Concept of Democracy and Equality in Lord of the Flies
The Lord of the Flies is not just a nasty story about little boys on an island. In fact it is a parable about real life and human nature. This book is about Golding’s views on human society and having lived through two world wars and many others, Golding has seen how evil we can get and the continual ironic re occurrences of human errors throughout history. At first, Golding is saying that the future is gray, society is disintegrating and anarchy and violence are due to thrive once more, but the arrival of the naval officers symbolizes that there is still hope. He show this all with the continual theme that evil is present as a destructive influence in man, operating against the forces of reason and civilization.
When landing on the island, the boys were faced with freedom from rules, or as Piggy saw it, freedom from adults. On the Island, the boys had problems from the beginning. The first thing the boys did was form their own society, establishing rules and electing a chief- these were remnants of their past, and the automatic need for authority was in their blood. Both Ralph and Jack wanted to be chief and when the rest of the biguns and littluns voted for Ralph, it caused the first sign of friction between the two ‘elders’. Ralph tries to deal with the problem by appointing Jack the leader of the hunters, and leader of the keepers of fire. However, even though being a good chief and making everyone happy, this solution ended up doing more harm than good. There are definitely problems with between Ralph’s system of practicality, common sense and civilized life, and Jack’s instinct of hatred and savagery.
Although establishing a serious foundation of rules and civilization, Ralph was pulled in another direction as well as all the other boys, he wanted to have fun going hunting, playing and building forts. Everyone deep down inside them wants pleasure. He also realized, though, the need for fire. The fire was one of the only the hopes of returning to civilization again. At first the fire seemed like fun to the boys, but when realization of the hard work for constant upkeep occurred, the boys got bored and wanted to go on and do more exciting activities. The boys lost sight of the truth and were drawn away by Jack.
Jack’s leadership was in the direction of pleasure. Ralph and Piggy understood the important of the fire, but the boys followed Jack and his obsession with savagery and killing. The only thing Jack cared about was meat. Jack eventually killed a pig but at the sacrifice of the fire, missing an opportunity of rescue and the return to civilization because the fire went out. But Jack didn’t seem to care:
“’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-‘
“They seemed to share one wide ecstatic grin. Jack had too many things to tell Ralph at once. Instead he danced a step or two, then remembered his dignity and stood still, grinning.
‘You let the fire go out’
Jack checked, vaguely irritated by this irrelevance but to happy to let it worry him
‘There was lashings of blood,’ said Jack, laughing and shuddering. ‘You should have seen it!’ Ralph spoke again, hoarsely. He had not moved.
‘You let the fire go out.’”
This shows how much Jack really cared about screwing up, representing humans in their most basic form. Thinking just about himself and not admitting to his mistake. Ralph is upset as being rescued was his top priority. As the book continues, Jack tries harder and harder to assert his total authority. More symbolization – Jack becomes leader in the forest, where it is all dark and scary, while Ralph is chief where there is light out on the open, civilized beach. By now, everyone has become completely barbaric, or natural, as they worshipped the Lord of the Flies. It is most evident now that Jack only gives orders, he doesn't take them. We see the huge differences now, -Ralph is centre-wing offering freedom of speech, democracy, steadiness and he takes advice, all the things we have used as the basis of a successful society. While Jack represents ambitious radical rule – a culmination of right-wing (fascist) totalitarianism and left-wing ‘democratic’ monitored guidance. A very accurate image of the 20th century.
In the end Jack and his hunters kill two very good people and try to kill Ralph before all of this is stopped by the appearance of a naval officer. Maybe it is individual greed that has ripped this small bio-society apart. This whole book would have turned out differently if Jack – the savage problem maker, had thought about more than himself. I fell that the message in this book is that people are like a flock of sheep; if a few people are savage, then many are savage, if a few people are greedy, then others will definitely soon follow. If a society was made up of all saints, then we would have a system where,
“each individual would contribute to the total harmonious operation of society.”
William Golding told a story rich with symbolism and irony to make a point. Humans delicately depend on their use of the norm of society. People are okay and cool when under the control of society, but as the book shows,
“freedom of the human spirit means the end of moral society”
Does this mean that pure equality and democracy can never be achieved?
Article name: Concept of Democracy and Equality in Lord of the Flies essay, research paper, dissertation