Freudian Division of Mind Applied to Characters of Lord of the Flies

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"Freud described the Ego as being like a rider on a horse (the Id), trying to hold the horse in check. It mediates between the Id and the outside world, in the sense of being aware both of the Id's energies and of what the outside world will allow. The Super Ego is a sort of conscience, the place where injunctions to behave properly, learned or inherited from people like parents, teachers and priests, reside. Freud says the person is the focal point of a struggle between our desires (Id), what is realistic (Ego), and the views of others (Super Ego)." David B. Stevenson of Brown University is responsible for this quote that gives a simplistic idea of the Freudian Division of the Human Mind. The description is fairly self-explanatory, but a better understanding of the three concepts can be made by thinking of Satan as the Id, Jesus as the Super Ego, and humans as the ego, caught between the two forces. In William Golding's novel, Lord of the Flies, these Freudian concepts can be applied to the characters of Jack, Piggy, Simon, and Ralph. Jack fits into the concept of the Id overpowering the Ego and Super Ego, as is seen in his violent urges and carrying out of killing things and the negative steps he takes in getting there. Piggy and Simon fit into the concept of the Super Ego, in the sense that Piggy is logical and proper in his actions, and Simon cares about other people and is empathetic and good-willed in his ways. Ralph fits into the concept of the Ego, as he is caught between the Super Ego (Piggy and Simon) and the Id (Jack). Ralph knows what is right and what is wrong, but at times he can be mean or not feel sorry for people. An in-depth analysis of how each character exemplifies each Freudian division is well deserved.

To begin with, the Id is what provides the most primal urges and instinctual drives that want to fulfill desires, even if those desires are not allowed or are looked down upon by society. Jack well embodies the Id, as his main goal on the island is to "Kill the pig! Cut her throat! Bash her in" (page 75)! This is obviously very violent and primal, not too useful, and is meant as a source of joy or pleasure. It is bad enough to have the desire to kill things, but it is entirely another to actually do it. Not for the first time, Jack does so to a mother sow, "her belly was fringed with a row of piglets that slept or burrowed and squeaked" (page 134). "Jack was on top of the sow, stabbing downward with his knife…then [he] found the throat and the hot blood spouted over his hands" (page 135). This is horrifically awful: the pig is a mother and is nursing piglets, the death of any pig on the island is unnecessary, as there is plenty of fruit to survive on and fish is caught periodically as well, and even if the death of a pig was necessary, it doesn't have to be killed in such a violent manner as this. The Id does not solely have to do with violence and killing, however, it encompasses all drives that demand immediate gratification, despite the consequences. "You go away, Ralph. You keep to your end. This is my end and my tribe. You leave me alone" (page 176). Jack says this after he has recently broken away from Ralph and formed a tribe of his own. This statement by Jack is by no means violent or very threatening, but it does show the Id being the most powerful Freudian division in Jack. By breaking away, Jack is disregarding the fact that he is destroying the island's society and decreasing their chances of rescue and survival, simply so he may feel more powerful; that is the Id at work.

Another Freudian Division of the Human Mind is the Super Ego. This is "the [Division] which reasons, masters impulses and generally controls the environment around it. It helps us come to terms with reality, with the world as it is." Another quote from David B. Stevenson, it well summarizes the Freudian concept of the Super Ego. In Lord of the Flies, the two characters that best support this concept are...
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