William Golding and Evil

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'Men of a Smaller Growth:

A Psychological Analysis of William Golding'_ Lord of the Flies'

Claire Rosenfield

Ralph Maltese

The information here is from my research on Golding and his work and also includes my own notes.

Psychological Analysis

Taboo according to Freud is a "very primitive prohibition imposed from without(by an authority)and directed against the strongest desires of man.  In this new society it replaces the authority of the parents. Now every kill becomes  a sexual act, is a metaphor for childhood sexuality."

Lord of the Flies - -name applied to the biblical demon Beelzebub, and later used in Goethe/a Faust, Part 1, to describe Mephistopheles.  It
also applies to the Lord of Filth and Dung....human excrement in the Freudian sense - -Simon asks what is the filthiest thing? The boys wind up worshiping the foulest part of ourselves.

"Simon's descent into the mouth - -metaphorically - -it suggests the ritual quest in which the hero is swallowed by a serpent or dragon or beast whose be is the underworld, undergoes a symbolic death in order to gain the elixir to revitalize his stricken society, and returns with his knowledge to the timed world as -a redeemer."

"According to Huizinga's theory of play, war is a game, a contest for prestige which, like the games of primitives or of classical athletes, may be fatal."

The ultimate irrationality is war...the children not only return to a primitive and infantile morality but they also degenerate into adults.          They prove that, indeed, 'children are but men of -a smaller growth."

The adult world is not much better. Ralph calls for a sign from the adult world and a dead parachutist plummets into their midst. The adult who does show up to rescue them is naive and engaged in the same man hunt as the children. As Golding says, 'And who...will rescue the adult and his cruiser?"

"Psychology of the individual contributes the configurations for the development of religion."

"Having populated the outside world with demons and spirits which  are projections of their instinctual nature, these children - -and primitive men-must then unconsciously evolve new forms of worship and laws, which manifest themselves in taboos, the oldest form of social repression."

'War has its rules - -modern war tends to obscure its ritualistic and its ennobling character.  It, too, has its spatial and temporal limitations, as the new rash of "limited' wars makes very clear."

In Joseph Campbell's view- modern man has changed because he now focuses on himself as mystery, rather than the universe or environment.

Golding believes in individual progress - -But focusing on individual brings with it a selfishness, a lack of community.

Now effective is a system which defines morality and proscribes immorality? See Clockwork Orange.


Perhaps the best we can have is system which protects us from ourselves - -not an idealistic system but one which protect.. the individual.

Human condition is irrational.  Violence on island reflects

microcosm - -violence is the macrocosm-man and his universe as a cruel and irrational chaos.   "Lord of Dung",   Jack's choir is black robed.   Jack
is evil. Jack’s red hair, etc. is described in devilish terms.

Revelation or cognition of a world external to self is symptomatic of order; failure to recognize such a world becomes symptomatic of moral decay.

Conch---real object; accepted in the light of reason and dedicated to social control.

Lord of the Flies - -object endowed with mystical qualities,
embodying hallucination and-fear and dedicated to social extinction.

"The way to become human is to learn the lineaments of God in all of the wonderful modulations of the +ace of man." Joseph Campbell--"The Hero With a Thousand Face=."

Man himself now is the crucial mystery. Fire and water are symbolic.

"The children in Lord of the Flies organize by perceiving objects, becoming aware of them, naming them (the primal act of naming is a continuous by-product of humanity in Golding's work)."              Ralph Freedman.

"Golding deliberately makes us forget that these are only young children. Their drama and conflict typify the inevitable overthrow of all attempts to impose a permanent civilisation on the instincts of man. The surprising twist of events at the end of the novel is a highly original device to force upon us a new viewpoint. The crazy, sadistic chase to kill Ralph is suddenly revealed to be the work of a semi-circle of little boys, their bodies streaked with coloured clay. but the irony is also directed at the naval officer, who comes to rescue them.   His trim cruiser, the submachine gun, his white drill, epaulettes, revolver and row of gilt buttons, are only more sophisticated substitutes for the war-paint and sticks of Jack and his followers. He too is chasing men in order to kill, and the dirty children mock the absurd civilised attempt to hide the power of evil. And so when Ralph weeps for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart, and the death of his true, wise friend, Piggy, he weeps for all the human race." C.B. Cox "Lord of the Flies"

nflof2



 

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