The Beast in Modern Religion
During a nuclear war, an evacuation plane filled with English schoolboys crash-lands on an uninhabited island. The boys attempt to govern themselves as their humanity quickly escapes them. A central theme present throughout William Golding’s 1954 Nobel Prize-Winning novel Lord of The Flies is the temperament of the Christian god. The exploration of this theme in Golding’s work spawned from The Coral Island, a 19th Century children’s book by R. M. Ballantyne that focuses on Christian ideals. Golding flipped these ideals on their heads in Lord of The Flies and introduces a mysterious, existential ‘beast’ that was manifested by a group of boys desperate for spiritual leadership. Lord of the Flies juxtaposes civilization and salvation against savagery and fear. The boys’ ready conformity to the beast shows that humans can be just as, if not more successful, when given something to fear rather than something to strive for. In the real world, religions often rely on a fearsome, vengeful god to motivate a particular set of behavior.
The uninhabited island that the boys are stranded on is a microcosm of life on Earth. On the island, as in real life, humans are left to seek their own meaning and spiritual guidance. Some guidance rests on a benevolent god while others rely on a vengeful one to shape human behavior. While on an expedition to learn more about the island, Ralph, Jack, and Simon realize that they had landed on paradise. “‘But this is a good island. We-Jack, Simon, and me-we climbed the mountain. It’s wizard. There’s food and drink, and-’ ‘Rocks-’ ‘Blue flowers-’... ‘While we’re waiting we can have a good time on this island’” (p. 34) Mother nature, repleted with all the resources needed for survival and enjoyment, represents the loving, giving god. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that “God created everything for man, but man in turn was created to serve and love God and to offer all creation back to him” (Part 1; Section 2; Chapter 1; Article 1; Paragraph 6; Line 358) Thus, in the Catholic religion, god is a loving provider as long as humanity also demonstrates love. Yet, the boys in the novel do not follow the path of the loving, giving god. Instead, they follow the way of the Beast.
The beast is modeled after the Christian devil as evidenced by the fact that his name, The Lord of the Flies refers to Beelzebub, the devil. The chapter titles related to the Beast in Golding’s book (e.g., Beast from Water) also have parallels in The Book of Revelation (e.g., Beast from Sea). It is by this fearsome, vengeful beast that the boys are motivated to collaborate. Prior to the discovery of the beast, most of the boys merely bask in the beauty of the island. “They’re hopeless, The older ones aren’t much better. D’you see? All day I’ve been working with Simon. No one else. They’re off bathing, or eating, or playing” (p. 50) It isn’t until their fear and devotion towards the beast develop that the boys begin to create and achieve goals. For one, they manage to hunt successfully and engage in a religious sacrificial ceremony. “Jack held up the head and jammed the soft throat down on the pointed end of the stick which pierced through into the mouth...‘This head is for the beast. It’s a gift’” (p. 136-7) The beast requires sacrifices and easily manipulates the boys’ behavior by instilling fear. The Christian god has similar requirements. “Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, On those who hope for His loving kindness, To deliver their soul from death And to keep them alive in famine” (Psalm 33:18-19) It is common find the fear of god being considered a positive trait in Abrahamic religions. A god-fearing man is trustworthy because he fears God’s wrath, whereas the Pharaoh, for example, who did not fear God was visited by calamity and ended up with his nation destroyed.
Outside of religious text, psychological studies generally agree on the power of fear to incite actions. The article, “God’s Punishment and Public Goods,” shows that fear of God does in fact lead to stronger cooperation. “Cooperation towards public goods relies on credible threats of punishment to deter cheats. However, punishing is costly, so it remains unclear who incurred the costs of enforcement in our evolutionary past. Theoretical work suggests that human cooperation may be promoted if people believe in supernatural punishment for moral transgressions.” Other studies also support the superiority of fear over other motivators. According to “Psychology Today,” “There are many things that motivate us. But the most powerful motivator of all is fear. Fear is a primal instinct that served us as cave dwellers and today. It keeps us alive.” Moreover, a meta-analysis on fear published on Sage Journals “suggests that strong fear appeals produce high levels of perceived severity and susceptibility, and are more persuasive than low or weak fear appeals.” In other words, not only is fear an effective motivator, more fear is even more effective. In terms of the Lord of the Flies, being eaten by the Beast certainly qualifies as high severity and in terms of Abrahamic religions, there is no higher stake than eternal damnation!
