Greed And It

’s Effect (Lord Of The Flies Vs. Animal Farm) Essay, Research Paper

In the two novels, Lord of the Flies and Animal Farm, societies or governments are established to try to make life easier. This is achieved in Animal Farm by ridding themselves of human parasites like Mr. Jones who does little work yet receives most of the food. In the other book, Lord of the Flies, this is accomplished by organizing themselves into different work groups such as hunters, builders, or fire maintainers to decrease individual work. The greed or selfishness of a single character brings about the destruction of the societies in both of the novels. The character that best fits this description from Lord of the Flies is Jack Merridew. In Animal Farm the character that best fits this description is Napoleon. Both Jack Merridew and Napoleon start out as a kind of second in command or as a partner to another character. In William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, an intellectual boy by the nickname of Piggy works through a fair-haired boy named Ralph to create organization. This in turn leads to the development of a miniature democracy. Representing this democracy is a cream-colored conch shell touched here and there with fading pink, which was used to call all the boys on the island. Ralph, who is elected leader by the rest of the boys on the island, appoints Jack to be head of the hunters. Unlike Jack Merridew who is appointed to a position in his society, in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, Napoleon and Snowball come into power in a different way. The two pigs don’t assume leadership of the other animals on the farm, but are rather looked up to as a first grader would look up to a third or fourth grader. They don’t have control over them, but are looked up to because of their greater knowledge and higher ability to read and write. After overthrowing the dictatorial Mr. Jones, who was at one time the farmer who overworked and underfed the animals, Napoleon and Snowball followed by the other animals repainted the sign on the gate, which read “Manor Farm” and replaced it with the words “Animal Farm”. They also painted their seven basic principles on the side of the barn. These seven principles read as follows: 1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy 2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend 3. No animal shall wear clothes 4. No animal shall sleep in a bed 5. No animal shall drink alcohol 6. No animal shall kill any other animal 7. All animals are equal (Orwell p.43) They also agreed that no animal should ever enter the farmhouse, and that no animal should have contact with humans. The motto of Animalism as decided by the animals is “Four legs good, two legs bad.” (Orwell 50) These seven commandments or principles, like the conch in Lord of the Flies, represent the society developed by Snowball and Napoleon that the animals call Animalism. In the book Lord of the Flies by William Golding, Jack Merridew was thrilled at first to be appointed leader of the hunters (whom used to be the choir). This is surprising since he was so devastated when he wasn’t elected leader of all the boys, as he had hoped. Jack remains satisfied with his position through most of the story. On Jacks first hunt he encounters a small sow pig entangled in a bunch of vines. He cannot bring himself to thrust his small knife into it and kill it until it is too late and the pig escapes and runs away. On his second hunt he brings himself to kill a pig and upon doing so he is filled with the lust for blood. Jack Merridew now becomes overcome by greed for power and wants everyone to follow him and do nothing but hunt. At this point Jack has started his own society. “Accordingly, the rational democracy of Piggy and Ralph and their promises of future rescue must compete with Jack’s dictatorship, which offers the immediate satisfactions of food and security in exchange for the unquestioning loyalty of the recipients” (Golding Gale). Jack has now been successful in converting most of the other boys on the island over to his dictatorial way of hunting except for Piggy and Ralph who were still dedicated to the signal fire. The signal fire in Golding’s Lord of the Flies is simply a bond fire, but represents much more. To Piggy and Ralph the signal fire represents their only hope of being rescued and escaping from the island. Another boy in the story is Roger who becomes Jack’s “henchman” or his right hand man. One time when Ralph and Piggy go to Jack and the others’ fortress in attempt to get them to rejoin their rational democracy Piggy is killed. This event happens when Roger uses a lever to start a giant rock down a hill. In the novel William Golding describes it as follows: The rock struck Piggy a glancing blow from chin to knee; the conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist. Piggy, saying nothing, with no time for even a grunt, traveled through the air sideways from the rock, turning over as he went. [?] Piggy fell forty feet and landed on his back across the square red rock in the sea.” (Golding p.181) The death of Piggy and the destruction of the white conch shell represent the failure and cessation of Piggy and Ralph’s democracy. “After having