What ideas about power does your novel explore? Refer to specific characters and events in the novel using quotes to support your answer.

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There are many lessons and themes about power which are explored in the novel ‘Lord of the flies’ by William Golding. Many of these themes are still meaningful and relevant in toady’s world. The novel is about a group of young boys that become stranded on a deserted island with no one but themselves to decide what is best for the group and what they shall do next. How the group of young boys go about this predicament is where many of the themes arise which Golding is attempting to convey to the readers.

One of the ideas about power which is explored in the novel is the type of leadership that society prefers. There have been many leaders and many ways of leading a group though the two most popular and well known in today’s society would be communism and democracy. Communism is a system where the leader has absolute power over all and controls everything with no one able to oppose any of the leader’s choices.

Democracy is a system where each person in the group is able to speak their own opinions and have their own say into the group’s decisions. Each type of leadership has shown many of its own advantages and disadvantages in the past and that is why it is difficult to argue which is best. In the novel, Ralph attempts to create a democratic environment where the boys are able to speak their own opinions and he does this by symbolising the right to speak into the conch.

"We can use this [conch] to call the others. Have a meeting. They’ll come when they hear us." Ralph and Piggy found a conch which they then made the item to hold for the person who is speaking during a meeting. This was an attempt to create an arrangement where each person could have their say on a topic without being disrupted by others. Seeming as though Ralph’s group was not progressing in the way Jack would have liked, he becomes restless and creates his own group which act under Jack’s communistic leadership. By the end of the novel, all had left Ralph’s side for one reason or another which showed that most of the group preferred Jack’s leadership and ideas. This domination of communism over democracy is attempting to portray the ‘domino theory’. The ‘domino theory’ is the spread of communism throughout the world and how it would spread from country to country. The novel does not obviously state whether one type of leadership is better than the other though is shows how influential one can be if it is able to provoke the right emotions in humans.

Throughout the novel, two types of leaders are presented where both have very different characteristics. This novel explores what characteristics are best for a person in a position of power and which would be most effective in an attempt to influence as many people as possible. Ralph is presented as a very confident and friendly person who seems to care for everyone’s needs. The entire group of boys seemed to like and respect Ralph, otherwise they would not have made him the leader of the group. Jack is also presented as a very confident person though is required to go to further lengths to achieve what he wants, even if it means he had to bring down other people or even attack others in order to do so. “I ought to be chief…because I’m chorister and head boy. I can sing C sharp.” This shows the extra effort Jack had to make in an attempt to be elected leader of the group though in the end it was Ralph that did very little that became leader.

Ralph attempted to enforce some rules over the group of boys though even in the beginning the boys were hesitant to obey. As time went on, the boys began to favour Jack and saw no importance that was left in the conch which was the symbol of democracy. Jack however approached his leadership powers differently. He lived fiercely which made it very difficult for any boy in his group to confront him or question his authority. All of Jack’s opinions were listened to, and all of his orders were followed which shows that his leadership skills were working and Ralph’s were obviously not. Another very worthy candidate for the leadership was Piggy and even though he was very intelligent he was no given a chance to be one for he was not confident enough and was not persuasive enough for anyone to listen to him. Piggy was portrayed as a very intimidated person from the very beginning for he did not fight off the insults which were thrown at him by the other boys. This example shows the confidence and leadership skills that are required for someone to be even be elected as leader. This novel is saying that in this instance, a leader who is much more confident and is feared by others is much more effective then one that is friendly to all.

Another idea that the novel explores is the idea of power being misused or used irresponsibly and what the consequences of such actions are. Ralph started quite hopeful and optimistic that someone would come and rescue them as soon as someone found out that they were missing so he attempted to keep a fire alive so someone would see the smoke and know where they were. It is quite obvious that attempting to be rescued in such a situation is not irresponsible.

"There’s another thing. We can help them to find us. If a ship comes near the island they may not notice us. So we must make smoke on top of the mountain. We must make a fire."Jack also thought logically except was not as buoyant about the rescue idea and so came to the conclusion that learning how to hunt and make weapons would be the best way to survive. Though as time went on Jack began to be more aggressive and violent which became a problem for Ralph for Jack did not care if he hurt anyone that was in his way. Jack becomes so vicious that he attempts to gather his group and have them hunt Ralph down and attempt to kill him. This can be easily seen as an example of misuse of power for Jack is using his powers to hurt someone that he himself does not like. This novel attempts to teach how power can be either used or abused with a clear situation though misuse of power can be difficult to be clearly seen for the right or responsible thing to do could be different through different perspectives.

A very disturbing lesson that Golding attempted to convey to the readers is the lengths that people will go to in an attempt to gain more power. Ralph did not seem to crave the power that was offered to him from the beginning by the boys though Jack was quite reluctant to accept him as the leader for he thought that he would have been the better candidate for the position. Since Ralph did not crave the position as leader he did not attempt to go to horrible lengths to become the leader however Jack was much more gluttonous. This is shown from Jack’s attempts to use his barbaric antics to scare others making it seem as though he was a very good leader unless the others would disapprove otherwise.

“Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Bash her in.” This is an example of the savagery which Jack started which warned the others that he was very dangerous. Another example of Jack’s outrageous attempts to obtain more power given the situation was when Piggy was saying a speech to the group. Roger unleashed a boulder, obviously wanting to cause some harm, which killed Piggy and even though Jack was surprised and knowing that the boulder was unnecessary he turned a blind eye to the horrific act and continued his rise for more power by creating a threat from the act targeted at Ralph. That disgraceful treatment to others is an example to how far people will go in order to gain more power then they have which can stimulate many thoughts concerning today’s world.

Another lesson that was portrayed by Golding in the novel was the fact that someone must be in power for rules and laws to be obeyed by all for someone in power must enforce it on them for if they do not anarchy will arise. Ralph did attempt to gather the boys and tell them of rules which should be followed while on the island though he was not a strong enough leader to enforce such rules on the boys. Even though Jack had significant control over the group of boys that he was leading, the group seemed barbaric which would be seen as anarchy for it seemed as though rules were not existent. This would contradict the lesson that Golding was attempting to portray though through a different perspective it makes perfect sense. Jack did have perfect control over the boys though it seemed as though the rules were to force them into living in such barbaric conditions. Jack promoted such a life. Jack was so influential he was able to influence Ralph and Piggy into killing Simon even though they were against such actions. From the very start of the novel, it is clearly shown that one must have complete and utter control in order for rules and laws to be properly obeyed by all.

Many lessons about power have been portrayed in’ Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding though many of these can be interpreted in different ways if analysed through different perspectives. This book conveys many messages concerning power though the one underlying fact or truth about these lessons would be all of these problems with power arise from problems of human nature such as greed which is in every single person to some degree. Another thought that is left with the reader after reading the book is humans are capable of horrible things even in the nicest people though just like the young boys, the barbaric emotions within the group of boys were surfaced given the right circumstancesbibliography: lord of the flies by William Golding