Another indication that Golding intends to suggest fear as the main driver for human actions is that Beast, like all emotions, is not external to the boys. Beast is actually an emotional expression of the boys. In the novel, The Lord of The Flies speaks with Simon, teaching him about the true origin and nature of the beast. “‘You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you?” (p. 143) “Simon found he was looking into a vast mouth. There was blackness within, a blackness that spread... ‘We shall do you? See? Jack and Roger and Maurice and Robert and Bill and Piggy and Ralph. Do you. See?’” (p. 144) Jack, Roger, Maurice, Robert, Bill, Piggy, Ralph and finally Simon are incorporated into the belly of the beast. Thus, the Beast, which represents fear, is manifested by the boys. The notion that the manifestation of a destructive god can be a powerful determinant of human behavior is found in Hinduism. Hinduism is a polytheistic religion with 33 deities representing various aspects of humans. The three principle deities are Brahma, the creator; Vishnu, the preserver; and Shiva, the destroyer. Shiva is the agent for change. Only when Shiva wrecks havoc to the status quo would humans change their behavior. Otherwise, Vishnu would continue to preserve. Hindus commonly greet each other with the word, “Namaste,” which translates to “I bow to the god inside of you.” In Hinduism, humans are in control of manifesting their own universe. Every object, incident, or emotion that exists is a creation of their minds, just like the Beast is a creation of the boys so that they can be led to actions that are meaningful for them.
By transporting life on earth into a small paradise island and shrinking humanity into a group of English schoolboys, William Golding cleverly implores his readers to take a step back in order to fully view human life for what it truly is. He showcases the power of fear as the superior motivator by imbuing the vengeful god found in various religions into Beast who scares the boys into action. Golding’s philosophical view of fear is supported by a plethora of psychological studies on the topic, ranging from fear of god, to fear of evil, to fear of death. The Lord of The Flies takes this negative fear and flips it into a more positive outlook on life. After all, the boys create Beast for their own survival. While keeping the ever-present and looming inevitability and uncertainty of death throughout the book, Golding does not ever imply that life is unimportant or inconsequential. In fact, he conveys the importance of life and actions during one’s lifetime because there is a constant fear of death. He suggests simply that the fear of pain or death in this lifetime is more motivating than the hope for eternal salvation.
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York : Penguin, 2006.
The Holy Bible: containing the Old and New Testaments translated out of the original tongues and with the former translations diligently compared & revised. New York: American Bible Society, 1986. Print.ible: containing the Old and New Testaments translated out of the original tongues and with the former translations diligently compared & revised. New York: American Bible Society, 1986. Print.
"Catechism of the Catholic Church."Catechism of the Catholic Church. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2017.
Reardon, JoHannah, Stan Guthrie, and John Ortberg with Johannah Reardon. "What does it mean to fear God?"ChristianBibleStudies.com | Transformed by the truth. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2017.
Jackson, Frederick.Lord of the flies: notes. Toronto: Coles Pub. Co., 1979. Print.
Wise, Jeff, Rick Hanson Ph.D., and Richard Lovett. "The Most Powerful Motivator."Psychology Today. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2017.
"Sign In: Registered Users."Health Education & Behavior. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2017.
Johnson, Dominic D. P. "God's Punishment and Public Goods."SpringerLink. Springer-Verlag, n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2017.
Monastery, Kauai's Hindu. "Nine Beliefs of Hinduism." Basics of Hinduism. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Apr. 2017. <https://www.himalayanacademy.com/readlearn/basics/nine-beliefs>.
Who exactly is Piggy? In the novel “The Lord of the Flies” by WIlliam Golding, the other characters treat him as if he does not matter to the group but ironically is more important than most characters in the book. Some may see Piggy as a symbol of Logos, a symbol for a logic in the book and a form of leadership. Others may say Piggy along with Jack, are meant to symbolize the constant battle between civilization and savagery to give the reader an obvious clue of the state of living the children are in. I think that whenever we look at the importance of a character or event, we should identify how it affects the main character, in this case being Ralph, and his relationship with Piggy. Piggy’s presence and passing in the book not only serves as the presence and passing of logical thinking but as the most important influence on Ralph’s actions.
In this scene from Lord of The Flies, Jack stole Piggy’s glasses and the fire that Ralph’s group was keeping safe. Piggy observes Ralph who is in a broken state of mind, as Jack took away Ralph’s position as leader, stole his fire which was his only mission and had brought on the the life of Simon. Piggy reasons with Ralph and says that his mission isn’t over and that he must face Jack. (As last Piggy spoke, kindly. “Course we have. ’Cos the smoke’s a signal and we can’t be rescued if we don’t have smoke.” “I knew that!” shouted Ralph. He pulled his arm away from Piggy. “Are you suggesting?” “I’m jus’ saying what you always say,” said Piggy hastily. “I’d thought for a moment—” “I hadn’t,” said Ralph loudly. “I knew it all the time. I hadn’t forgotten.” Piggy nodded propitiatingly. “You’re chief, Ralph. You remember everything.” “I hadn’t forgotten.” “ ’Course not.” 173) Piggy’s serves as a loyal servant to Ralph who maintains Ralphs will to lead alive. Ralph clearly forgot that the fire was there only means of communication with the outside world, which rejuvenated his will to lead Piggy’s reminder and persuasion was enough to get Ralph back on his feet. Through Piggy’s actions I was reminded of the relationship between angels and humans in the bible.
