Democratic and Totalitarian Power Systems in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies

Detta är en Kandidat-uppsats från Karlstads universitet/Estetisk-filosofiska fakulteten

Författare: Jennifer Basile; [2007]

Nyckelord: Power Systems; William Golding;

Sammanfattning: Summary One important theme in William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies is power. The boys in Lord of the Flies copy the behavior of their parents: competing, fighting and even killing each other for power. They form two groups, each following a different power system, the democratic system on the one side and the totalitarian system on the other. My aim in this essay is to examine the complexity of these power systems in Lord of the Flies, revealed in the two layers in which they appear in the story, the boys on the island and the adults in their world. Moreover I want to show how Golding contributes both positive and negative traits to both systems, never falling into the habit of giving a black and white picture of either of the power systems. Overall I will focus on two boys, Jack and Ralph, exemplifying through them how the two systems gain their power, develop their structures, which methods they use to keep power, and how the systems handle crisis. At the end of my essay I then will shortly illustrate how Golding connects the adult world and their behavior to the boys’ story. My conclusion is that Golding shows very clearly that the desire for power and the will to fight and kill for it exists in both adults and children. Overall his attempt is to illustrate that it is difficult to have an absolute, perfect and ideal power system. There are always things that can be criticized and improved. However, he does indicate that certain systems are more dangerous than others. The totalitarian power system can escalate much easier into savagery than the democratic system. So, Golding prefers power systems that benefit the community rather than only the leader himself.

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