In and sob too,” highlights the loss of

In Lord of the Flies, the society that developed
on the island eventually led to bloodshed and anarchy, despite its inhabitants
being children. Lord of the Flies
thus demonstrates that the desire for power has the capability to corrupt
humanity, as seen by the development of the children on the island. Lord of the Flies can also be seen as an
example of Marxist literature, when considering that Ralph is a representation
of the bourgeoisie, while Jack embodies the proletariat. The novel therefore signifies that a power struggle is
inevitable in every society, seeing how the society on the island ultimately led
to such a conflict between Jack and Ralph. Hence, there are clear repercussions
when attempting to enforce power over others.

Lord of the Flies conveys that the desire for power has the capability to corrupt
humanity and civilisation, even for those considered the most innocent in
society; this is shown in chapter 12 where “Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart.” This
displays how despite the events that transpired across the duration of the
novel, the boys were ultimately children who lost their compassion in a struggle
for control. A Marxist perspective would argue the children have become
inhumane people primarily due to the class divide that developed on the island.
“The other little boys began to shake and sob too,” highlights the loss of
innocence, as their actions during the novel have taken a toll on them. Golding
may have been inspired to express this message by his experiences in World War
II, later stating, “I began to see what people were capable of doing. Anyone
who moved through those years without understanding that man produces evil as a
bee produces honey, must have been blind or wrong in the head.” Golding thus successfully
portrays how all humans are capable of malicious actions and this is clear in
the deterioration of the characters, despite being of young ages.

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In addition, Golding’s use of foreshadowing displays that a
repercussion of abiding to a class system is the loss of humanity. An example of this is when Roger throws small stones towards
Henry, but has been socialised into stopping himself from doing any real
damage. In fact, he is initially described to be a boy “who kept to himself with
avoidance and secrecy,” in Chapter 1. Later in the novel,
the small stones evolve into a huge rock which Roger rolls down the hill onto
Piggy, who is killed as a result. The contrasting events indicate how Roger’s
understanding of civilised behaviour has been lost, and in the place of a
child, a savage has been born. In his
‘Foreword’ to his 1859 Towards a Critique
of Political Economy, Marx states, “It is not the consciousness of men that
determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their
consciousness.” This demonstrates how the actions of a human are determined by
the society that they live in, which influences their behaviour. Hence, Lord of the Flies suggests living in a
society with varying authority tarnishes humanity, as it profoundly affects the
behaviour of those living in it.

Moreover, the
repercussions of a class divide are portrayed in the death of Simon. Simon’s
death is used by Golding to present the complete loss of civilisation by the
boys, becoming savages who kill without reason. Golding uses pathetic fallacy
as a means of displaying this, with the storm emphasising the anarchy that has
developed as a result of the island’s class divide. Additionally, there are
clear parallels between Simon and Jesus Christ throughout the novel, showing
religious connotations – they are both killed knowing the truths of society and
in a bid to save others. Their deaths, however represent very contrasting
functions. While Jesus died to save mankind, Simon’s death simply highlights
the moral corruption of humans, demonstrating the negativity that occurs once
humans are forced into a society where some possess more power than others. The chronological structure of the novel also
allows us to see the democratic society slowly deteriorate as their humanity
does too. At the beginning of the novel, the boys vote for Simon as chief,
indicating that their humanity is still intact. However, they gradually become
more like savages, and their deterioration is most evident in Simon’s death;
having engaged in a ritual dance and brutally murdering Simon when mistaking
him to be the beast. Thus, Simon’s death successfully symbolises the
repercussions of a class divide, as it represents the boys’ complete loss of civilisation.