The Archangel Uriel is a biblical figure that serves as a servant of God, carrying out his bidding and aiding humankind. Uriel is commonly thought of as the “Lord of powerful action”. The archangels has been known for his critical advice given throughout the bible as he was the angel sent to warn Noah of the great flood. Uriel seems to give advice during extremely critical times that would control the fate of the world that we live in. In correlation to Piggy’s actions, he seems to be Ralphs only source of wisdom and acts as his only source of power. Ralph is clouded by misjudgment as his desperation to contact the outside world, along with the savagery that Jack has ensued. Uriel's is said to shine light in the darkness of confusion, Piggy’s actions throughout chapter 11 show resemblance to the angel if you look at the scenario. Ralphs “darkness of confusion” is his loss will, his view as leadr is fading and can only yearn for his past life as he begins to vision riding home on busses and trains. Ralph come to the conclusion that this life of savagery that Jack has brought upon the boys is in fact their new lives and in turn subliminally losses hope of seeking rescue and forgets his mission to keep the fire burning. The advice that Piggy provides Ralph acts as that light that Ralph needs so much. Piggy has an immense influence on Ralph, at this moment in the book Ralph could have become entirely savage without that talk. Not only do Piggy’s actions in the story share resemblance to religious writing, they also seem to share resemblance to certain roles in the government.
The role of Senior Advisor’s is one that has been around for at least 24 years, these people are high-ranking advisors tasked to advise the President's. David Axelrod was former President Barrack Obama’s Senior Advisor for two years and made Obama’s media strategies for both Presidential Campaigns. During Obama’s last prep session for his debate in Denver, Axelrod knew that Obama was not in shape for his debate with Romney during his re-election, Obama starts off with "Well, I think that went pretty well." And I said, "Well, actually there are some things we need to work on yet." He didn't receive that news well and used a word that he has never used before or since and that I won't use here, but made clear how he felt about me at that moment, and he bolted out of the room and I didn't see him until the next morning.” The role of Axelrod more or less is to instruct Obama into being a better President in the way Piggy averred Ralph. The process in which this happens has some differences but when comparing the situations of Obama and Ralph juxtaposing the two help see the similarities. During Obama's re-election, Axelrod said “I think every single one of us, including the president, knew we weren't headed into Denver in good shape-”, Ralph was in a broken state that made him weak. Both showed signs of weakness and in response, their advisors made it clear to them that they were not qualified for their respected goal. Piggy’s representation as an advisor clearly show the influence that he has on Ralph through his eagerness to help Ralph succeed.
To some, Piggy isn’t that important and can only be seen as some character who died, that he wasn’t at all capable of leading the group. Piggy’s influence on Ralph is what really helps us see his importance because Ralph tends to rely heavily on Piggy in the later chapters. Through all of this it is important to see the affects that one's words can have on their leader and in a sense, lead their leader.
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York : Penguin, 2006.
Chaignot, Mary Jane. “Angel Uriel”. BibleWise 2016.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo. “Uriel”. DLXS, University of Michigan 2001.
Axelrod, David. David Axelrod Recounts His Years As Obama's Adviser And 'Believer'. Fresh Air.
Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by a belief that someone or something is dangerous and might hurt you. Violence may not be the best way to handle our emotions but we humans have that instinct that we either kill or get killed, and this is why our behavior changes when we get scared. Because of this instinct, fear changes behavior because people become violent towards the thing they fear.
In William Golding’s novel, Lord of the Flies, fear plays a huge role throughout the book. The story is about a group of boys who were stranded on an island and they try their best to survive. In the novel, the Lord of the Flies, after a good amount of time, the group of boys habituated to the island, giving them more comfort in which they developed a certain savagery upon one another to survive. One example from the book, William Golding gives us a scenario where one of the characters picks up the conch while chaos was already happening, when they pick up the conch it shows how there was order being restored amongst the boys.
