The Cold War Essay, Research Paper
The parents were supposed to be the authority. They were sensible with a well functioning society. Yet their fears caused them to degrade to the same state as to boys of the island. Their
foundation crumbled, so did their values causing them to fight with one another. If someone is given all the freedom they want, and can revolt against the rules, their evil will come out. Social status melts away and they become savage. The similarities between the society of the boys and a cultured society, such as competitiveness, destructiveness, and violence existing in both, suggest that the problems that plague the boys are those that are present in society during this time period. There is the same division of, and quest for power, the same fear of new technology used for inhuman purposes, and finally a society ending in collapse. Hence these elements suggest that William Goldings Lord of the Flies is reflecting upon the turmoil that existed during the Cold War.
Different types of power, with their uses and abuses, are central to the story as are during the Cold War. There are two main types of powers that seem to try to over take one another throughout the coarse of the plot and the time period. The first being the Democratic power, represented by Ralph in the novel. He is a natural leader, the sort of intelligent, well adjusted, athletic boy who easily becomes the idol of his schoolmates. He is quick to assess the situation of the boys in realistic terms. He sees what must be done for their survival and rescue and sets about arranging parliamentary meetings, this is evident early in the novel when they are about to choose a cheif “Jack started to protest but the clamour changed from the general wish for a cheif to an election by acclaim of Ralph himself” (18). With rational leadership he encouradges choises and desisions to be shared among the many. Ralph is reflecting the U.S. government of the time period because of his form of Democratic leadership and rational thinking . Secondly there is the Authoritarian power, represented by Jack. A cruel and ugly bully, who early develops a taste for violence. He is a leader of the choir at first, and then of the hunters. His leadership resides in his ability to threaten and frighten those under him. He is constantly attempting to weaken Ralph’s hold on the boys. He does this by suggesting opposite measures, he shouts abusively, he threatens, and he is constantly demanding to be made chief. This is evident early in the novel, when he says, “I ought to be chief….because I’m chapter chorister and head boy. I can sing C sharp” (18). Jack is reflecting the Soviet government of the time period. This is apparent because of the attempts to change the way Ralph governs the boys on the Island. This is much like the Soviet pushing it’s comunist ways on the rest of the world. Ergo the different divisions of power who try to evercome one another is mirroring the events of the Cold War betwen the United States and the Soviet.
Fear of the unknown on the island revolves around the boys’ terror of the beast, which is mirroring society’s fear of the new technology, that is being used for war purposes. Fear is allowed to grow because they play with the idea of it. They cannot fully accept the notion of a beast, nor can they let go of it. They whip themselves into hysteria, this is much like the population during the Cold War. They could not accept the fact that there was weaponry capable of destroying continents nor could they let go of the idea. When Golding shows the boys sharpening their spears he is remarking on the arms race during this time period. They are trying to become more powerful than the other by obtaining more weaponry, this is shown jack is trying to build superior weaponry for use in the hunt, he says, Next time I ve got to get a barb on the spear! We wounded a pig and the spear fell out, If we could only make barbs- (52) .Their quest for superior weaponry is mirroring the Soviet during the Cold War. Hence peoples fears of the unknown new technology during the Cold War is reflected in Lord of the Flies.
In Lord of the Flies the theme is that evil is present as a destructive influence in man, operating opposite to the forces of reason and civilization. This is not only revealed in several scenes where the boys perform destructive acts. It is present as the reason why things happen the way they do in the central portion of the novel, where the forces of Jack triumph over the forces of Ralph, eventually leading to the collapse of the society of the island. This mirrors the crumbling effect on the society caused by the dispute between United States and the Soviet during the Cold War. This first occurs when Jack is undermining Ralph authority by suggesting other means of dealing with situations As for the Island their destructive nature is seen when they engage in the hunt. The hunt is an example of the destructive passions that exist in the boys. It gives these passions an outlet. This, however, is dangerous because the more these passions are indulged, the more violent they become. They reach the peak of their violent ways when Jack sees Ralph as threat. He will be stalked in much the same way that Jack has gone after the pigs. This is illustrated when Eric tells Ralph that, Roger sharpened a stick at both ends (211). If he is caught they will sacrifice his head to the beast the same way as the pig. Ralph runs and hides, becoming more and more like a cornered animal. To smoke him out, a fire is started that quickly spreads over the island. As the fire burns it claims most of the island symbolizing the end of their society. The hunt for Ralph can be reflected as the McCarthy trials, where the government set out seeking communists that have been Black Listed, and then arresting them. Consequently the novel Lord of the Flies ended in much the same way the Soviet did, in utter downfall.
In the end there is a clear pessimistic view of the future. Society is disintegrating. Anarchy and violence thrive at the expense of reason. This is shown At the last line of Lord of the Flies, when the naval officer comes to rescue them, it says, He turned away to give them time to pull themselves together; and waited, allowing his eyes to rest on the trim cruiser in the distance (225). The significance of this is that nothing has been resolved, after all the chaos that Ralph has had to endure on the island he has to endure it once again, by returning to a country that is still at war. There is still the same quest for power, the same fear of new weaponry, and perhaps it will all end in collapse once more. However, there is some hope for the future in the new knowledge that Ralph has acquired. He understands the conflict of good and evil, that exists in man. And, unlike Simon and Piggy, he is resourceful enough to elude death and to carry this knowledge back to civilization, there to have some influence of his fellow man. He will be a wise leader when he is a man. He will be a man of reason, but also a man aware of the darkness lurking in the most innocent person. And he will have some positive effect on civilization.