Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lord of the Flies

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William Goldings novel, Lord of the Flies, is a look into the dark side of humanity. In response to this work I decided to create a mask. This mask symbolizes the very aspect of human nature that is analyzed in the novel. This mask was made to resemble the face paint worn by Jacks tribe of savages. Under these disguises, the boys developed new personas with which they were free from all guilt and responsibility. The two boys whose transformations are most obvious are Jack and Roger.


Jack Merridews character is one that represents the evil of human nature. Although present since the beginning, his identity as a power-hungry dictator does not fully begin to surface until he first hides his face under a mask of paint. The effect this has on him is revealed in chapter eight when he stood naked in front of Ralphs assembly and was safe from shame or self-consciousness behind the mask of paint and could look at each of them in turn(p. 140). Jack is clearly shown to be power-mad at the feast in chapter nine. He is referred to as the chief and is painted and garlanded… like an idol(p. 14). He is described as having power lay in the brown swell of his forearms authority sat on his shoulder and chattered in his ear like an ape(p. 150). However, Jack is not the only evil boy on the island.


In chapter four Rogers characteristics as a bully surface as he throws rocks at a child named Henry. It was the constraints of civilization that forced him to throw the rocks to miss; there was a space around Henry… into which he dare not throw. Here, invisible yet strong, was the taboo of the old life. Round the squatting child was the protection of parents and school and policemen and the law. Rogers arm was conditioned by a civilization that knew nothing of him and was in ruins(p. 6). Yet, between then and chapter eleven, with the dawning of the face paint and the increased savagery of Jacks tribe, this taboo was forgotten. When Roger released the boulder toward Piggy, it was not intended to miss. Roger was able to escape guilt for the killing of Piggy by seeing him as a bag of fat instead of a real person. After that, his reputation as the hangman is solidified. Unlike Jack, whose cruelty comes from his love of the hunt and thirst for power, Roger merely enjoys inflicting pain onto others.


The masks of paint worn by Jack and Roger can be interpreted as covering up their true innocent selves and making them evil, or perhaps the masks served to reveal them for who they truly are… savages. But if that is the case, then what do we hide under the masks civilization has placed on us? Perhaps we all carry with us varying degrees of evil, just waiting to be revealed!


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