What Is The Absence Of Civilization In Lord Of The Flies

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What happens to man’s ideas when rules disappear? Which areas of personality prevail, and which crumble in the absence of civilization? William Golding’s Lord of the Flies explores this idea through a group of British schoolboys who crash-land on a deserted island. They quickly compensate for the lack of adults by electing a chief, Ralph. However, a group of boys led by Jack succumb to their primal instincts and decide to become hunters. Soon enough, most of the boys follow their example, including Roger, who grows to be particularly cruel. Ralph and Piggy, who have a deep appreciation for rules, reject this practice and attempt to remain civilized. The descent into madness and savagery of most of the island’s inhabitants invites the reader …show more content…
This function is shared with Freud’s idea of the Superego, the psyche’s impulse control section. During assemblies, Piggy stressed the importance of civilization. After the boys impulsively start a signal fire and cause damage to the island, Piggy lost his temper and shouted, “‘I got the conch! Just you listen! The first thing we ought to have made was shelters down there by the beach’… ‘How can you expect to be rescued if you don't put first things first and act proper?’” (Golding 45). This type of behavior is deeply influenced by morals and ideas taught by parents, or other authority figures. Piggy’s belief in these rules, especially as he clings to the conch which represents civilization and order, prove that he is the Superego in the novel. The superego stems from “… parents’ moral standards… The developing superego absorbs the traditions of the family and the surrounding society” (Britannica). Piggy is affected by society the most when compared to the other boys on the island, as seen by his appreciation for the conch and holding assemblies. He also mentions his aunt on multiple occasions, showing that the rules she set forth as a guardian still affect him. These actions create a connection with the superego. Additionally, the Superego must keep the Id’s impulsive actions under control, which Piggy also attempts to do. Close …show more content…
In their second assembly, Ralph fulfilled a part of the Ego—listening to impulses while listening to practical reason and the real world. He stood in front of the boys and stated, “‘I was thinking while we were climbing the mountain.’ He flashed a conspiratorial grin at the other two. ‘And on the beach just now. This is what I thought. We want to have fun. And we want to be rescued’" (Golding 32). Already, Ralph is attempting to combine what the boys want—fun, and what they need—rescue. This behavior correlates perfectly to the Ego’s role within the human psyche as the judge. Essentially, the Ego is “… the component of personality that is responsible for dealing with reality” (Cherry and Gans). Ralph is already behaving in accordance with reality in the novel. He knows that the boys want to have fun without grownups, however, they must prioritize rescue. In a sense, he is even more realistic than Piggy, because he is focused on both the “wants” and the “needs” of the group. Ralph’s responsibility as leader also leads to conflict resolution, especially between Jack and Piggy. As the leader of the hunters, Jack also became savage and controlled by the instincts of the Id. He constantly tries to suppress Piggy during assemblies, and Ralph must intervene to stop their quarreling.

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