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Lord of the Flies: A Psychological Approach
Transcript of Lord of the Flies: A Psychological Approach
Approach Jack Ralph Piggy Thesis The Id The Ego The Super Ego In "Lord of the Flies," William
Golding uses the characters Jack,
Ralph, Piggy, and Simon to
represent the different parts of
human psychology, showing how their imbalanced relationship with one another can lead to eventual self destruction. Simon The Innocence of the Human Mind What is the Psychological
Approach? The psychological approach is applying
the theories of pioneering
psychologist Sigmund Freud to the elements
of a piece of literature; it is analyzing a text
to see how Freud's research has effected it. Question and Answer 1. Will Jack continue to commit evil deeds once returned to society?
2. How did Piggy's death affect Ralph's psychological role?
3. What would it mean if Simon were to have lived? Works Cited Parivelan, K. M. "A Critical Analysis of the Psychological Insights in Lord of the Flies by William Golding." Meghdutam. Meghdutam, n.d. Web. 5 June 2013. <http://www.rbhs.w-cook.k12.il.us/Mancoff/lofcritan.htm>. Jack is the perfect representation of the Id. He seeks to fulfill his every desire, acts on impulse, and lacks any sort of rationality behind his actions. Initially, he believes he should be leader only because he can "sing C sharp," (Golding 20). As shown by his obsession over hunting and killing, he is primal and instinctual; rather than looking for ways to be rescued, he dedicates all of his efforts to kill a pig. Interestingly, this implies that Jack is not necessarily "evil," and that he does not find pleasure in his horrible deeds. Instead, he is considered amoral, committing crimes because his instincts tell him to in order to survive. The Id can be a good thing, but "in Jack, passion is embodied in a negative sense with Golding utilizing Jack for demonstrating the degeneration of civilization," (Parivelan). The Id is the most basic part of the human mind, and Jack's primal actions throughout the novel show his connection to it constantly. Ralph is shown throughout "Lord of the Flies" to represent the Ego. The Ego is the part of the mind that Freud proposed is used to regulate the Id's savage tendencies and to keep the Super Ego grounded. Ralph actively plays this role in the book, trying the keep Jack under control and take Piggy's ideas into consideration. It is even realized literally that without Ralph to moderate, Jack would seriously hurt Piggy, reinforcing the concept. In the beginning, Ralph does not take to Piggy, and bonds quickly with Jack. However, as time passes, Ralph realizes the importance of Piggy's input, and knows that without it, his leadership over Jack and others (essentially the mind) would collapse, for he "can't think. Not like Piggy," (Golding 78). Even though he recognizes the importance of Piggy, the Super Ego, he occasionally loses sight of this and succumbs to the Id. This is seen in Ralph's barbaric reaction to being part of the hunt with Jack, where he loses himself in the action and intensity. All in all, Ralph chooses the best option from both Jack and Piggy, almost identically to how the Ego moderates between the Id and the Super Ego. Piggy is used to represent the Super Ego. The Super Ego is the part of the mind that is essentially one's conscious. It adheres to the ideals that were taught to a person through his or her culture and tells him or her if goals and fantasies are right or wrong by issuing guilt. The Super Ego is a person's morality, and it always strives for perfection. The Super Ego is mostly unconscious and "Lord of the Flies" portrays this thoroughly. Piggy often gives input that is in the best interest of all of the boys. Almost always, Piggy's ideas are struck down by Jack, the overpowering Id. Piggy remains unheard over and over in the novel due to the unstable relationship between the two. The gruesome death of Piggy implies that in the end, a situation where the Id prevails over over the Super Ego would be dire. As explained by Devera, "the novel ends after the id has completely crushed the superego." Simon is used to represent all of the innocence the human mind possesses when a person is first born. Simon, very childlike in nature, is honest, pure, and guiltless, and remains unchanged throughout the novel. Simon is "the most self-conscious in his group, he is incapable of speaking in public and prefers solitude," (Parivelan). The first scene that features Jack, Simon, and Ralph walking together strongly symbolizes the first stages of life, in which a Super Ego has not taken shape and the Id and Ego peacefully coexist. Later in the novel, Ralph and Jack begin to separate themselves, and Simon loses a place; he partakes in lonely nature walks that demonstrate the fading and corruption of innocence. Finally, he is killed indirectly by Jack's influence, symbolizing how the Id eventually brings about an end to someone's innocence. Conclusion All things considered, "The Lord of the Flies" shows how slowly the mind can collapse on itself if one part becomes too powerful; in this case, it is the Id. It begins with the end of innocence, and the destruction of the Super Ego. From there the Ego loses its moderating abilities, and is left helpless to subdue the impulsiveness of the Id. Ultimately, the mind self-destructs and turns to utter insanity until met with intervention as displayed in the final chapter of the novel. Devera, John. "Literary Analysis: Symbolism in Lord of the Flies, by William Golding." Helium. Helium, 10 Aug. 2007. Web. 05 June 2013. <http://www.helium.com/items/517951-literary-analysis-symbolism-in-lord-of-the-flies-by-william-golding>. Klassen, Charles. "Psychological Approaches to Literature." Nebo Literature. Nebo Literature, n.d. Web. 5 June 2013. <http://neboliterature.mrkdevelopment.com.au/topic-areas/critical-lit/Psychological-Approach-to-Literature>. Manheim, Leonard. Literature and Psychology. Vol. 11. Michigan: University of Michigan, 1961. Print. Golding, William. "Lord of the Flies." New York: Penguin, 1954. Print.