The Bell Jar and Isolation

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Isolation in general has a lasting effect on a person’s growth and understanding. As isolation comes in different forms, the effect it has on the nature of man also varies. The one thing that all forms of isolation have in common is that they influence an individual’s growth in some way. Forced isolation is isolation that is involuntary, or against the will. Isolation in which an individual isolates himself or herself is considered self-inflicted. Both of these types have adverse effects on an individual’s growth. Social isolation, as opposed to forced or self-inflicted isolation, has the most detrimental effect on an individual’s mental growth and understanding of illusion versus reality as it deprives the individual of the necessary factors that shape him or her into an acceptable member of society, manifested in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies.

The need for rules is instrumental in influencing an individual’s mental growth. This aspect of human nature is taken away by social isolation in Lord of the Flies. As the novel progresses, the boys agree that “ [they’ve] got to have rules and obey them” (Golding 42). This affirms the boys’ innate need for rules and structure. For a time, rules are what bind the boys together. As rules and regulations begin to deteriorate, the boys’ senses begin to fade away as well. These rules begin to lose power as social isolation slowly strips away the their humanity and they begin to lose sight of reality.

Another factor needed for growth into an acceptable member of society is the need for social interaction, or the need for assembly. More than once Ralph, the elected leader in Lord of the Flies, voices his opinions that “ [they] need an assembly”(Golding 79). Social interaction is a necessity that shapes an individual into an accepted member of society. It is through relationships that people are able to learn common behavior that is universally acceptable. Family and community relationships are another part of the boy’s...
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