon crumbles when Jack realizes violence is the key to obtain power in their social system. Prior to the naval officer arriving on the island, Jack was trying to smoke Ralph out of hiding. “We saw your smoke. What have you been doing? Having a war or something?” (pg.201) In the book we came to realize that Jack wanted to stay on the island to be his own leader and not abide by society's laws. Ironically, it is Jacks actions, setting the forest on fire, that actually get the kids rescued by the naval officer. An example of irony is that the naval officer, who is at war himself, thinks that these twelve year old kids are just playing a game, but really the kids are also at war just like him. This connects to the psychoanalytic theory because the boys, especially Ralph come in check with their “superego”. Ralph completes a cycle that starts with superego, at the beginning of the book. Then he move to id and ego when he is a contribution of the death of Simon. Then he moves back to superego when he is rescued. As Ralph is surrounded by the hunters and Jack, Ralph weeps in front of the naval officer. “Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy.” (pg.209) Ralph doesn’t weep for joy, but to mourn what had happened on this island. A peace of darkness will continue to stay with all of these kids even if they do go back to the “civilized world”. Ralph’s weeping also causes the savages among him to weep as well. They weep because they finally realize what they have done on this island. As a twelve year they have killed to kids, one over a nonexistent beast, and the other over glasses. This part of the book is so important because the boys transform from id to superego when they are exposed to “reality” and society. In a broken society violence is often used to control others. In a society with no structure, people are driven by their id in order to survive. This results in violence towards others because using id allows people to obliterate morals which allows them to survive. Golding presents how any person can initially have superego, then completely transform into id just from the compulsion of power.

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