“This toy of voting was almost as pleasing as the conch. Jack started to protest but the clamor changed from the general wish for a chief to an election by acclaim of Ralph himself. None of the boys could have found good reason for this; what intelligence had been shown was traceable to Piggy while the most obvious leader was Jack. But there was a stillness about Ralph as he sat that marked him out: there was his size, and attractive appearance; and most obscurely, yet most powerfully, there was the conch. The being that had blown that, had sat waiting for them on the platform with the delicate thing balanced on his knees, was set apart.” (180)
Towards the end of the novel, Jack started a mission to hunt down Piggy and Ralph, because he thought that they were a threat to him, especially with the amount of power he held on the island. Just like the power that Israel has over Palestine. They are fighting over land just like Jack and Ralph are fighting over leading the young ones. Israel is a country that wants to take over the land of Palestine, even though native palestinians lived there way before the Israelis traveled from Europe to the land of the Palestinians. The war between the two lands has been going on for over a century. The Israelis bomb homes and buildings with the Palestinian people usually at unexpected times just so it would make it easier for Israelis to win the war. There were many times where Israelis were sneaking on Palestinians, and Palestinians sneaking on Israelis. The Israeli-Palestinian war is a perfect example that supports my thesis that when we humans get scared, we become violent towards the thing they fear. In this situation, the Israelis fear the Palestinians, that’s why they kill Palestinian people, not to mention, babies, and the Palestinians are killing the Israelis all because they all have that mindset that ‘If I don’t kill him, he’ll kill me’.
When it comes to power it brings fear. With the fear that comes with power it gives off to the people. Just like any leader ever put in power they always look on both sides of them for fear of people overpowering them or some force cutting them at the knees. Lord of the Flies, uses the beast as a figment of the characters imagination. Since the boys were on an island with bugs, animals, and strangers, it wouldn’t be hard to believe that the young boys were a little paranoid which might’ve caused them to believe that Simon was a scary beast. And to nearly all of us, what’s more scary than a scary figure on a deserted island? I’d say most humans are afraid of death, and humans might do anything in order to survive. So what the boys did was survive and they got rid of the obstacles in their way.
“I'm frightened. Of us. I want to go home. O God I to go home." "It's was an accident," said Piggy stubbornly,"and that's that." He touched Ralph's bare shoulder and Ralph shuddered at the human contact.”
“Which is better -- to be a pack of painted Indians like you are, or to be sensible like Ralph is?
Which is better -- to have rules and agree, or to hunt and kill?
Which is better, law and rescue, or hunting and breaking things up?”
The answer to the second question of this quote is: when it comes to humans and fear, violence becomes our way of handling our emotions, it may not be the best way to handle our emotions but we have that human instinct where we either kill or get killed, just like in the Israel-Palestine War, just like how the boys killed the beast in the Lord of the Flies, behavior changes as we become violent towards the thing(s) we are afraid of, therefore the answer is hunt and kill.
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York Penguin, 2006.
Jeffries, Tara. "Some Trump supporters are afraid to speak out." PBS. Public Broadcasting Service, n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2017.
Goulding, william. Lord of the flies. New York:Penguin,2006
Merriam-ebster.moral definition.Merriam-Webster, INC, 2017
Choosing leaders in almost every way is some form of a popularity contest. Whether it’s the presidential election or a dozen boys choosing a leader while they’re trapped on an abandoned island, what someone looks like and how likable they are almost always plays a role in the final outcome of the vote. The Lord of the Flies is a novel about a group of young British boys that are left to fend for themselves after they crash on a deserted island in the Pacific Ocean. The boys in Lord of the Flies turned what was their most crucial decision in the entire book into a popularity contest without thinking too much about their decision and the consequences of it The boys did not choose the leader of their group based off of who was qualified but off of other criteria. These fictional characters are not the only ones who can fall victim to this -- it happens in real life as well. People choose leaders not based on their qualifications and experience but on their appearance and charisma.
