LOTF Essay- Kirkland

In the book the Lord of the Flies by William Golding, a group of boys are stranded on an island. They have no guidance, and even worse, they have no way to get off. They decide to work together to stay alive. There are around twenty boys in total, but Jack is considered to be the main antagonist of the group. He is a ticking time bomb, even from the beginning, but as the story goes on, he progressively becomes more and more deranged.  This is similar predicament to that of Kanye West. He was known to be a man who spoke up on more taboo issues in society, even when those things could have gotten into a troubling situation. He is now distracted by his title and his role in the rap game. The main thing that these two very different individuals have in common is that they both were always a little unstable, but when they were put into the positions of high power, they changed for the worse. This effect on Jack and Kanye West demonstrates how power has the ability to transform one’s sense of self in multiple negative ways.

Initially, Jack does an okay job at being apart of the team. He makes compromises with other boys, obeys orders, and hunts for pigs. He, in general, did a very good job at trying to make sure that everything on the island went smoothly. Kanye, on the other hand, also did a great job of shaking the table in Hollywood. He was very vocal about his opinions and he was considered to be a voice for the world when the world didn’t want to speak about certain issues. A good example is his songs, “Diamonds from Sierra Leone,” which tells the story of ‘blood diamonds’, the majority of which are mined using child slave labor in African countries like Sierra Leone.  Another example is his song, “All Falls Down,” which is mainly a self-reflection of his own personal battle with consumerism. A good quote that stands out is, “We'll buy a lot of clothes, but we don't really need 'em, things we buy to cover up what's inside, 'cause they made us hate ourself and love they wealth, that's why shorty's hollerin', "Where the ballers at?” Drug dealer buy Jordans, crackhead buy crack, and the white man get paid off of all of that.” He also discusses other issues in society, such as the problematic judicial and education systems of white America. Acting as a normal human being in their respective worlds, with nothing special about them, Jack and Kanye both were relatively productive beings who knew to do the right thing, and usually did so.

On the island, all’s well for a while, but eventually, chaos ensues. The boys break up into two groups, the bigger group being led by Jack. He was always quite unhinged, but when he gets into the position of power over the boys, he begins to change. They describe this on page 160, “The chief was sitting there, naked to the waist, his face blocked out in white and red. The tribe lay in a semicircle before him.” Before this point in the book, Jack was always referred to by his name. Now, though, he forces himself to be called chief by the other boys that he’s leading. This shift in power has made him feel as though he is better than the rest of the boys. The name change shows a more authoritative tone, and the fact that he wants to be called chief 100% of the time is questionable because there was no logical reason for him to do so. This situation is almost mirrored by Kanye’s. After consistent critical acclaim as a producer, songwriter, and activist, he almost ruins his career at the 2009 VMA’s. That year, Taylor Swift won an award for Video of the Year for her song, “You Belong With Me”. As she was giving her speech, Kanye ran up on the stage and said, “Yo Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’ll let you finish, but Beyoncé has one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time!” This lead to him becoming a social pariah, and he left the limelight for a couple of months. This stunt led to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, which, fortunately for him, is thought of by many to be the best albums made by him to date. From here, he began to shift as a person. After MBDTF, he released Yeezus, in which he repeatedly states that he only wants to be called Yeezus, because he feels as though he is a god and should be treated as such.

By the end of the book, Jack had become a heartless leader. This was visible with the deaths of Simon and Piggy. He made excuses about them dying, felt no guilt, and convinced the boys to do the same because of his power over them. This is a significant shift in Jack’s character. On the other hand, Kanye has also shifted into a completely different person than who he was before. More recently, he has endorsed Donald Trump, which completely conflicts anything that he’s fought for/wanted before. For those who don’t know, Trump is constantly in the news for being a racist, a sexist, and extremely xenophobic, something that Kanye constantly spoke about as a issue in society constantly on previous occasions.  

Seeing these examples of the change of both Kanye and Jack should be more than enough evidence that the way that people think about themselves are almost always changed when they are made to feel better or more superior than someone else. When people are are made to feel that they are better than the next guy, they begin to believe it. It is easy to let that get to one’s head and transform the way that one thinks about themselves and others. In order to avoid this from happening, our society would have to remind people of what we all are: a set of flesh and bones. One set of flesh and bones is not better than another.