Power Essay Research Paper Children play king

Power Essay, Research Paper

Children play king of the mountain with the stronger players trying to

keep the weaker ones from taking possession of the top of the hill. One of

Golding’s many themes expressed in Lord of the Flies is power. In

comparison to society, the island consists of democratic, authoritarian, and

spiritual power. Sitting in a throne may give a person power, but it does not

give them complete authority.

Democratic power is shown when choices and decisions are shared

among many. Ralph, originally from the Anglo-Saxon language, means

“counsel.” Ralph is an embodiment of democracy, he is willing to be a leader

but knows that its important for each of the boys to be able to speak his mind.

When there is a decision to be made, he lets the boys vote on it. In are

present democratic government of the United States, the President has to go

through Congress to pass a bill. The President runs the operations but he

does not have complete power over the decisions. Like the President, Ralph

has to go through the boys to make the decisions. “The trouble was, if you

were chief you had to think, you had to be wise. And then the occasion

slipped by so that you had to grab at a decision. This made you think: because

thought was a valuable thing, that got results…”(page 71)

In addition to democracy, authoritarian power is additionally portrayed.

Authoritarian power allows one person to rule by threatening and terrifying

others. Jack comes from the Hebrew and means “one who supplants,” one

who takes by force. Although the word “military” is never used about Jack,

there is something about his manner that suggests military or authoritarian

power. Jack lusts for power and is driven to destroy anyone who gets in his

way. In 1956, Fidel Castro forced his way into Cuba planning to overthrow

the government of Fulgencio Batista, a dictator in Cuba. After Castro became

President of the Council of State in 1976, he seized property owned by

wealthy Cubans, Americans, and others. He favored the lower classes and

made Cuba a communist state. In relation to Castro, Jack overthrows Ralph

from being chief and takes over the position with force and abuse. The boys

look up to Jack and respect him but there is no understanding. They do not

understand why he hides behind his mask or tortures innocent boys. But they

do know to respect him or they will be punished. For instance on page 85, “If

Jack was chief, we’d have all hunting and no fire. We’d be here till we died.”

Besides authoritarian, spiritual power is also represented. Spiritual

power recognizes internal and external realities and attempts to integrate

them. Simon comes from the Hebrew for “listener.” It was also the name of

one of Jesus’ apostles, Simon Peter. This hints at the spiritual role the

character will play in the novel: Simon is the only one who hears and

understands the truth. In the beginning of the story Simon is introduced as a

“skinny, vivid little boy” with epilepsy. In ancient times many thought that

the epileptic seizure was an indication that a person had great spiritual powers

and was favored by communications from the gods. In an ironic twist, Simon

communicates with an evil figure rather than a loving god. Beginning in

1933, Adolf Hitler brutally slayed many “impure” people because of their

religious beliefs. Many Jews, whom Hitler blamed Germany’s problems on,

were sent to concentration camps, where they were murdered. This event

relates to the fact that Simon is also killed by the strength of the boys belief in

the beast. Simon is very quiet and intimidated, “(he) felt a perilous necessity

to speak; but to speak in an assembly was a terrible thing to him.”(page 82)

Different types of power, with their uses and abuses, are central to the

story. Democratic, authoritarian, and spiritual power are each used by one of

the characters. A person may have power but it’s how they use the power to

determine the authority and dominance.

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