Lord of the Flies: Savagery Triggered by the Incessant Presence of the Id

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Savagery Triggered by the Incessant Presence of the Id
Lord of the Flies, an emblematic novel written by William Golding in 1954, is often interpreted as an allegory of the human psyche. For example, in a literary criticism of Golding’s Lord of the Flies Diane Andrews Henningfield, a professor at Adrian College, states: “According to Freud the id works always to gratify its own impulses…Golding seems to be saying that without the reinforcement of social norms, the id will control the psyche.” (Novels for Students 188) In Lord of the Flies Jack, the conch shell, and Piggy’s glasses descend into savagery when detached from the manacles of civilization because they are dominated by selfish desires and desperately seek to gratify them without considering the well-being of anyone else.

Finally free from the shackles of civilization, Jack is only governed by the incessant presence of the id in his own mind. Jack appeared to merely be a strong-willed young boy when the plane first crashed on the island, but by the time the British navy arrives to rescue the boys Jack proves to be the epitome of savagery and violence viciously seeking to fulfill his own aspirations. For example, when electing a leader at the first meeting of all the boys, Jack states: “I ought to be chief…because I’m chapter chorister and head boy.” (Golding 22) Here Jack demonstrates his longing for power by pursuing a position of authority among the boys, yet he clearly has no concern for their well-being. Furthermore, when Jack is denied the position of power, he becomes increasingly obsessed with hunting pigs. For example, Jack suggests that the hunters wear dazzle paint, and he chants: “Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!” (Golding 152) Jack blatantly ignores the rules of civilization, and pursues his selfish quest for power and totally disregards the well-being of the rest of the boys. In addition, Jack establishes his own tribe that is based upon savage rituals such as hunting...
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