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Freudian Psychology in Lord of the Flies

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Sarah Davis

on 16 December 2013

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Transcript of Freudian Psychology in Lord of the Flies

Freudian Psychology in
Lord of the Flies

Thesis
Golding makes his characters into personifications of Freud’s three parts of the human psyche in order to show the conflict between barbarism and rationality that the boys experience: power hungry and animalistic Jack becomes the id, rational and conflicted Ralph the ego, and ethical and logical Piggy and Simon the superegos.
Organization
3 main topic ideas
Jack as id
The id is the impulsive and unconscious part of our psyche which responds directly and immediately to the instincts. As the id, Jack abandons all sense of rationality and acts unaffected by logic or everyday life, desiring only that which will make him immediately satisfied.
Ralph as ego
The ego develops in order to mediate between the unrealistic id and the external real world. Ideally the ego works by reason whereas the id is chaotic and totally unreasonable. As the ego, Ralph is constantly in conflict with the id, whether it is the id within himself or with Jack as the personification of the id. From the beginning of the novel, Jack and Ralph struggle to maintain leadership over the boys, constantly coming to blows over their roles within the community.
Piggy and Simon as duel superegos
The superego's function is to control the id's impulses, especially those which society forbids, such as sex and aggression. It also has the function of persuading the ego to turn to moralistic goals rather than simply realistic ones and to strive for perfection. Piggy is a representation of rationality in its highest form, valuing scientific thought and moral actions above all else. Simon is continuously empathetic and moralistic, helping the “littluns” retrieve fruit from a tree and continuing to work even when the others have stopped. When Simon hallucinates that a pig’s head on a stick is speaking to him, he begins to understand that there is no “beastie” which the boys have been afraid of – instead he realizes that the beast is, in fact, within each of them
Strengths & Weaknesses
Strengths
The structure of the thesis (three main comparisons) led to a coherent, clearly organized essay. It allowed me to communicate my research succinctly and efficiently without any extraneous information.
Weaknesses
I believe I could have incorporated more quotations and scene-specific examples from the novel that would have strengthened my evidence - I missed out on a few powerful images that would have provided further proof of the validity of my thesis.
Research
Difficulties
I did not have any outstanding difficulties when conducting research for this paper - this is a well known topic and there were multiple papers available on both JSTOR and Ebscohost for me to refer to.
I found that if multiple scholarly articles refer to a specific primary source (in this case, Freud's essay
The Id and the Ego
) it is much easier to simply obtain the primary source and evaluate it yourself.
I also learned that I prefer print sources to web sources for essays that require parenthetical citations (print sources have clear page-numbering).
Most Interesting - Death of the Superego
From their first day on the island to their rescue, the boys turn from half-formed societal citizens into savage, instinctual beasts. Due to their youth, they have not had the pretenses of society firmly rooted within them, and are therefore much more predisposed to shedding their superegos and egos and reverting back to the basic id. As Simon and Piggy are brutally murdered at the hands of the children, it is both a literal and figurative death of the superego and any sense of moral guidance on the island, allowing Jack to seize control from the rational Ralph and create an all-out war of human nature.
Critiques
Overall, I would not make any significant changes to my topic, organization, or content. I do believe that I could have expanded more on each specific comparison and included more quotations from the novel as part of my evidence.
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