After a short time on the island, one of the boys, Ralph, suggested that the boys vote for a chief so the group would have a leader that would be able to decide what the boys do next. The boys end up choosing Ralph but how they came to a conclusion so fast, considering everyone just met each other, is very interesting. A quote that captured this moment is “None of the boys could have found good reason for this; what intelligence had been shown was traceable back to Piggy, while the most obvious leader was Jack. But there was a stillness about Ralph as he sat that marked him out: there was his size, and attractive personality, and most obscurely; yet most powerfully, there was the conch.” (22) At this point in time, none of the boys know each other well enough to know what the others are fully capable of doing and accomplishing as the leader. From the boy’s standpoint, it's obvious very early on that Piggy is intelligent and Jack seems fit to be a leader. However, it would seem as if they chose Ralph without much thought since the narrator says “None of the boys could have found good reason for this.” However, the narrator goes on to describe some of Ralph’s characteristics. “His size and attractive personality” are among the things “that marked Ralph out.” It would make no sense for the boys to choose Ralph over Piggy and Jack unless their criteria for choosing the leader was not based on who was qualified for it but on what they looked like and who they liked the most. Ralph was also in possession of the conch, who the boys associate with power when the voting process began. It is very clear that it was Ralph’s image that won him his role as leader. Also, the boys did not take Piggy very seriously because of how he looked. Piggy was described as the “fat boy” (7) after Ralph, who was described as the “fair boy” (7) for his British good looks and attractiveness. The boys also mistake his name for “Fatty,” (21) before Ralph tells them that his name is actually Piggy. Jack is not considered attractive either. According to the narrator, he is “tall, thin, and bony.” (20) He’s redheaded, and “his face was crumpled and freckled, and ugly without stillness.” (20) Considering the nature of the boys at the age they are, with most of them being twelve or younger, it is understandable to see why they chose Ralph over Piggy and Jack. In the mindset of an immature, pre-teenager, fat people are a joke and redheads are these evil, mean beings. Ralph is also a very good looking kid compared to the others who wanted to be the leader. Human nature explains why Ralph was chosen as it is normal for people, especially children, to gravitate towards who or what they consider attractive. Charisma is another one of Ralph’s traits and charisma is an important trait of a successful leader.
In the real world, attractive people, in general are more successful. Studies have proven that attractive people are hired sooner, promoted quicker, and are paid more than their co-workers than their less attractive co-workers. According to Daniel Hamermesh, professor of economics at the University of Texas, people who are considered attractive earn about 3 or 4 more percent than people who aren’t considered attractive with below average looks. A study published in Psychological Science showed that people played closer attention to people who are more attractive. One of the researchers said that this is because people are generally more motivated to pay closer attention to more attractive people because of curiosity, desire for friendship or a romantic interest, or social status. A quote from one of the researchers, Prof. Jeremy Biesanz, UBC Dept. of Psychology, is “Not only do we judge books by their covers, we read the ones with beautiful covers much closer than others.” This is similar to how the boys in Lord of the Flies chose Ralph as their leaders because it was not Ralph’s experience or intelligence that earned him the leadership role, it was his attractiveness that earned him the role.
Like attractive people, charismatic people are also very successful. Charisma is defined as “a personal magic of leadership arousing social popular loyalty or enthusiasm for a public figure (as a political leader) and “a special magnetic charm or appeal.” Successful people are usually leaders that possess the quality of charisma. Charisma is necessary for success because, without it, it is harder for you to get the people around you to help you achieve your goals. Leaders are essential for humanity, and charisma is what drives people to those leaders. While a good leaders possess intelligence, experience, and qualifications for the task at hand, this is not necessarily the case for every charismatic leader. Donald J. Trump, the 45th and current President of the United States is very charismatic. However, prior to becoming the President, he had never run for office in any kind of capacity. Nonetheless, he was a very successful business due in part to his very charismatic, and somewhat charming personality. Donald Trump is a very controversial figure, and although he lost the popular vote against candidate Hillary Clinton, Trump still managed to persuade almost 63,000,000 people without having the slightest experience in the world of politics. A similarity can be drawn to Ralph in Lord of the Flies when Ralph was selected as the leader without much experience as being a leader. However, like Trump, Ralph’s charisma was one of the reasons why he was chosen to be the leader.
In conclusion, there are many examples of people getting ahead of others because of their attractiveness and charisma. In the real world, people tend to favor charismatic and attractive people and this is why these kinds of people are very successful. At the beginning of Lord of the Flies Ralph is successful because he looks powerful, strong, and has an attractive personality. It is not uncommon for charismatic and attractive people to have intelligence and experience, but more often than not, people who display their charisma and attractiveness are more successful. Usually, they are chosen to be leaders over people who are not.
Golding, William Lord of the Flies. New York: Penguin: 2006
Stanger, Melissa. "Attractive People Are Simply More Successful." Business Insider. http://www.businessinsider.com/attractive-people-are-more-successful-2012-9
"Rice study suggests people are more trusting of attractive strangers." Rice News. http://news.rice.edu/2006/09/21/rice-study-suggests-people-are-more-trusting-of-attractive-strangers/
Staff, Elite Daily. "Why Charismatic People Are More Successful." http://elitedaily.com/money/entrepreneurship/charismatic-people-successful/
Minton, Tam Warner. "The Charismatic Appeal of Donald Trump." TheHuffingtonPost.com http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tam-warner-minton/the-charismatic-appeal-of_b_12406854.html
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To get Great Leaders you need Great Voters
In our home of the United States of America, we have a system that is trying to listen to American people’s voice as much as possible before making decisions that impact us every day such as who is our President. Are we as normal American citizens able to make the best decisions for us and other people? Do we as Americans have good enough education to be able to make logical decisions? In other words, is our current system of voting for leaders the best system to pick great leaders? Our system of voting can get us people we like, but our citizens are not always educated enough to give us the leaders that we need for our country.
