To What Extent Does a Marxist Reading of Lord of the Flies Lead to a Fuller Understanding of the Novel?

1875 words 8 pages
To what extent does a Marxist reading of ‘Lord of the Flies’ lead to a fuller understanding of the novel?
‘Lord of the Flies’ is based almost entirely on Golding’s view that evil is an inherent force in every man, “man produces evil as a bee produces honey”. Golding acquired this belief while he was a soldier in the Second World War. From that point on, he became extremely pessimistic about human nature, calling it “the disease of being human”. This belief is shown very clearly, as he puts ‘innocent’ children on a deserted island, free of all corruption; free of an external threat, therefore with no need of an army; abundant in food and supplies, therefore with no need to steal. Therefore, what evil was left could only come from the
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With them Jack is able to exercise a lot of power, firstly because they can provide meat, which is enough to even tempt Piggy, who is the voice of reason on the island, and secondly because his hunters could serve as an army. This is an important connection to the events of the time, as The Cold War started due to the uneasy expectation of a nuclear war, caused by the two atom bombs that the USA dropped in Japan. Although a nuclear war did not occur, both sides showed their ability to start it. Thus, the point that Jack’s army serves is arguably just a scare tactic. His authority is threatened by Ralph, therefore he feels the need to have an army of his own, if a war was ever to occur, and indeed, it does.
Another Marxist theory that could be related to ‘Lord of the Flies’, is the theory of alienation. Theoretically, Entfremdung describes the social alienation (estrangement) of people from aspects of their human as a consequence of living in a society stratified into social classes. The concept of alienation could be understood in two ways. In ‘Lord of the Flies’, Alienation of the worker from working (from the act of producing), can be seen. As the production of goods and services is accomplished with an endless sequence of discrete, repetitive, motions that offers the worker little psychological satisfaction for “a job well done”, it does not come as a surprise that Ralph’s single-minded obsession of rescue, constantly pushing for the


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