"Painted Faces and Long Hair" Essay
Innocence is often associated with a happy and carefree youth, while savagery is associated with a lack of civilization. Although innocence and savagery have very different meanings, the opposing forces can ultimately lead to mankind’s destruction. This is shown in Golding's Lord of the Flies, where the tone of the passage in "Painted Faces and Long Hair" is one of fascination and violence. The opening of the passage presents Jack as an inexperienced child who is easily excited. After applying paint onto his face, Jack "look[s] in astonishment...and leap[s] to his feet, laughing excitedly"(63). Jack is portrayed as a lively and spirited young boy; he cannot contain how pleased he is with his handiwork. However, when he tries to look at his new face using the water, "his breathing trouble[s] the mirror"(63). Nature is disturbed by the effect that Jack's new face has on his behavior, as if nature is aware of what Jack is becoming. By prohibiting Jack from seeing his new face, nature shows its disapproval of the mask. Jack’s amazement with the painted mask shows that he is very simple-minded. Towards the ending paragraphs of the passage, violence dominates the tone through Jack's obsession with blood. As Jack begins to dance, "his laughter [becomes] a bloodthirsty snarling"(64). The careless laughter shows Jack’s oblivion to his change in character, while the snarling shows that his unawareness has led him to insanity. His true character begins to show because he feels a "liberat[ion] from shame and self-consciousness"(64) when he wears the mask. As a result, Jack becomes an unstoppable figure of authority that is feared by all; even one of his companions “[falls] silent and blunder[s] away through the bushes”(64) upon seeing Jack’s new face. Jack leaves what is left of his ethics and morals behind and exchanges them for a new-found quest for power. The tone of the passage creates a feeling of naivety, but also a sense of wild...
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