Authority and Power in Golding’s „Lord of the Flies“

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Studienarbeit aus dem Jahr 2010 im Fachbereich Englisch – Literaturgeschichte, Epochen, Note: 1,0, Bayerische Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (Neuphilologisches Institut), Veranstaltung: Desert Island Stories, Sprache: Deutsch, Abstract: William Golding illustrates in his novel Lord of the Flies a very bad image of human mankind. By using children, the apparently most innocent human beings, as the characters of his book, he allows the reader to have a profound view in the human soul and elucidates, simultaneously, essential problems of the society. One of these problems is the permanent fight between different political imaginations and the associated acting of leaders or authorities which is, as history has shown, not always rational. On the contrary, the Second World War, in which Golding was involved as a marine officer, had shown how irrational and cruel authorities are able to act. But even if authorities act irrational, cruel and sadistic, there are always people who follow them, nevertheless, obediently. This syndrome, called Authoritarian Character which describes this behavior, was described and analyzed by philosophers and sociologists of the Frankfurter Schule like Erich Fromm, Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer. They extended the theories of Sigmund Freud, and wanted to find out why certain people are susceptible to totalitarian authorities and systems as the boys in Lord of the Flies. Sociologists like Heinrich Popitz also analyzed the strategies which the authoritarian agitators apply in order to subject other people in order to organize them in mass organizations; Strategies which made the people in Germany tolerating a fascistic ideology during the World War. In respect thereof, Golding’s Novel shows a very negative picture of the society and he uses the uninhabited island for the boys as a kind of laboratory to illustrate the development of the human society in a kind of microcosm because the incident on the island are an allusion of the status of the society in this time. This seminar paper will deal with the different types of authorities in Lord of the Flies, with methods above all Jack uses in order to subject the other boys in order to become a totalitarian Leader, and with psychological processes and preconditions that are necessary for developing an authoritarian syndrome. Particularly with regard to Roger who embodies the ideal of an authoritarian personality and a sadist.

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