Lord of the Flies and World War II
It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways -Buddha. William Golding’s novel, Lord of the Flies provides multiple examples of historical allusion to reflect the events of World War II and enhance the meaning of the public’s concerns about the conflict between democracy and communism. Throughout the novel, Golding depicts the deserted island as a place where the unrestrained boys have to decide between returning to a civilized state of mankind and inflict social order among the group of boys. The narrative impose of the novel identifies how the boys develop their own sense of society and the difficulties that arise from it.
To begin with, the Cold War, the nuclear standoff that became known as Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), displays how it would have led to annihilation of both the one who was attacking and the one who was being targeted which resulted that no one won in the situation. The novel Lord of the Flies explores this idea of Mutually Assured Destruction within its own plot. For instance, the fire first began to act as a source of guidance as exemplified when Ralph announces, How can we ever be rescued except by luck, if we don’t keep a fire going? (Golding 86). Towards the end of the novel there is a shift regarding the significance of the fire from Ralph’s perspective because it could represents his leadership and having it stolen from Jack, contributes to the ongoing controversy over leadership.
In addition, characterization emphasizes the tension Golding establishes between disorder and political organization. Golding describes Jack and his choir boys as behaving militaristic and aggressive as Golding stated, Stand still…Wearily obedient, the choir huddled into the line and stood there swaying in the sun (Golding 20). This implies that Jack’s own perspective of leadership has become brutal for the reason that he seeks to dominate and conquer nature by hunting and killing pigs. This desire foreshadows the intensification of his violent impulses which further along the novel develops his character of a communist leader. On the contrary, Golding elaborates on Ralph’s character as being focused on the concerns of the group as Ralph proclaims, We want meat…And we need shelters (Golding 51). Ralph comes to the realization that Jack’s militaristic values do not increase the probability of the boys’ survival on the island which divulge Ralph’s sense of democracy in terms of freedom of choice. Consequently, Ralph’s orientation is towards the group, on the other hand, Jack is focuses mainly on his personal glory and pleasure which again correlates with the idea of his militaristic principles.
Furthemore, the deficiency of food in Britain during World War II was a major concern of people’s lives. Although people had a sufficient amount of food to survive, any portion of meat and imported fruits such as oranges became luxurious items. When the boys first arrive on the island, they collected food whenever they felt the necessity to. Later on, the desire to hunt for meat becomes controversial for the boys as Golding mentions, He stood back and the head hung there, a little blood dripping down the stick This head is for the beast. It’s a gift (Golding 137). At this point of the novel, Jack is sufficiently prepared to kill and inflict moral violence upon a pig or even a person.
By mentioning this, Golding indicates that Jack’s madness becomes extremely dangerous when the subject of hunting is being presented. This same mentality corresponds with German leader Adolf Hitler’s use of violence and intimidation to obtain power and superiority. The SS was a Nazi organization that was passionately loyal to Hitler and was acknowledged for never showing human weakness. The brutal way that the SS treated its enemies is parallel to the way Jack uses Roger to petrify the others boys into cooperation. Additionally, Jack also intimidates the other boys into cooperation, for example, in the case of Samneric, who claimed that they joined Jack’s tribe because They made us. They hurt us (Golding 188). Subsequently, Hitler used violence and terror to control similarly as Jack who gives orders for his choir as if they were military troops and must shed the lessons of conscience before he can kill.
In essence, Lord of the Flies by William Golding was strongly influenced by his personal experiences as a naval officer during World War II. The conflict among the boys on the island is a reflection of the conflict between powers of democracy and communism.Ralph represents the democracy based on his principles whereas Jack delineates the communistic values. Similarly, Jack and Hitler both used fear and violence to obtain power and superiority. Briefly, evil appears to be a force that terrorizes humanity and civilization from within.