25 March 2019
Dividing a Community
In William Golding's, The Lord of the Flies, a group of English boys are stranded on the island, with no adults. This gives a raw sense of mutability to the plot, and the characters, six to twelve year old boys. This establishes a hierarchy, the “bigguns” being the government and the “littluns” being whom they govern. There has essentially been formed a society on the island. Naturally, the main problem revolves around the bigguns. Very early in the book it is known that there lies tension between Jack and Ralph. Ralph was elected leader fair and square, but Jack thinks that he is more fit and yearns to prove himself to the other boys. This is basically our government in the real world. Now, and in history, we always find ourselves in the midst of a problem caused by the views of those who are higher up in the power pyramid, and have even been known to split in two like, like how the boys do in the book when Jack brings upon the idea of separating his and ralph’s loyal companions. Knowing that the boys are very representative of a society, how does a real world community or society respond to civil disagreement?
In chapter eight of the novel, Jack is trying to usurp Ralphs throne. He feels that Ralph is making bad decisions when it comes to running things, and thinks that it’s more important to hunt and gather meat than to build shelter and signal possible rescuers. He takes the conch and calls a meeting, and criticizes Ralph for following Piggy’s advice. However, he does not win this. No one had voted for Jack while he held the conch, the conch being a symbol for democracy and order. Jack cries after this, and says, “I’m not going to play with you [Ralph], not any longer.” (127) This is when he confidently states that he was leaving anyway, and despite the rest of the choir boys voting for Ralph moments earlier, Jack seems to have lured them away from Ralph with the promise of a better tribe with meat and lots of hunting. The Choir obviously sided with Jack only after he picked up the “I don’t need you guys but if you need me then join me” act, which promised plentiful food and loser rules and more fun. Being 12 year old boys, it was hard to turn that down, especially when Ralph and Piggy are “dragging on” about work and rescue and their plan.
The whole concept of a problem in the hierarchy of a community causing a split in population mirrors a war that started in 2013 and continues today. The South Sudanese Civil war. This war was started when the president, President Kiir, accused some of his officials of plotting to overthrow him. This sparked battles and violence between the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the government. Those who are fighting against the government believe that they are too restricted by the government as well as looked at as lesser. In the article on BBC News titled South Sudan: What is the Fighting About? The question, “Was there a coup plot [plan to overthrow the president].” In response it reads, “It is not clear. It started as a political squabble and has escalated into ethnic violence. President Kiir believes there was and has pointed the finger of blame at Mr Machar.” This shows that the presidents accusation of there being a mutiny is one of the reasons for all of the disagreement and violence. In the book, it is not an accusation made by Ralph being made but an intention of Jack’s. It’s easy to see the representation of government and society from how smoothly the event from the book and the one from the real world compare and fit into each other.
There’s a lot to look at and take out of most books, especially The Lord of The Flies, and although there are other ways to connect the text to the real world, the topic of dividing is a major contributor to the plot of the story. Comparing “the split” in the book to the split in Sudan to each other makes a lot of sense in the sense that both events involved the idea of mutiny. This shows that not only will a community divide at the sight of disagreement or internal conflict but often times there will be people stabbing each other in the back and committing acts of betrayal and/or distrust. In the novel, betrayal lurks within the boys early on as Jack seeks to take leadership over Ralph. In Sudan it was the leader who could not trust his subordinate, in fear of betrayal. In conclusion, it's justifiable to read and perceive The Lord of the Flies as a simply-put representation of government and societal issues inevitably causing divide amongst groups and foul play amongst individuals.
“South Sudan: What Is the Fighting about?” BBC News, BBC, 10 May 2014, www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-25427965.
“When Do the Boys Definitively Split into Two Hostile Groups?” Enotes.com, Enotes.com, www.enotes.com/homework-help/when-does-group-definitively-split-two-hostility-64141.
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. Penguin Books, 2006