In the book “Lord of the Flies” many of the problems that happen in the books happen because of people voting for people as leaders that they know very little about though they could have made much better decisions by learning more about them before quickly deciding who they want as their leader based on very little information. On page 22 of the novel where Ralph is voted for chief, this is the reason giving for him being picked “Let him be chief with the Trumpet-thing.” And that was final he became chief because he was seen as a leader because of his ability to blow a trumpet even though he was not the one who originally thought of that idea… that person was Piggy of which pretty much at this point has given all the good ideas but got almost no credit for it. Now to give them credit, I doubt they understood the power that the people that wanted to be leader were going to have and the horrible things that they would do to get more of it/maintain it,but they decided anyway that they would put a lack of thought and understanding of who the people are before voting for a leader.
What happened here in the book could be related to a situation that recently happened in Britain since how they voted is similar to how we vote currently since they are also a Democracy. They voted to leave the European Union on June 23, 2016. The problem is that shortly after the vote was called for them to leave the European Union the second top google search in Britain was “What is the European Union?” The other ones do not get any better containing things like “What happens when we leave the European Union?” You have to admit that is pretty depressing that after making a huge decision that puts your whole entire country at risks you find out that many people in Britain were not educated on what the vote actually meant. Though this data is hard to ignore it may not actually mean much of anything because maybe those people that searched it did not actually go to the polls or maybe they were too young to vote but they wanted to learn more about what was actually going on. What I am trying to say that people should simply be educated enough to understand what they are voting for before they actually vote so they can make good decisions for their country.
Even after all the voting is done and a leader is choosing does not necessarily mean people will agree/follow the leader later on. This was seen in the novel in many chapters later on after the vote. Ralph was the leader but it ended up that most of the people that voted for him ended up betraying him because they ended up not agreeing with his ideas. One of the quotes that relate to this is on page 91 which is Jack which is Ralph’s enemy when it comes to who is leader, “And you shut up! Who are you, anyway? Sitting their and telling people what to do. You can’t hunt, you can’t sing-.” Which after Jack continues attacking him about how he is not a real leader and Ralph continues trying to defend himself which ends up not working very well. Maybe if Ralph did not get voted in and they picked someone that they ended up all liking (if that is possible) maybe none of the violence and drama would end up happening to them.
This is also seen in American History also not just in the novel. A lot of people (from his very low approval ratings of %22) saw our former president George W. Bush as a bad leader. He was voted into the office after winning by the Electoral College system by %2 in his first of two terms. People did not enjoy his decisions on the War of Iraq and the Economy most of all. The thing that really stands out is that even though he ended up getting very poor approval ratings throughout his presidency he was able to strike enough votes to get re-elected. Since I was too young during this time I do not really know what ended up getting him voted and what that time was like I could only assume there were reasons greater than the economy that people enjoyed about him to get him re-elected.
In conclusion, our voting system works best when people understand what they are voting for and/or who they are voting for. Our voting system may have flaws but it is the best way we currently have to get people’s thoughts on who should be the leader of their country.
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Selyukh, Alina. "After Brexit Vote, Britain Asks Google: 'What Is The EU?'" NPR. NPR, 24 June 2016. Web. 29 Mar. 2017.
Goldring, WIlliam Lord Of The Flies New York: Penguin, 2006.
What keeps people from stealing, murdering, raping, and other actions that most people find disgusting? If asked this question, almost everyone would say they do not behave that way because it goes against their religious or moral code of ethics. In other words, they just consider this type of behavior innately wrong. But, is that the real reason? In a civilized world, these offenses are deemed crimes. The government says they're wrong, and makes it against the law to commit any of these acts. Members of society know that if they do something against the law, they will be punished. This prevailing concept is what keeps civilizations running smoothly. But, what if there were no laws or no government or ruling power to enforce laws? Would people still have moral integrity?