organized themselves upon democratic principles, their society degenerates into primeval barbarism. [?] Lord of the Flies is consistently regarded as an incisive and disturbing portrayal of the fragility of civilization.” (Golding Gale) The fragility of society in the novel Lord of the Flies is shown when Jack, his greed for power, and his lust for blood bring about the destruction of the civilization Ralph and Piggy developed. Like in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, a society in George Orwell’s Animal Farm is also developed then destroyed. In both books this is due to the greed and selfishness of one of the characters. The characters in the books Lord of the Flies and Animal Farm that lead to the destruction of the societies developed are Jack Merridew and Napoleon respectively. In George Orwell’s Animal Farm the animals of the Manor Farm led by Napoleon and Snowball, whom are two pigs, drive away their owner Mr. Jones. This is done for several reasons. The main reason was his dictatorial and selfish way of ruling the farm. Little did they know that when Napoleon would be placed in charge that he would slowly develop into the same exact type of leader as Mr. Jones. After driving away Mr. Jones and establishing a government or society, which they referred to as Animalism. Animalism was more or less a republican democracy in which the animals rule but indirectly elect Napoleon as “president”. This society resembles the society of the United States of America today, in which the people rule, but have an elected official with the status of president. The animals form a set of rules or laws, which they call the “Seven Commandments” as stated earlier. With a civilization formed the animals begin their work on the farm harvesting the fields and milking the cows. The pigs do very little work and merely supervise the other animals yet receive special benefits and lie about why they receive these special benefits. You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege? Many of us actually dislike milk and apples. I dislike them myself. Our sole object in taking these things is to preserve our health. Milk and apples (this has been proved by Science, comrades) contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs are brainworkers. [?] It is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples. (Orwell p.52) Throughout the story Napoleon and Snowball disagree on many things. At one point Napoleon drives Snowball off of the farm using nine dogs that he had raised and “educated” since they were puppies. He tells the rest of the animals on the farm that Snowball was co-operating with Mr. Jones. Another pig named Squealer now becomes Napoleon’s right hand man (or pig). The animals carry out an idea of Snowball’s which is to build a windmill to produce electricity. The building of the windmill results in more work for all the animals except the pigs. This extra work results in a shortage in food for the animals except for Napoleon, who grows fatter and fatter and complains selfishly that he needs more food. Napoleon explains to the animals that they need to trade with the neighboring farms. This is due to the fact that he wants more food for himself. This idea violates a resolution made after the revolt against Mr. Jones and upsets the animals. Napoleon now moves into the farmhouse and begins sleeping in beds. The animals recall one of the Seven Commandments to forbid this, but when they get to the barn they see that the Fourth Commandment has been changed to “No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets” (Orwell p.79). Slowly one by one the Seven Commandments are changed to benefit Napoleon. “No animal shall kill another animal” is changed to “No animal shall kill another animal without cause” and “No animal shall drink alcohol” is changed to “No animal shall drink alcohol to excess” (Orwell p.98 & p.113). Then one day, Napoleon emerges from the house on two legs. The sheep’s traditional chant of “Four legs good two legs bad” has now, somehow, been changed to “Four legs good, two legs better.” And the Seven Commandments have now all been erased from the barn wall and replace with a single Commandment: “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.” [?] Napoleon announces that the name of Animal Farm has been changed back to Manor Farm. (Telgen & Hile p.3) The expunging of the Seven Commandments and the regression of the name from Animal Farm to Manor Farm in Animal Farm, like the destruction of the conch shell and the death of Piggy in Lord of the Flies, represent the demise of the society created. The erasure of the Commandments, the change of the name, the destruction of the conch shell, and the death of Piggy are all caused either directly or indirectly by the greed or selfishness of a single character. Reference List Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: The Berkley Publishing Group, 1954. Golding, William (Gerald). “Lord of the Flies.” Gale Literary Databases Internet. 29 Oct. 1998 Orwell, George. Animal Farm. New York: First Signet Printing, April, 1996. Telgen, Diane and Hile, Kevin. “Novels for Students.” Volume 3: 3-14. Detroit: Gale Research Company., 1998.


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