Fascism in Lord of the Flies
Fascism is known to be the “philosophy of government that stresses the primacy and glory of the state, unquestioning obedience to its leader, subordination of the individual will to the state’s authority, and harsh suppression of dissent. ” As William Golding’s Lord of the Flies unravels into an ongoing story about leaders and power, the ten year olds have an unquestionable relation towards the current, at the time, war going on in the world. When revising “The Fourteen Characteristics of Fascism” by Lawrence Britt, through many hints and indications, Golding pertained his novel to the well-known characteristics.
The main characteristics of Fascism are the Powerful and Continuing Nationalism and the Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights. The Nationalism is projected in “mak[ing] constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays. ” One of the first clues in the book that the boys would become savages was Jack and the hunters’ chanting when celebrating their successful kill. “Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood. (Golding 74)
For them, that chant seemed to play the patriotic motto Hitler or any other tyrant would use while persuading and advertising their beliefs. Also, the boys’ painted faces were just like uniforms at wartime. It was their cover from their innocence, as if they were morphed into savages, with no morals. At war, or transition into Fascism, the uniforms worn represented the opinions the soldiers held. Once one was in a uniform, the person was aloud to be as violent as ever, without any conscience or restrictions. Uniforms were like a permission slip to be cruel and violent.
A uniform morphed a soldier into a savage that discriminates the human rights. “Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need. ” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc. ” In the beginning of the story the boys outlined rules that must be followed and stated, ” We’re English; and English are best at everything. “(Golding 42) By Chapter 5 Jack disclaimed recognizing the set of laws at the island.
When Jack shouted “Conch! Conch! We don’t need the conch any more,”(Golding 101) there’s an obvious transition from being proper, English and civilized, to savages that enjoy disorder and negligence. On one occasion, when Ralph reminded Jack that he is breaking “the conch rule”, Jack responded with “Who cares? ” and followed with “Bollocks to the rules! We’re strong – we hunt! If there’s a beast, we’ll hunt it down! “(Golding 100) His denial for the importance of the conch was a major step towards savagery; by his ignorance the only security the boys had was taken away.
That gave Jack freedom to torment their minds into following him into anything he appointed them to do, such as, torturing their mates and being disloyal to Ralph. Another feature of Fascism is the Identification of Enemies or Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause. “The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, and terrorists. ” Just as Hitler found scapegoats in the Jewish population, Jack identifies to Hitler with his scapegoat as Piggy.
His continuous offences towards Piggy rubbed off to the other members of the tribe, therefore, Piggy had no say in anything, except when considered by Ralph. Jack mocked him when shouting “You shut up, you fat slug! “(Golding 91) once Piggy expressed his opinion. He was expected to feel worthless, since he was not as athletic as everyone else, and had a different appearance. Jack’s hatred towards Piggy made him incapable to see the right path and distracted him from the true destination that must have been attained. His problems always ended up being caused by Piggy, and his anger due to his failures was always directed towards his scapegoat.
The final characteristics of Fascism that could be related to Golding’s Lord of the Flies are Controlled Mass Media, Obsession with National Security, and Obsession with Crime and Punishment. Controlled Mass Media states, “Sometimes [the] media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common,” and Obsession with National Security is when “Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
The beast is a fear that connected everyone on the island, stripped them off all their secure spots and left with nothing to believe in. When those boys were younger, especially in Britain, they were taught there was nothing greater than humans. When finding out there was a beast, a greater power, the kids would be traumatized and incapable of thinking and making choices in their right mind. At that stage, while helpless, Jack could take advantage of anyone’s weak spot and manipulate their beliefs.
The final of Britt’s characteristics of Fascism is the Obsession with Crime and Punishment. “Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations. ” Jack’s obvious obsession with torture, killing, and punishment was presented to the reader in the beginning of the novel when he labelled himself as the leader of the hunters.
As Jack was the main meat provider, he expanded his killings into feasts, celebrating the murders and truly enjoying the executions. His final presentation of his limitless enforcement of punishment was in Chapter 10: The Shell and The Glasses; Jack had a boy tied up and beaten for no reason, except to show what happens if anyone gets in his way. Even when his followers were questioned for the trigger of Jack’s actions, they had no idea what could’ve set off Jack, Robert stated, “I don’t know. He didn’t say. He got angry and made us tie Wilfred up. .. he’s been tied for hours, waiting. “(golding 176)
As reading Lord of the Flies, the frighteningly fascist behaviour of the young boys leads one to believe more and more of Golding’s intentions to open up a realistic view of the current happenings. World War II was a hard time for many nations, and even kids whose country had no fascist background got lead on by the tempting ease of following Hitler and Mussolini’s footsteps. It is scary as a reader, to be a spectator of the innocent turning into monstrous savages, such as Jack and Roger.
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