Sigmund he balances thedecisions he makes between values

Sigmund Freud’s Ideologies in Lord of the FliesGerman screenwriter Werner Herzog says that Civilization is like a thin layer of iceupon a deep ocean of chaos and darkness.” William Golding expresses his insights through Lordof the Flies where Jack, Ralph, and Piggy evolve as both individuals and role models throughoutthe book. Each typify one of Sigmund Freud’s three levels of consciousness: the id, the ego, andthe superego. The young school boys demonstrate their distinct thinking processes in order tomake decisions in high pressure situations, as their hardship away from the bonds of civilizationcontinue.

Golding is able to demonstrate Freud’s theory while these three characters use theirimpulses as well as their human instincts and rationality to survive and lead in the misfortunatesituation they have been thrown. These three characters can be categorized onto a spectrumwhere Jack is a representation of immediate satisfaction where he will do almost anything torectify his wants. Piggy on the other hand values things such as conscience, morals, and stayingcivilized. Ralph, can be seen as a healthy balance between the two characters as he balances thedecisions he makes between values of his own and immediate gratification. An individual’s wayof thinking can be categorized as one of the three levels of consciousness when they are placedin an environment containing adversity and conflict.Throughout the entirety of the novel, Jack displays his primal impulses allowingreaders to thoroughly explore the “id” conscious level of Freud’s theory. ld is human instinctwhere the driving force influences decisions, out-values the wellbeing of the collective, andgratifies one’s own endeavours above all else.

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Jack is found to be a selfish, self-centred characterwho is concerned solely about his individual desires during times of hardship. When Ralp?hquestions Jack about the importance of rescue, he responds casually by saying “Rescue? Yes, of course! All the same, I’d like to catch a pig first” (53). One of the major conflicts in Lord of the flies is Jack’s focus on killing pigs that intrudes on Ralph’s ability to build shelters. Due to thehunger of the school boys and their desire for meat, Jack is seen as a figure who is able to givethe boys something they yearned. Consequently, Simon and Ralph are left alone to build theshelters for theboys. It seems obvious to Ralph that being rescued is the number one prioritywhereas Jack on the other hand is bound up in his selfish vision. His feelings and emotionscontrol his mind, often leading to irrational decisions all to satisfy his craving for power and selfsatisfaction. Because of this closed mind way of thinking, Jack successfully prevents himselffrom considering and thinking logical ideas or thoughts.

Jack’s impulsive decisions andthoughtless comments towards his peers allows him to be the psychoanalytic character thatmakes him a poster boy of the “id” conscious level. Jack is seen as disrespectful from thebeginning as at the meeting he would tell a complete stranger in piggy to, Shut up Fatty” (21)Jack does not hesitate to display his arrogance and non-negotiable dominance upon the rest ofthe group as he would try to assert himself as the clear cut leader. Upon first impression betweenthese two characters, readers get a feel for Jack’s need to make himself feel superior. Jack’simpulsive instincts allow him to emerge as a power seeking individual who is merelyconcentrating on his own personal needs.

He is seen throughout the novel committing sinful actsjust to get what he wants. For example, Jack and Ralph debate, Jack satisfies his needs byoutdoing Ralph and commenting on his victory. “See? They do what I want” (179). Jack’s “id” atthis point is has washed over him and become uncontrollable as he is driven by constant self-gratification and is uncaring to others.

He tells his tribe to tie the twins up and rubs it in to Ralph that they no longer listen to him anymore. According to Freud’s philosophies, Jack’s actions canbe compared to a baby or infant like, as he cannot control his desires, wants, or needs. AlthoughJack evolves as the character who relies on his instincts to survive and influence his actions,often leading to problems and poor decisions, he is ironically the reason the boys are saved. AsJack and his tribe of primal savages hunted Ralph, they start a fire to scare him out of the bushes.Luckily this fire is seen by a naval officer passing the island.

In spite of the fact that Jack is theleast concerned about being rescued, he is responsible for saving the school boys from thewretched island. Golding created Jack as a character who embodied Freud’s proposed “idconscious level in an increasingly challenging situation, completely opposing Piggy, who is arational and thoughtful individual even on his death bedPiggy is a larger boy, an easy target, a boy who is chained down by ethical restraints ofcivilization, demonstrating Freud’s “superego” ideas. It is the part of an individual’s personalitythat represents the conscience, the morality that lives within. As Piggy faces the misfortune ofbeing stranded on an island, readers are able to notice his morality and his strong connection tosociety. While Piggy and Ralph talk after the crash, Piggy sobs to Ralph “I use to live with myauntie. She kept a sweet shop. I used to get ever so many sweets.

