Analysis of Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" and William Golding's "Lord of the Flies" in relation to the Speculative Fiction genre

Essay by jacool July 2006

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As composers are continually and inescapably influenced by the world surrounding them, genres are born that reflect the social, moral and political ideologies of the time. Through an understanding of how genre is determined, it becomes apparent that the values and ideological assumptions encompassed by Speculative Fiction texts are the product of the context in which they were produced. Peter Jackson's film of JRR Tolkien's classic text "The Lord of the Rings" and William Golding's novel The Lord of the Flies exemplify the conventions of the Speculative Fiction genre and demonstrate how the values of such texts change according to the ideological climate of the time.

Genre can be defines as a cultural invention. Where you find a social paradigm shift, a genre is constructed or modified. It is determined by the complexity and diversity of society- it shapes and is shaped by cultural attitudes, social influences and the dominant ideology of the time.

Speculative fiction can be a collective term to describe works of science fiction, fantasy and dystopic fiction and creates a world where anything can happen- where the responder is taken beyond reality to a place that could have, would have or may be- if only the physics of the universe were different. Pushing the boundaries of the imagination, it displays the best of humanity- the imagination and the sharing of it with others, the greatness such a race can have, the courage and hope present within all of us.

Speculative composers ask us to imagine alternative worlds, which challenge and provoke controversy and debate about possibilities in human experience. Lord of the Flies is an unfortunate account of a world in which present tendencies are carried out to their intensely unpleasant culminations, making it a dystopic text.

Lord of the Rings is clearly a fantasy...