Freud and the Flies: A Connection between the Freudian Theory of Psychoanalysis and Characters in William Golding's Lord of the Flies

Essay by amdfoldingHigh School, 10th gradeA, January 2003

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In the years preceding 1939, Sigmund Freud, who is considered the "father of psychoanalysis" (Morgan 2), prepared a summarized version of his theories of psychoanalysis in An Outline of Psychoanalysis. Freud's theory breaks the psyche (mental life) of an individual into three portions: the id, the ego, and the superego, each with its own distinct function (Freud 13). In William Golding's Lord of the Flies, the main characters have distinct personalities that clash with each other, much like the id and the superego. With some thought and interpretation, these characters can be applied to Freud's theories.

The id is the oldest of the sections involved in psychoanalysis (Freud 14). It relies upon instincts to make decisions, and everything in the id is genetically inherited at birth (Freud 14). Golding's Jack in Lord of the Flies is most representative of the id, as he primarily relies upon hunting as a means of gathering food, and bands his followers together in a tribe which utilizes little communication and acts primarily upon impulse.

"He [Jack] tried to convey the compulsion to track down and kill that was swallowing him up (Golding 51)." Jack posses all the characteristics of the id: he is violent, he resorts to primordial instincts in many cases, and he fails to utilize language effectively to voice his concerns and opinions.

The ego is the intermediary between the id, and the superego. The id's primary function is to create a balance between the two extremes, with that balance being the most favorable for both pleasure and survival. " relation to the id...[the ego decides] whether they are allowed satisfaction, by postponing that satisfaction to times and circumstances favorable in the external world or by suppressing their excitations entirely (Freud 14-15)." Ralph most definitely represents the ego, especially with...