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Masks, unifrom and clothing in Lord of The Flies

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Daanial Chaudhry

on 6 February 2015

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Transcript of Masks, unifrom and clothing in Lord of The Flies

Lord of The Flies
Masks, Uniform & Clothing
Relic of the old world.
Replaced by ‘mask’ in new civilization.
Jack and choristers have uniform –military like/order?
At first take of clothes to avoid sunburn (acclimatise to surroundings).
Both the masks and deterioration of clothes show the descent into savagery
Clothing
Jack
First boy to become savage - first to adopt mask after his first failed pig hunt as a way of camoflauge.
Notice, Jack's most savage moments coincide with descriptions of his lack of clothing
Whilst hunting: “except for a pair of tattered shorts held up by his knife-belt, he is naked” (Page 52).
When raiding Ralph's tent: “stark naked save for paint and a belt” (Page 155).
When he is beating the littl'un Wilfred: “naked to the waist” (Page 176).
Quotes
He knelt, holding the shell of water […]. He looked in astonishment, no longer at himself but at an awesome stranger. (Page 31)
Excited by new identity. Why?
Perhaps because of power he knows it will give him
OR because in the adult world 'masks' are far from the norm (expression of freedom).
Contrast to ending: "a little boy who wore the remains of an extraordinary black cap on his red hair" (Page 247)
Removal of clothes represent removal of (adult) authority.
Likewise, wearing away of clothes occurs as rules on island fade .

Contrast this with Ralph's need to be clean: “Supposing we go looking like we used to wash and hair brushed [...] after all we are not savages really” ( Page 189).
Association of order with being clean and well dresses.
Quotes
We’ll raid them and take fire. There must be four of you; Henry and you, Robert and Maurice. We’ll put on paint and sneak up (chapter 8)
Paint to hide their true identity.
Jack feels that he will not be responsible and thus not have to face the consequences.
The mask is "a thing on its own, behind which Jack hid, liberated from shame and self- consciousness.”
Quotes
He giggled and flecked them while the boys laughed at his reeking palms. Then Jack grabbed Maurice and rubbed the stuff [blood] over his cheeks. (Page 195)
Blood acts as mask, distances boys from event.
Actions don't seem as horrifying?
Quotes
But they’ll be painted! You know how it is.” The others nodded. They understood only too well the liberation into savagery that the concealing paint brought. “Well, we won’t be painted,” said Ralph, “because we aren’t savages.” (chapter 11)
Understanding of power of mask and how boy's are able act without guilt.
Ralph opposed to the idea of wearing masks - aware of how it contributes to the descent into savagery
Quotes
“You two aren’t painted. How can you—? If it were light—” (chapter 12)
Jack obsessive about Samneric joining his tribe -leaving Ralph isolated.
After being forced to join the tribe by Roger’s brute, they have been painted. The paint acts as a sign of Jack’s rule of savagery over the island. Note how Ralph never adopts the paint.
Masks are used to create a different identity. In LOTF, same principle and Jack and his gang use these to clear their guilty conscience and feel empowered by hiding their former selves.
Masks
Civilisation
When the first land on the island, they are all basically fully clothed. Their respect for one another is represented in the well-kept state of their clothes and they act democratically.
'Some
were naked and carrying their clothes; others half-naked, or more or less
dressed, in school uniforms, grey, blue, fawn, jacketed, or jerseyed.' Chapter 1
Transition
For the boys, the loss of clothing is seen as a simple adaptation to their environment. However, because of the placing of this transition with the beginning of hunting, it suggests the beginning of savagery.
'His [Jack's] sandy
hair, considerably longer than it had been when they dropped in, was
lighter now; and his bare back was a mass of dark freckles and peeling
sunburn. A sharpened stick about five feet long trailed from his right hand, and except for a pair of tattered shorts held up by his knife-belt he
was naked.' Chapter 3
Sitting, Ralph was aware of the heat for the first time that day. He
pulled distastefully at his grey shirt and wondered whether he might undertake
the adventure of washing it. Chapter 7
Savagery
Near the end of the book, clothing for Jack's tribe is seen as a restriction to their hunting prowess and capability. For Ralph and his group, clothing is one of their last links to civilisation and to oppose Jack.
“I’ve got both socks left in the shelter,” said Eric, “so we could pull them
over our heads like caps, sort of.”
“We could find some stuff,” said Piggy, “and tie your hair back.”
Chapter 11
Before going to Castle Rock to retrieve Piggy's glasses, Ralph's group want to be more civilised than Jack and in their eyes better than him to oppose their idea of paint, hunting and savagery
The fact that the boys (especially the choir boys) were in the uniform suggests that the boys were taken by surprise in the event of war.
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