William Golding’s novel (Lord of the Flies) and the modern world
Establish a link between the themes of William Golding’s novel (Lord of the Flies) and the modern world to explain how the ideas represented in the allegory are still relevant to our time.
Your essay for our Lord of the Flies unit will establish a link between the themes of Golding’s novel and the modern world to explain how the ideas represented in the allegory are still relevant to our time.
Select a current news story—global, national, or local—and draw parallels between the events and people associated with it and the characters and events in Lord of the Flies. Questions to consider while developing your connection:
• How do the psychological shifts the characters in the novel resemble psychological shifts in the people involved in your news story?
• How does Golding’s representation of man’s destructive nature mirror the destruction you see in the in the news event you selected?
• How does society fail/prevail in matters of human survival and the greater good of the populace?
• How do the morally and/or ethically correct people in your news story experience the same treatment/fate as Simon or Piggy?
• How is power attained and maintained? Do the leaders in your current event use tactics resembling Jack’s or Ralph’s?
Your essay should be accompanied by at least one article about the current event from a reputable news source, and your choice of a second article, video, or work of literature we have studied, which you will cite and include in a Works Cited page formatted according to MLA standards.
1. Introduction, including a clear thesis that makes a claim about how your current event and events/characters in the novel are similar.
2. One paragraph explaining your chosen current event (with citations from your reputable news source).
3. One paragraph analyzing how events/characters in the novel resemble people/events of your current event (with quotations from the novel for support).
4. One paragraph comparing and analyzing your choice on one of the following: an additional current event, a news video, or another work of literature that we have studied this year. (with citations from your chosen source).
5. A conclusion, justifying how your connection proves Lord of the Flies is a timeless allegory that is still relevant to readers nearly 60 years after its initial publication. Your conclusion should also address how the ideas presented in your essay imply the significance of literature as a reflection of human experience rather than simply an artifact for close reading.
• 3-5 pages, typed, double-spaced, Times New Roman font with proper MLA formatting (visit Owl Purdue web site for guidelines).
• 3 primary resources: One current events article, “Lord of the Flies”, and your choice of an additional article, video, or work of literature we studied.
• Upload to Turnitin.com prior to the due date.
• LHS Writing Rubric is attached to this handout. Use it as you write your essay.
• The school handbook states that “all work submitted by students should be a true reflection of their effort and ability.”
William Golding’s Lord of the Flies communicates the idea that society is what holds us together and when society’s grip is loosened or broken, anarchy and barbarism take its place. As the article “School Safety: Trouble in Middle School” illustrates, middle school students today are influenced by hormonal tension and peer pressure, the same behaviors that drive Jack to enforce his dictatorial will upon the other boys and turn them into his “tribesmen.” Articles like this one substantiate that Golding’s psychology of his characters is grounded in a solid understanding of the middle school age group specifically.
Exemplar Explanation of Article:
The article from The Columbian attributes middle school violence and hazing to hormonal anxiety and peer pressure, behaviors that the children in Lord of the Flies exhibit. The Columbian conducted research and analysis of the middle schools in Clark County, Washington state, and found that “Documents… show that middle school students are cited for more incidents of fighting, bullying and weapons possession than other students.” Violence and peer pressure are more of an issue in middle schools than they are in high schools. The Columbian found that from 2003 to 2011, the number of bullying incidents in middle schools more than tripled: the situation is only getting worse. According to school counselor Michelle Rowen, “It’s not surprising that middle school kids get into the most trouble. The middle school years mark the first stage of adolescence in kids’ lives, a time of great instability.” The physical and mental changes they experience amplify their emotional reactions, something that can result in violence and pulling away from their parents and rebelling against authority—their parents as well as school rules and customs. A 2010 survey of youth also conducted in Clark County revealed that over 30% of middle schoolers had been bullied in the previous month. Districts responded with “Mediation,” a program that trains good students to be peer mediators who sit down with students after a conflict to talk about what happened and how to move on from it. Halfway through the school year at Maple Grove Middle School, where 27 fights per year is average, ten kids had signed up to be with mediators, and the number of fights reduced to 17. The Maple Grove example suggests that when authority allies itself with anti-bully efforts, the impact is significant – something not available to the characters in Lord of the Flies. This article shows that middle schools today are facing the same behavioral issues and conflicts as the ones in the novel, and that the solution is an organized movement against it. Golding makes the same point by simply not including an opportunity for the solution to be implemented within his story.
Exemplar Analysis Paragraph:
Lord of the Flies conveys the message that society encourages people to stick to their morals and that without society’s firm grip we are nothing more than savage wretches. Piggy is the character most disgusted with the other boys when they focus on the most exciting activity rather than the most necessary. Piggy is also the most passionate about maintaining British identity, as shown when Ralph proposes more rules so they can keep their unruly brethren in check:
“We ought to have more rules. Where the conch is, that’s a meeting, the same up here as down there.”
Piggy replies, “I agree with Ralph. We’ve got to have more rules and obey them. After all, we’re not savages. We’re English, and the English are best at everything, so we’ve got to do the right things.” (42)
Piggy and Ralph are like student mediators, Ralph more so than Piggy, but they are both trying to remedy the conflicts within their group, as they know infighting will only bring them down. Jack, on the other hand, in a middle school setting would most likely be the head bully or popular jock who organizes hazings, instigates conflicts, and is responsible for peer pressure fueled activities. Those who support him are safe from his bullying and receive the benefits he can offer them. Jack’s unbridled aggression is revealed by his constant intimidation of Piggy, for example when he will not let Piggy speak on top of the mountain:
“I got the conch.” said Piggy indignantly. “You let me speak!”
“The conch doesn’t count on top of the mountain,” said Jack, “So you shut up.”
“I got the conch in my hand.”
Jack turned fiercely. “You shut up!” (Golding 42)
Jack disregards his own rules about the conch when it suits him, rejecting the notion of any authority, even his own, the same as a middle school bully does, and this is the aggression that leads to his dominion over the “tribe” of peers. Jack promises food in exchange for fealty. If they oppose him, they suffer physical “punishment.” The main characters in Lord of the Flies are the same kinds of people that inhabit Clark County Middle School. Piggy is bullied because of his physical appearance, Jack is a bully, and Ralph is like a student mediator/obedient student, roles seen in middle schools today.
Lord of the Flies shows us how behavior and circumstances result in anarchy and violence, how humans need society in order to protect themselves from each other, and that no one is immune to its corruption, regardless of age. Middle schoolers are the same age as the main characters in Lord of the Flies, showing that Golding has essentially unraveled the issue of bullying, and understands just how the seeds of anarchy are planted, through our own behavior. Lord of the Flies is an example of how literature is a record of human experience: its history. The horror Golding depicts, and recreates in each reader, teaches empathy. Literature implies that humans can learn from stories to recognize and avoid the mistakes of their predecessors. Because of Lord of the Flies, bullying can be seen, and recognized wherever it appears, and finally, be put to an end.