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Lord of the Flies

A Critical Analysis

Moyinoluwa Opeyemi

on 10 June 2013

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Transcript of Lord of the Flies

Presented by Moyinoluwa Opeyemi Lord of the Flies By William Golding Synopsis of "Lord of the Flies" In the beginning of the novel, a plane carrying British schoolboys is shot down in the midst of World War II. These boys were now left stranded on an island without any adults or means of rescue. Ralph, Piggy, and Simon want the group to maintain social order and have a fire burning continuously for the possibility of rescue. However, Jack and Roger lead a separate group that only focuses on the immediate concerns, such as hunting. After a power struggle between Ralph and Jack for the control of "the tribe," the tribe splinters into a group concerned with maintaining a fire and a group focused on hunting. After the groups separate, Jack's group begins raids on the other group in order to take away their ability to produce fire. As the boys become more animalistic, they become caught up in the fervor accompanied with hunting. In the midst of the fervor, they unknowingly kill Simon because they mistake him for a beast. Scarred by the manifestation of the innate evil in himself, Ralph attempts to forget the event. In order to improve relations between the two groups, Ralph and Piggy go on a diplomatic envoy to Jack's camp. When Ralph and Piggy arrive at the camp, Jack's group is hostile and attempts to use their wooden spears to injure Ralph and Piggy. With society's bounding morals gone, Roger drops a boulder onto Piggy and kills him in the process. Ralph is now cognizant of the absence of humanity in his counterparts and flees the area. Jack's group begins a systematic search of the island, burning the areas once they left. In the finals moments before his apparent death, a naval office appears on the beach and sees the lack of humanity in the boys. Analysis of Ralph: forced to compromise between the demands of Piggy and Jack
attempts to create the semblance of order through the use of a conch
worries about the well being of the tribe and the younger children that are affected by his decisions
stresses the importance of continual fire signal since he thought rescue should be the group's primary goal Thesis Through William Golding's characterization of Ralph, he implies that although civilization is inherent in human nature, savagery and unrepressed impulses challenge the progression of civilization. Freudian Psychological Critical Approach Quotes: Primary Source: Secondary Source: Freudian Psychological Critical Approach Analysis Historical-Biographical Critical Approach Quotes: Primary Source: Secondary Source: Historical-Biographical Critical Approach Analysis Political Allegorical Critical Approach Quotes: Primary Source: Secondary Source: Political Allegorical Critical Approach Analysis Reader Response Critical Approach Quotes: Primary Source: Personal Anecdote: Reader Response Critical Approach Analysis The Freudian psychological critical approach is based upon the work of psychologist Sigmund Freud. In his work, Freud attempted to analyze the unconscious mind. According to Freud, the unconscious mind is composed of the id, ego, and superego. id-the unconscious mind that operates on the pleasure principle and seeks instant gratification
superego-the unconscious mind that operates on society's moral rules and long-term consequences
ego-the unconscious mind that balances the demands of the superego and id "Piggy was standing cradling the great conch shell and the shouting died down. Jack, left on his feet, looked uncertainly at Ralph who smiled and patted the log. Jack sat down" (Golding 33). "He retracts from his taste of madness, disorder, and chaos and seeks the balance and social stability" (Crawford 192). The historical-biographical critical approach is based upon the book in relation to a time period it represents or was written in. Through the use of the time period the book represents, the author is able to connect and interweave unifying themes within the book and culture. The political allegorical critical approach is used to relate the political and social themes in the book to larger, more identifying political structures in society. Common themes:
