Reflections on Society in Literary Works

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In Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s I Only Came to Use the Phone and William Golding’s Lord of the Flies characters experience dehumanization through isolation from society. While some might believe that Marquez and Golding use the trapped characters’ actions to criticize society, they are actually doing the opposite. All immoral behavior done by characters in these literary works are done in the absence of society, showing that the authors are actually portraying society as the stabilizing element of our morality, and the structure of our humanization. Without society, for characters like Maria, Jack, Roger and Ralph, the essence of humanity is lost and the line between man and beast blurred. In the beginning of both stories there is still a great presence of society. In Lord of the Flies, directly after the plane crash the boys set up a mini society on the island. The vote for a leader and choose Ralph, much like we do in society today. The text even states that “This toy of voting was almost as pleasing as the conch” (Golding, 22). This of course shows how the boys crave and choose structure and civility over chaos and anarchy… at first. Voting is something that we do in a democratic society and the conch itself is a symbol of democracy and order. Both of these things please the boys, which demonstrate that the structure of society is keeping them human and civilized. Another example of society’s impression on the boys comes from Jack and the choir, ironically the people who will end up the most savage. When they first arrive on the beach, Golding describes them as “a party of boys, marching approximately in step in two parallel lines.” (Golding, 19) and “Wearily obedient” (Golding, 20). Golding makes sure to accentuate the pr... ... middle of paper ... ...ife behind forever. This proves that her isolation from society is what has driven her into madness, and causes her to reject society all together. In conclusion, both Marquez and Golding display characters that are separated from, society and lose their individuality and become dehumanized. While it is of the belief that authors use the behaviors of characters that have been separated from society as a way of negatively commenting on society, Marquez and Golding do the opposite. They portray society as what makes us human and separates us from “the beast” or “the cloister.” After a prolonged period of isolation from society the main characters lose sight of their humanity and succumb to these animalistic urges. Both authors’ message is that society is what keeps humans humane and prolonged separation from it could prove very fatal.
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