In the book, “Lord of the Flies,” by William Golding, a large group of boys no older than twelve years old crash land on an island and have to survive by themselves. Without having a ruling power to oversee their actions, they start to misbehave. When they first realize they are stranded on the island they state "We've got to have rules and obey them. After all, we're not savages…(42)” The boys are trying to create some form of society that they are familiar with. They even go as far as saying they're not savages, acknowledging that only savages live in a ruleless society. They realize the importance of laws and law enforcers and elect a leader to create a form of ruling power, or government, to determine what is right and wrong in the island society. The leader acts almost as an adult, keeping the kids under control, but not restricting them completely. The leadership quickly falls apart due to disagreements, which causes cracks in the leadership. Trouble begins from the start. When they were voting for a leader, Jack stated, "I ought to be chief," right before another one of the boys, Ralph, got voted to be chief of the island society. These cracks cause the leadership to fall apart, leading to a constant struggle for power among the other boys. The lack of leadership allows for bigger crimes to be committed without consequences. Because the boys do not have to accept responsibility for what they have done, their crimes become more frequent and more violent the longer they stay on the lawless island.
Throughout the book, the boys demonstrate less and less moral integrity and more insanity. This is because there is nothing stopping the boys from running away from their morals and not taking responsibility for their actions. Since the boys are losing connection with a society, they are also losing connection to the power society plays in forcing its members to adhere to a moral code. When Jack, one of the boys that crashed on the island, starts hunting for pigs, he starts turning into more of a savage. The first time he hunts, he is unable to kill the pig. The quote, “they knew very well why because the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh (31)…” describes that Jack, though eager to hunt, was unable to kill the pig. However, after a short time of living in a lawless society, Jack undergoes a drastic transformation. The book states, ¨The madness came into his eyes again,¨ before he proclaims, "I thought I might kill." This quote exemplifies that he has changed from the boy he was when he first arrived on the island. Jack starts off trying to be a productive member of society, providing food for himself and the other boys. The time Jack spends hunting causes, even more, separation between his previous life and his new life on the island. He has become more in contact with his natural survival instinct, something that is frowned upon in society.
Jack and the other boys’ descent into savagery isn’t just a fictional story William Golding made up. There have been documented cases of the same thing happening to people in real life. Pitcairn Island is a small island in the Atlantic Ocean. In 1970 a group of Polynesian people were stranded on the island after their boat sank while they were trying to escape an attack. While on the island they started a small civilization. Like the boys in the book, the society on Pitcairn Island quickly fell apart. The stranded people suffered a very similar fate to the boys in “Lord of the Flies.” They resorted to committing murder, thievery and rape. After the people were found, they were tried on 91 counts of murder, thievery and sexual assault. This clearly demonstrates that people lose what makes them civil when they are separated from society.
The men and women on this island and the boys in “Lord of The Flies” are one and the same. Both groups start as law-abiding members of society. Both groups get stranded on an island that quickly becomes ruleless. As the rules disappear, the stranded people become more savage. They start acting less like civilized people and more like animals, exhibiting a “kill or be killed” mentality. This is proof that, contrary to popular belief, it’s not a person’s internal moral code or an innate sense of what is right and wrong, that guides our behavior. It’s our society, and the laws that are enforced by our society, that keep us civilized. Without a society, we are no different than the animals we call savage beasts.
Golding,William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Penguin, 2006.
Holloway, April. "Real-Life Lord of the Flies: The Strange and Violent History of Pitcairn Island." Ancient Origins. Ancient Origins, 7 Aug. 2015. Web. 31 Mar. 2017.
31 March 2017
William Golding’s Lord of The Flies follows the rise and fall of a civilization created by a plane full of stranded preteen boys. The downfall of the fragile society is when most of the older boys break off into a group of savages. They spin out into stealing, violence, and eventually murder. They completely abandon their values and never think twice about their actions. This is so easy for them to do as they hide behind new identities and painted faces. Their behavior illustrates that it is easy for people to harm others when they are hiding behind a mask because it limits their emotional connection.
This theme is present in the novel. It is introduced in Chapter Four, Painted Faces and Long Hair, when choir leader and aspiring hunter Jack, is frustrated that he has not been successful in catching any pigs. He and Ralph have encountered a pig in the past, however Jack was too timid to kill it. Now, he has the idea to camouflage his face with charcoal, and sneak up on the pigs. Once he paints his face, however, Jack sees his reflection and discovers that the paint is more powerful than just concealment from the pigs. His reaction takes place in front of some of the other choir boys. “He looked in astonishment, no longer at himself but at an awesome stranger. He spilt the water and lept to his feet, laughing excitedly. Beside the pool his sinewy body held up a mask that drew their eyes and appalled them. He began to dance and his laughter became a bloodthirsty snarling. He capered toward Bill, and the mask was a thing on its own, behind which Jack hid, liberated from shame and self-consciousness (63-64).” This is the beginning of Jack’s transformation into a savage, which I believe is aided by his mask of paint. While he is not using violence against or harming other boys at this point, he exhibits signs of unusual behavior, including his snarling and dancing. This newly discovered mask allows him to do these strange things in front of other boys without feeling insecure; the mask gives him the power to act without thinking realistically about what he is doing.
