Subconsciou Integration Of Elements In Literature: Lord Of The Flies

1346 words - 5 pages

What brings a story to life? Better yet, what creates the world within the story that captivates the attention of those holding the open pages? The reader sifts through the lines of texts trying to escape the real world; trying to enter a place structured in fiction and the imagination of some far off writer from a different time. Little does the innocent audience know about the subconscious mental feeding, rich in both history and moral values. While the writer has control over the pen in his or her hand, the reader remains powerless. An excellent example of this subconscious integration of elements from the author’s time appears in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. By analyzing Golding’s book the reader can discover the correlation between the behavior of the children on the island and the historical and personal influences that the author used to bring to life the novel’s characters.
Ralph, the first character that appears in the Lord of the Flies, represents Golding’s view of democracy. Right from the beginning, a born leader takes center stage. Even before Ralph says a single word, Golding describes him as “a boy with fair hair” and by mentioning that “there was a stillness about Ralph as he sat that marked him out: there was his size, and attractive appearance; and most obscurely, yet most powerfully, there was the conch.” (Golding 7, 22) These descriptions may not seem like much, but they create a character with which the reader wants to associate; they depict an image of power and control. As the story progresses, the reader becomes more attached to Ralph’s personality due to the social concern that this character presents through his interest in maintaining order and keeping everyone safe. From the obvious choice of using a democratic electoral system, to the manner in which he uses the conch shell to organize the conversations, Ralph becomes the ideal leader of the group. This happens in the book and the entranced audience agrees without realizing that the author made the choice for them. One cannot call it brainwashing, but the conspicuous insertion of democratic ideals into the story definitely helps placate the audience and entice them to continue to support such ideals.
So how does Ralph’s relationship to democratic leadership relate to the time period during which this book appeared? In the social circumstances of the 1950s leadership came in two flavors: good and bad. This strict division was brought about by the fragile standards instituted during the Cold War. In one of his interviews, the author suggested that he conceived part of Lord of the Flies “about Britain and the British” (Baker 136). Because Golding’s England kept its alliance with the democratic world, it meant that by default democracy represented the “good side”. It comes as no surprise then that he uses Ralph in order to play into the hands of his native country and those that support its views. The author placates his fellow countrymen, but at the same...

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