A Sociological Perspective of Lord of the Flies Essay

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During World War II, the United States killed 90,000 to 166,000 people in Hiroshima with an atomic bomb. The bombing of Hiroshima demonstrated the uncivilized behaviors of humankind: hunger for power, misuse of technology, and subconscious reactions to conflicts. Lord of the Flies, an allegorical novel by William Golding, illustrates a horrific tale of boys who are stranded on an island and lose their ability to make civil decisions. Throughout the book, Ralph and Jack fight for power, Piggy’s spectacles are constantly taken to create fire, and several of the boys become “savage” and act upon their subconscious minds. From a sociological perspective, Golding’s novel portrays man’s voracity for power, abuse of technology to the point of destruction, and his venture to inner darkness.
Throughout Lord of the Flies is a display of humankind’s thirst for power. Most of the boys, for example, transition to savagery and animalistic behaviors to free themselves from powerless lives. Jack, the leader of the hunters, becomes the first of the boys to paint a mask on his face. “Jack planned his new face. He made one cheek and one eye-socket white, then he rubbed over the other half of his face and slashed a black bar of charcoal across from right ear to left jaw…Beside the pool his sinewy body held up a mask that drew their eyes and appalled them. He began to dance and his laughter became a bloodthirsty snarling, behind which Jack hid, liberated from shame and self-consciousness,” (63-64). Under his mask, Jack feels no shame, and therefore is free to indulge in power as he desires. In fact, later in the book, Jack and a few other boys commit one of the ultimate crimes of violence and power—rape (although only metaphorically.) Jack...

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...competition for power is mirrored in the book by Jack and Ralph’s fight for the position of chief on the island. Their fighting, however, results in death and destruction, not only of people, but of civil behavior as well. Another way destruction of humans and civil behavior is achieved is through abuse of technology, which is signified in the story by the misuse and ill-treatment of Piggy’s glasses. In addition, the boys commit crimes on account of their fear. These crimes cause the boys to become savage and lose their civil ways. Golding wrote this novel as a reaction to the bombing of Hiroshima, which also displayed American hunger for power, destruction by atom bombs, and the U.S.’s reaction to their fear of Japan’s destructive capabilities. It is important that readers at least recognize these faults, because only then might they attempt to correct them.

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