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Marxist Criticism & Lord of the Flies

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Sydney Lin

on 2 December 2013

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Transcript of Marxist Criticism & Lord of the Flies

Marxist Criticism & Lord of the Flies
Sydney Lin, Josh Waisner, Haley Van Vleck,
Luke Winchester, and Brennan Clark

What is Marxist Criticism?
Marxist Criticism focuses on who owns what and the classes of people (working & ruling). The ruling class people are the people who control everything and benefit from it. The working class basically "carries out their orders". The ruling class is clearly benefited. Tensions will rise between the 2 classes (shown later on), and the working class will have the potential to overthrow the ruling class and create a socialist government, where everyone is equal/
How does this tie into Lord of the Flies?
Ralph, Piggy, and possibly Jack are the people in charge of the kids, since there are no parents on the island. They are the ruling class. Everyone else on the island is working class. Ralph is elected chief of the island due to his looks, age, and strength. The classes start to have a conflict when Jack tries to overthrow Ralph as chief.
Typical Questions
Whom does it benefit if the work or effort is accepted/successful/believed, etc.?
What is the social class of the author?
Which class does the work claim to represent?
What values does it reinforce?
What values does it subvert?
What conflict can be seen between the values the work champions and those it portrays?
What social classes do the characters represent?
How do characters from different classes interact or conflict?
When Jack and his hunters break off from Ralph's tribe, their "government" falls apart. It is now a "socialist" government where everyone is equal. It may not seen like it because Jack is the "chief" but Jack and the hunters all have the same role: to hunt. With Jack and Ralph constantly fighting for control the island truly becomes a clasless society.
Material Dialect and the Revolution
Marx said "...what drives historical change are the material realities of the economic base of society, rather than the ideological superstructure of politics, law, philosophy, religion, and art that is built upon that economic base". He also said that contradictions would eventually build up in a stable society until there would be a "revolution".
The Revolution
The conflict of the ruling class and the working class will eventually get bad enough that the working class will try and overthrow the ruling class. The working class will then try and compose a socialist society (everyone owns everything and everyone is equal).
What is Lord of the Flies about?
Lord of the Flies by William Golding is about a group of British school boys that are stranded on an island without any parents. They quickly elect a leader (Ralph) and try to make a government. Later on, the government starts to fall apart as the children start to give in to their primitive instinct.
The Conflict
Aside from the tensions between Ralph and Jack, there is a conflict between the ruling class (Ralph and Piggy), and working class (everyone else). Once everyone joins Jack's tribe, the second conflict is clear. This is an example of a "revolution", which will be talked about later. You could argue that Jack is ruling class, but he does not benefit more than anyone else from the hunt, and takes part in it himself.
Page 22: "This toy of voting was almost as leasing 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 stilness about Ralph as he sat that marked him out: there was his size, and attractive apperance; and most obscurely, yet most powerfully, there was the conch."
In this paragraph, the kids have just elected Ralph as their chief. It shows how he is now a ruling class character. He now has the power to control who does what. Later on in the book, he orders Jack and his choir to start a fire so they can be rescued.
More Quotes
Page 127: "Who thinks Ralph shouldn't be chief?"
-This is an example of the revolution. The working class (Jack) is trying to overthrow the ruling class (Ralph)

Page 98: "'I'm chief. We've got to make certain [that there is no beast]....There's no signal showing [on the mountain]. There may be a ship out there."
-This shows how Ralph is ruling class
Jack and his hunters
Full transcript