The great Erik Erikson once said, In the social jungle of human existence, there is no feeling of being alive without a sense of identity.First of all, the identity of the children is gradually stripped from them. The children were in a situation where they had no choice but to grow and grow up quickly. These children were in a very traumatic situation and had to learn on their own how to survive and create a successful society for themselves.
With that, the lost boys determine they need someone to assume a leadership role, but unluckily no adult can play the role of authority. As a result of this, the kids are forced to return to power and assume the role of authority. All these things have allowed the boys to lose their identity and become something very different from their past self. No one is completely innocent and everyone has the ability to become violent, says William.
The theme loss of identity is first introduced through the conch shell that symbolized a well-oiled society and what upholds it.
Ralph first uses the conch and becomes the elected leader of the schoolboys slightly irritating jack in the process. At this particular time in the Novel, the British boys are trying to recreate and develop a community on the island showing how at the time the boys were still functioning as polite, civilized young men. At the first Assembly, Ralph says: Ill give the conch to the next person to speak he wont be interrupted. This suggests a civilization since Ralph gives each tribe member the same equal opportunity to voice an opinion instigating that if they have the conch, no matter who they are or their age, they will have the same opportunity to speak and will be heard by the other children. The boys have created a democratic system that they built to replicate their lives back at home. Unfortunately, due to no punishment or real authority on the island, the children started to slowly stray away from civilization and forgot what life was like on the outside. Which alternatively ripped the boys away from their identity.
The young men have never experienced so much power and the ability to control people. This leads to total chaos and violence that unleashes due to the dispute between Ralph and Jack as the leader of the tribe. The problem with children who assume adult roles is that they have neither the experience nor the knowledge to accurate play out these roles. On the island, there is a great lack of authority and power. What happens is that Jack and Ralph take over as leaders on the island, separating the group of guys and forcing them to choose. ” I’m chief, said Ralph, because you chose me. And we were going to keep the fire going. Now you run after food(Golding 150). This is Ralph giving supporting reasons as to why he deserves to be chief I ought to be chief Jack said with simple arrogance and authority, ”because I’m chapter chorister and head boy. I can sing C sharp. (Golding 22). This is Jack boasting and claiming authority over Ralph using a bully technique to belittle ralph and make him feel insecure. They both believe they have jurisdiction over the followers and can not get along … Jack gets very violent in the novel and hurts other boys. The violence that the pack has towards each other is one of the main reasons everyone started to lose their identity, the lost boys had to learn and learn fast how to get over such a tragic and traumatic situation, and learn day by day on the spot how to survive and prosper as a society through thick and thin. Although the lost boys best option was to form together and work as a unit they failed to do so. Undebatably the children have not yet achieved their goals, but efforts have been made to achieve them.
One of the ways in which Golding shows the theme loss of identity is when Jack and some of the other tribe members kill the first pig. Jack sings kill the pig, cut her throat, spill the blood. This suggests that the children are violent, savages and show no remorse when they kill the pig. This is particularly evident in Golding’s words. Jack talks about cutting the pig’s neck, making it look like a wild act of savagery and its shedding blood, which reinforces the lack of attention and feelings towards the pig’s life. This indicates that the tribe members no longer feel guilty for what they did alternatively turning them into savages.
loss of identity truly evolves when Piggys glasses break. In the novel, Golding stated that: Piggy cried out in terror my specs! this shows us that the wild nature of the schoolboys finally began to defeat their most civil side. At the beginning of the book, Jack never dared to touch Piggy, but now there’s no second thought he immediately cracks and goes out to look for Piggy, whom he despises this is evident when Jack said “You’re talking too much . . . Shut up, Fatty” (Golding, 15). We can tell that Piggy is really scared when Golding uses the words “cried” and “terror” to describe the scene in the book. Piggy seems to feel pain and is really afraid of what Jack could do to him especially with the loss of his sight. Piggy’s glasses are also a symbolic representation of intelligence on the island. With them broken, the doors to complete chaos have been swung open leaving a clean-cut path for the boys to follow. This is the first true act of violence on the island and it will result in nearly all the boys becoming savages.
A final way Golding demonstrated the loss of identity within the boys is when Ralph defends Piggy after being attacked by Jack. Ralph says: “that was a dirty trick” (Golding 102). This shows that Ralph is really mad at Jack, after what he did to Piggy. Ralph is always trying to assert himself as a leader, as he says in an aggressive and assertive tone. This suggests that there is still a glimpse of civilization left on the island at this time because there is always someone with a sense of moral integrity who is ready to fight for justice.
In conclusion, the Lord of the Flies by William Golding is a novel in which the theme of loss of identity is presented Ralph represents civilization by applying rules and giving everyone the same word. While Jack, who represents savagery, how he governs children and does not care what they have to say. Through the actions of the child, Golding shows us that we need rules and that we must apply them consciously so that society works correctly.