democracy The reader response critical approach is based upon the reader's perception and interpretation of the novel. Through this critical approach, the analyzer is able to synthesize elements of the literary piece and convey the effects it had on his or her interpretation of the piece. "The early concern with World War II atrocity and trauma and totalitarianism gives way...outlining Nazi actions and brutality, the references to totalitarianism are at their most obliqued and allegorical" (Crawford 237). "What intelligence 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" (Golding 22). "The tears began to flow for the first time on the island...Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart" (Golding 202). "The novel's defining moment is when Ralph, a strong individual, succumbs to the shocking realization of mankind's capacity for evil. Ralph laments his loss of innocence as he sees the world as it actually appears." "He is the quintessential symbol of democracy, torn between diverse forces. When he discovers a conch shell (a motif of authority) and blows it, he succeeds in gathering all the others" (Parivelan). "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 by Ralph himself" (Golding 22). According to the Freudian psychological perspective, Ralph’s mediating nature enables him to relate with the balancing power of the ego. Throughout the course of the novel, Ralph is forced to balance the immediate needs of the tribe and the long-term solution to their survival, rescue by a smoke signal. Although Ralph compromises between the immediate and long-term needs of the tribe, the impulsive desires of Jack deride Ralph's plans and corrodes the entire tribe's reasoning. From a historical-biographical approach, Ralph’s position as a leader of the tribe represents Winston Churchill’s role of guiding Great Britain through World War II. In World War II, Churchill represented the British resolve to maintain moral standards in the midst of the atrocities of war while ending the conflict. In the novel, Ralph is forced to maintain his culturally conditioned morals while attempting to establish firm control over the tribe. Also, Ralph leads the tribe through the initial phases of civilizing the island after the crash. Based upon the political allegorical approach, Ralph’s desire for equality among all members of the tribe reflects democratic ideals. The election that resulted in Ralph's chieftain of the tribe marks the beginning of an initially democratic island. In addition to the democratic election of Ralph, Ralph uses the conch as a symbol of democracy among all members of the tribe. With the conch, democracy is achieved since the holder of the conch is given undivided attention when speaking. I though Ralph was a polarizing individual that embodies the characteristics of greatness, such as determination and sympathy, yet his brief moments of conformity represent mankind’s inability to reach perfection. It becomes apparent that Ralph's morals and actions are determined by society's moral conditioning because Ralph himself gets caught up the fervor of the hunt. Ralph's temporary lapse in judgement illustrates the inherent savagery in human nature that challenges the progression of other aspects, such as civilization. Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Putnam, 1954. Print. Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Putnam, 1954. Print. Blackmon, Samantha. “Critical Approaches to Literature: A Brief Overview.” Purdue University. Blackmon, 10 March 2005. Web. 4 June 2013. <http://www.cla.purdue.edu/blackmon/engl360k/critical.html>. Crawford, Paul. Politics and History in William Golding: The World Turned Upside Down. Columbia: U of Missouri P, 2002. Google Books. Web. 4 June 2013. <http://books.google.com/books?id=IfSrFRkXYd0C&pg=PA174&lpg=PA174&dq=%22lord+of+the+flies%22+critical+approaches&source=bl&ots=7oEBrBh03W&sig=3rTh7SfSPSIIcraAyN7aSEqh5q0&hl=en&sa=X&ei=oN2tUdGNF4a68AT0rIHYAQ&ved=0CEEQ6AEwBTgK#v=onepage&q=historical&f=false>. Blackmon, Samantha. “Critical Approaches to Literature: A Brief Overview.” Purdue University. Blackmon, 10 March 2005. Web. 4 June 2013. <http://www.cla.purdue.edu/blackmon/engl360k/critical.html>. Crawford, Paul. Politics and History in William Golding: The World Turned Upside Down. Columbia: U of Missouri P, 2002. Google Books. Web. 4 June 2013. <http://books.google.com/books?id=IfSrFRkXYd0C&pg=PA174&lpg=PA174&dq=%22lord+of+the+flies%22+critical+approaches&source=bl&ots=7oEBrBh03W&sig=3rTh7SfSPSIIcraAyN7aSEqh5q0&hl=en&sa=X&ei=oN2tUdGNF4a68AT0rIHYAQ&ved=0CEEQ6AEwBTgK#v=onepage&q=historical&f=false>. Blackmon, Samantha. “Critical Approaches to Literature: A Brief Overview.” Purdue University. Blackmon, 10 March 2005. Web. 4 June 2013. <http://www.cla.purdue.edu/blackmon/engl360k/critical.html>. Parivelan, K.M. “A Critical Analysis of the Psychological Insights in Lord of the Flies by William Golding.” Riverside Brookfield High School. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 June 2013. <http://www.rbhs.w-cook.k12.il.us/Mancoff/lofcritan.htm>.
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