Annie Lennox once said,”Humankind seems to have an enormous capacity for savagery, for brutality, for lack of empathy, for lack of compassion.” The allegorical fiction novel Lord of the Flies is about a group of boys who are fleeing their country due to war in their country. However, the boys plane crash lands on an island. The boys end up having to face problems that test their civilization and leadership skills. A perspective from which one can read the book is from a Freudian analytical perspective. Freud argued that there are three parts to the human psyche: the id, ego, and superego. The id is the part that has one’s desires, which include instinctive and primitive behaviors, no matter what. The superego is the part of our personality that provides guidelines for how we live our lives and it holds us to moral standards. The ego deals with reality and creates a compromise between the desires of id and superego. In Lord of the Flies, William Golding portrays a Freudian allegory through the use of characterization of Jack, Ralph, and Simon to illustrate that depending on what part of our psyche controls us, humanity suffers the consequences which are either positive or negative.
Initially, Golding uses the characterization of Jack to show that he is controlled by his id. This can be seen after Ralph complains that only Jack was hunting and that the rest of the hunters were swimming, Jack responds to Ralph saying,”‘I let them go. I had to go on I-… went on. I thought, by myself-… ‘ The madness came into his eyes again. ‘I thought I would kill'” (Golding 51). Here, Jack believes that, if he were alone while hunting like an animal, he “would kill.” This portrays him as being controlled by his id because he would go as far as lowering the chances of getting for for the other boys by hunting “by himself” because he wants to fulfill his desire to kill a pig. His actions lead to negative consequences for the boys because the decision causes Ralph to be irritated that the group of boys does not have food, which causes the conflict between him and Ralph. Whenever Jack hunted, he was “dog-like… on all fours yet unheeding his discomfort… and except for a pair of tattered shorts held up by his knife-belt he was naked” (Golding 48). Here, Jack is willing to do anything to catch and kill a pig. The way that he was “dog-like”, “on all fours”, and does not care about being uncomfortable shows that he is willing to go to extreme lengths to fulfill his need for food and, more importantly, his desire to redeem himself by killing the pig. Because he is so caught up with his desire to kill a pig, he experiences a growing conflict with Ralph. The savagery that comes with this conflict represents Jack as the id in human beings. This has negative consequences on the group of boys as a whole because they begin to take sides when they should be unified. Jack being the cause of the division and conflict because he is controlled by his id relates to Golding’s claim that humanity suffers the consequences based on what part of our psyche controls us.
Next, Golding uses the characterization of Ralph to show how he is mainly controlled by his ego. When Ralph assembles the boys to give a speech, he says,”There’s another thing. We can help them find us. If a ship comes near the island they may not notice us. So we must make smoke on top of the mountain. We must make a fire,” (Golding 38). He shows responsibility over the boys because he is trying to get the group rescued. His use of the words “we can help them find us… they may not notice us” shows that he is being realistic and knows that any ship wouldn’t go to the island without reason too. He makes the decision of starting a fire because it is what would be best for the group of boys, not because it is his desire.


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