Once Jack has begun to wear a mask, his personality and actions change harshly. He is successful at hunting pigs, and loves to talk about his strength and fearlessness. “Jack, his face smeared with clays, reached the top first and hailed Ralph excitedly, with lifted spear. ‘Look! We’ve killed a pig-we stole up on them-we got in a circle- (69)’”, and later, “‘Bollocks to the rules! We’re strong-we hunt! If there’s a beast, we’ll hunt it down! We’ll close in and beat and beat and beat-(91)!’” These situations show his changes before he falls into complete savagery. He is using violence against animals, which is not unusual, however the way he goes about it and discusses it surely is. The next time Jack and his hunters kill a pig, Jack decides to strangely rub the blood of the pig onto one of his hunter’s faces. “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… At last the immediacy of the kill subsided. They boys drew back, and Jack stood up, holding out his hands. ‘Look.’ He giggled and flicked them while the boys laughed at his reeking palms. Then Jack grabbed Maurice and rubbed the stuff over his cheeks (135).” Until that point, Jack has been the only one to wear paints, now his hunters are masked in the literal blood of their prey.
Jack and some of his close friends decide to break away from Ralph’s civilized group. Jack is furious that Ralph has gotten all of the power and attention. He has been shamed from rejection. Jack decides to expand his tribe. “The forest near them burst into uproar. Demoniac figures with faces of white and red and green rushed out howling… Jack ignored him, lifted his spear and began to shout. ‘Listen, all of you. Me and my hunters, we’re living along the beach by a flat rock. We hunt and feast and have fun. If you want to join my tribe come and see us. Perhaps I’ll let you join. Perhaps not.’ He paused and looked round. He was safe from shame or self-consciousness behind the mask of his paint and could look at each of them in turn (140).” The most notable section of the nature of this speech Jack gives is that the author states that Jack is safe behind his mask. And no longer is he safe just from his insecurities about killing animals; he feels safe from the judgement of others. Safe to say and do what he pleases.
Next, Jack and his savages progress from killing animals, to killing humans. “The beast was on its knees in the center, its arms folded over its face… the beast struggled forward, broke the ring, and fell over the steep edge of the rock to the sand by the water. At once the crowd surged after it, poured down the rock, leapt on to the beast, screamed, struck, bit, tore. There were no words, and no movements but the tearing of teeth and claws (152-153).” The death of innocent Simon was aided by the all the boys, however it was led by the savages and would not have happened if they had not started their dance. Later, the death of Piggy is caused by the savage boy Roger, and sparks Jack to attack Ralph. “Roger, with a sense of delirious abandonment, leaned with all his weight on the lever… The rock struck Piggy a glancing blow from chin to knee… Piggy fell forty feet and landed on his back across the square red rock in the sea… Suddenly Jack bounded out from the tribe and began screaming wildly. ‘See? See? That's what you'll get! I meant that! There isn't a tribe for you anymore! The conch is gone-’... Viciously, with full intention, he hurled his spear at Ralph (180-181).” Although Jack does not end up actually killing Ralph, he has that intention and acts upon it. Think back upon the Jack who could not kill a pig right in front of him. This is not the same person. His use of the mask has certainly aided his drastic transformation.
This phenomena is also present in the real world. A common occurrence on the internet, mostly through social media, is cyberbullying. The rise of cyberbullying is clear. It has been reported that half of teens have been cyberbullied, 1 in 3 experiencing threats online. According to EndCyberbullying.org, “Cyberbullies hide behind a computer screen and maybe even behind a false identity…giving them a further sense of control over the situation.” Cyberbullying eliminates the face to face contact of traditional bullying. This is part of its appeal and popularity. A bully can even create an anonymous or new identity to hide behind, masking their previous selves like Jack did.
Jack’s use of a mask is prominent throughout Lord of the Flies as it accompanies his descent into violence and savagery. This use of hiding behind a mask while doing harm to others is also an issue in real life, as it is present in cyberbullying.
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Penguin, 2006.
Van Edwards, Vanessa. "Guide to Reading Microexpressions." Science of People. N.p., 14 Dec. 2016. Web. 31 Mar. 2017. ttp://www.scienceofpeople.com/2013/09/guide-reading-microexpressions/
"Cyber Bullying Statistics." Bullying Statistics. N.p., 07 July 2015. Web. 31 Mar. 2017. http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/cyber-bullying-statistics.html
"End to Cyber Bullying Organization." End to Cyber Bullying Organization (ETCB). N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2017. http://www.endcyberbullying.org