As many as I liked” (13). Piggytells Ralph about his many recollections of society and what life is like at home. Goldingdevelops Piggy as a character who represents the intellectual and scientific aspects of the boysthat creates an instant stereotype for readers; however a deeper meaning can be found behindGolding’s characterization. For instance, Piggy values other people above himself, showing thathe is a selfless characterize who puts the collective’s wellbeing ahead of his own. Throughout the Lord of the Elies, Golding compares Piggy to an adult numerous times owing to his “superego”qualities that keep him controlled and constantly intact with society no matter his distance awayfrom it. Piggy’s genuine and kind nature is why Ralph finds a great deal of respect for him.

Golding attaches a symbolic significance, to the fire as it represents the boys’ interest inmaintaining ties to civilization and while it continues to burn, they maintain hope. While Piggyand Ralph explore the mysterious island, Piggy finds a shell and says to Ralph “A conch hecalled it. He used to blow it and then his mum would come.” (15). Despite Piggy’s surroundingsand the act that many of the other boys fall into a primal savage state, Piggy relies on values andrules, same as in a civilized society to remain level minded and stay focused on priorities likebeing rescued. Through Piggy’s intellectual abilities, he realizes that the only thing the boys haveto fear is themselves. The longer they are away from society’s rules, the harder it becomes forthem to maintain discipline and self-control. The conch that Piggy discovers at the start of thenovel is an important symbol, showing democracy and the ties to society, and when that conchslowly fades so does the democratic way of life of the boys.

Although Piggy finds the conch andtells Ralph how to use it, Ralph is seen as a primary character associated with the conch and itsrepresentation.Most readers would agree that the protagonist in Golding’s novel is Ralph, as he allowsreaders to explore Freud’s proposed level of consciousness called “ego”. It is the part of thepersonality that maintains a balance between our impulses and our conscience. Ralph continuallyexemplifies his rational thinking by prioritizing in terms of rescue when making all of hisdecisions and after realizing that the boys are slowly abandoning the rules to live a life of savagery. Ralph calls an assembly, and as the boys gather he says, “That shelter might fall dowrnif the rain comes back. We ll need those shelters then” (80). The “ego” conscience understandsthat other individuals may have needs and desires and that sometimes being impulsive or selfishcan hurt collectives or even the individual in the end.

Sometimes instant gratification isn’tdesirable. He understands that the hunters have selfish behaviours and that they are the leastconcerned about rescue. Therefore, as the leader of the group, he attempts to create a structuredsociety with rules to maintain a certain level of steadiness within the group. At the sameassembly, Ralph reassures the boys of this reality by strictly saying The fire is the mostimportant thing on the island. How can we ever be rescued except by luck, if we don’t keep a firegoing?” (80). Ralph is level headed and calm and realizes that the fire is likely their only wayoff the island, and without this hope, the evil and barbaric attitudes of the boys will slowly startto emerge.

Although Ralph attempts to instill the seriousness of the situation into the minds ofthe boys, their savage instincts have already taken over, abandoning their willingness and abilityto see reason. Instead, they value the ability to be self-sustaining and strong. As their leader,Ralph faces many difficult tasks, one of which is trying to rectify the tension among charactersthat have been growing and since he is able to balance his “id” and “superego” in situations likethis, he is a good representation of the “ego” proportion of Freud’s theory. As Jack and his tribeof hunters burn down the forest in an attempt to kill Ralph, Ralph says “The fools! The fire mustbe almost to the fruit trees-what would they eat tomorrow” (220). Ralph is able to maintain aconstant balance between his impulses and his conscience, even in times of extreme discomfortand is very rational. Ralph’s rational thinking allows him to meet the needs of his impulses,while taking into consideration the reality of the situation.When an individual is placed in a strenuous and demanding enis exposes their way of thinking which can be categorized into one of the three levels ofconsciousness.

The overarching conflict in the Lord of the Flies erupts as savagery engulfscivilization, or in the context of Sigmund Freud’s three levels of consciousness, impulses face offagainst consciousness. Jack represents the “id” Piggy represents the superego” and Ralphrepresents the combination of the two- the “ego”. William Golding. through these characters,brings to life the theory of Freud and shows his readers how thought processes can contribute tosurvival or death.

Author: Margaret Brooks


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