Archetype Analysis of Lord of the Flies

Topics: Carl Jung, Jungian archetypes, Analytical psychology Pages: 7 (2452 words) Published: February 11, 2011
Abstract: William Golding won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1983, for his first writing Lord of the Flies, in which symbolism is wildly used and attributes lots of symbolic meanings to the characters and events. The story thus becomes vivid and profound. This paper aims at using Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung’s collective unconscious and archetypal theories to interpret the archetypes of characters, natural scenes and themes.

Key words: symbolism, Lord of the Flies, collective unconscious, archetypal theory

0. Introduction
Lord of the Flies is the masterpiece of William Golding. With its medium size, the author exerts his imagination and creativity, and successfully produces plenty of vivid and appropriate symbols, which strengthen the book’s effectiveness. The novel depicts a story that a group of boys get left on an isolated island due to an airplane’s wreckage in an imaginary war of future. However, in the environment far way from human civilization, the group of boys are soon split into two factions, rational one represented by Ralph who defends civilization and the belief of being rescued, the other, a violent one, represented by Jack, who indulges in the ecstasy of hunting. In the struggle of these two factions, the island like a paradise gets to be covered with the pitiless fire. In the end, when the latter are chasing the former, a navy officer comes to the island and rescues all the children. On how to interpret the novel, there are lots of voices. Some pay their attention to the understandings of the themes--- especially to the black side of human’s inner side; some are now using feminism to read it. But recently, psychological analysis seems to come to its stage. This essay aims at using Jung’s collective unconsciousness and archetypal theory to analyze the prototypes of the characters, some natural scenes and themes in this novel. Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung is the forefather of the analytical psychology, and her great contribution is his exploration in the collective unconsciousness and archetypes. He affirms that the unconsciousness is evolved from the original time and deeply rooted in human’s mind, but not from the personal experience, and that it is innate. Therefore, Jung defines this deep unconsciousness into the collective unconsciousness, which stores human’s inner legacy. So in it there are all kinds of what Jung so-calls the potential images. Human inherit this from our ancestor, so the potentiality may lead us to adopt the same method like our ancestor to master and react to the world. In his whole life, Jung identifies numerous archetypes. As what he says, every classical situation has its prototype, for these experiences are repeated and deeply caved in our psychology. Golding expresses a series of Jungian archetypes in this novel, creates its allegorical and symbolic world, and thus becomes charming forever.

1. Archetypes of characters
The novel mainly depicts four characters, Ralph, Jack, Piggy and Simon, who respectively represent the archetypes of hero, demon, sophist and God.

1) Archetype of hero
Ralph has a strong building like a sportsman. With a conch in his hand, he seems to be born with a leader’s temperance. His characteristics attract the other boys at the beginning, so they elect him the leader. He is calm and rational, and has a higher judge ability and stronger ethics. He insists on making a fire as a sign for help. During the expecting to be rescued, he blows again and again the conch, which symbolizes authority and civilization, and propagates the principles and methods of a civilized society, such as the right to speak only with the conch, building a hut from the sun and rain, and keeping clean. In this way, he changes this chaotic group into one with order. However, Ralph is still a normal person, and can also be attracted and make mistakes like other kids. He once joins in the dance of killing Simon and shouting “kill the beast, cut off the throat,...

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