Denial In Lord Of The Flies By William Golding

1625 words - 7 pages

“If you're in denial, you're trying to protect yourself by refusing to accept the truth about something that's happening in your life. In some cases, initial short-term denial can be a good thing, giving you time to adjust to a painful or stressful issue. It might also be a precursor to making some sort of change in your life” (Mayo Clinic Staff 2014). Many forms of denial are found in William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies. The group denies its serious situation, some deny their true character, and some deny their own actions because they can’t believe they are capable of such bad behavior. Golding uses the recurring themes of denial and disbelief among his characters in order to ...view middle of the document...

When Ralph realizes what’s going on he declares, “I’m chief. We’ve got to make certain. Can’t you see the mountain? There may be a ship out there. Are you all off your rockers?” (Ralph 108). Instead of focusing on these tasks important to their survival, the boys were rolling rocks of the cliffs and goofing off. “Play” often comes before “work” for the boys that lead to a breakdown in the rules they have set and also in the way they treat each other. If the boys had faced the truth of their situation instead of behaving like kids on a magic island thinking they would be rescued any minute, they may have been able to control themselves and their environment a lot better.
Ralph, the chosen leader, is often in denial of his own true character which is different than what he presents to the world. Ralph feels he is more mature than the others and feels he is morally superior. As the story unfolds, though, it turns out that Ralph is not what he seems. One of the first examples of this is when Ralph first meets Piggy. First, Ralph forces Piggy to tell him his nickname. When Piggy finally tells him, he asks him specifically not to tell the others. Ralph totally disregards this and tells everyone his name is Piggy. Everyone laughs and Piggy is hurt and humiliated. Piggy even tells Ralph that he is angry. Ralph actually stops and thinks about this and then he “hovered between the two courses of apology or further insult.” (Golding 25). Ralph decides not to apologize. He just shakes it off like it’s no big deal that he broke his
Stratakis, pg. 3
promise and tells Piggy, “Better Piggy than Fatty.” (Ralph 25). This is not the action of a mature, morally superior leader that Ralph believes himself to be. When the other boys see him behave like this toward Piggy, they think they can do it too. Piggy is treated as an outcast and eventually attacked. If Ralph had taken a stronger leadership role and told people to treat each other with respect, they would have lived a more civilized existence. Another example of Ralph denying his own true self involves his relationship with Jack and his feelings about hunting a pig. Jack is obsessed with hunting a killing and gets an “opaque, mad look into his eyes” (Golding 53) when he thinks about killing a pig. Ralph repeatedly criticizes him for this and tries to get him to focus on maintaining the fire and on rescue. However, Ralph soon finds himself behaving like a hunter, like Jack, instead. An example of this is when the boys re-enacted the killing of the pig using Robert as the pig. It started as a game with the boys making a circle around Robert, holding him down and shouting, “Kill him! Kill him!” (Golding 114). Ralph was “carried away by a sudden
thick excitement” (Golding 114) and started jabbing Robert with a spear. He “was fighting to get near, to get a handful of that brown, vulnerable flesh. The desire to squeeze and hurt was over-mastering.” (Golding 115). He finally realized...

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