 

In addition, William Golding suggests that conflict
for dominance is inescapable in society, as seen by the struggle between Jack
and Ralph. “Who thinks Ralph shouldn’t be Chief?” explicitly states that Jack
is questioning Ralph’s position as chief, which is the beginning a revolution.
“Why should choosing make any difference?” again portrays Jack rejecting
Ralph’s established position, stating that “choosing” should not be a factor, exemplifying
Jack’s opposition to democracy. The frequency to which Jack disregards Ralph’s
superiority to him thus illustrates how a struggle for dominance is unavoidable,
as those in the lower classes will rise up against the leaders. In addition, Golding
presents Jack to be an embodiment of the proletariat. Traditional Marxism deals
with conflict of the classes, and this is represented in the conflict between
Jack and Ralph. Marxist ideology also claims that the proletariat would
eventually attempt to overthrow the bourgeoisie. This is present in Lord of the Flies, where Jack and his
choir attempt to gain control of the island. “Ralph smiled and held up the
conch for silence,” reiterates Ralph’s position as the bourgeoisie, as he is
the one to control the actions of the proletariat. H. Berten argues in Literary Theory: The Basics that
capitalism turns people into things, it reifies them. It is therefore clear
that any form of power over another person takes away their humanity, rendering
them objects.

Moreover, in “Power lay in the brown swell of
his forearms: authority sat on his shoulder and chattered in his ear like an
ape,” the use of a simile emphasises how Jack has truly achieved his desire to
be the one in control. David Spitz states that in this quotation Jack has
prevailed, displaying that the proletariat revolution has been successful; per
Marxist reading, the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ has now begun. Moreover,
the comparison to an ape alludes to how inhumane the children have become,
losing their humanity in their fight for dominance. The triadic structure is
used by Golding to accentuate that Jack has taken control over democracy. “What
are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages?” also proves how the children of the
novel have become inhumane, taking on characteristics of animals in the
process.
Jack takes control of democracy in a
similar fashion to authoritarian leaders such as Adolf Hitler, who declared
Germany a one-party state by also taking control of democracy. P. Barry in Beginning Theory claims that a common
practice by Marxist critics is the ‘politicisation of literary form,’ – the
claim that literary forms are themselves determined by political circumstance. As
Golding fought in World War II, Jack is a definitive representation of dictators
in society, as Golding personally fought against Nazis during this time. This
may have affected the way in which Golding portrays power, as his writing was
affected by the political situation around the publication of the novel. This
is how Golding signifies that power struggles are bound to happen in society.

A Marxist
influence is also evident when considering that Ralph embodies democracy while
Jack represents militarism. Ralph embodying democracy is clear seeing how he
was voted by the majority of the boys to be the chief of the island. The
democratic process is exemplified in, “‘Who
wants me?’ Every
hand outside the choir except Piggy’s was raised immediately.” Thus, since most of the survivors voted for Ralph’s
leadership rather than it being taken by force, Ralph symbolises the fair
aspect of democracy. In addition, Golding also writes Jack to be a representation
of militarism. For instance, in “Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Bash her in,” in
Chapter 7, the triadic structure emphasises the regression of Jack’s character
from a child to a sadistic murderer, as the power struggle has led to Jack becoming
militant. Jack also refers to the choir as “Hunters,” throughout the book, and
his assuredness regarding the position of himself and his choir foreshadows his
eventual antagonistic role within the book. The word ‘hunters’ has a clear
allusion to war, linking again to the military, solidifying his position as
representation of militarism. This is how Ralph embodies democracy and Jack
represents militarism.

Thus, William Golding succeeds in suggesting
that abiding to a society with a class divide will inevitably lead to a power
struggle. Jack and Ralph symbolise
two opposing institutions in the proletariat and bourgeoisie, and according to
Marxist interpretation, it is imminent that the proletariat would revolt
against the higher class. Considering William Golding fought in WWII, the
deterioration of the characters’ humanity is used by Golding to emphasise
mankind’s capabilities, suffering from corruption and evil. The repercussions
of a class divide are particularly exemplified in Simon’s death, indicating the
level to which difference in power turns humans into savages. Therefore, Lord of the Flies displays that the
repercussions of forcing a class divide is a severe loss of humanity; those in
the novel commit severe crimes despite being children, proving the dangers of a
society with a class system.