How Long Can You Keep Your Sanity Under These Conditions?

Categories: Books

You’re all alone. It’s dark around you; the night fell faster than you expected. You were unable to build a fire to last the night and collect enough food to keep you over. It’s the third night in a row like this; you’d think you’d learn by now. What did you do to deserve this life? Is God punishing you? Is it your fate to be punished and die? You don’t know. All you know is that you’re stuck here until someone finds you.

How long will that take? Will it ever even happen? There are no answers. How long can you keep your sanity under these conditions? After reading The Lord of the Flies by William Golding, one can learn a lot about the human psyche and see just how easy it is to lose ones sanity.

William Golding shows us in The Lord of the Flies through violent imagery and cruel character development that everyone has a breaking point; it just takes a certain situation and lack of will power to bring it out.

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Each character begins on the island down to Earth for the most part. The one character that seems a little out of the ordinary, though, is Jack. Jack is hungry for power as soon as he wakes up on the island and this sets him and everyone around him up for trouble. “I ought to be chief, said Jack with simple arrogance,” (Golding 22).

Of course, as you read on, you figure out quickly that this want and arrogance does not die down.

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In fact, it only gets more violent and forced. As he becomes obsessed with hunting and giving more and more faulty reasons for it, it shows just how much he wants to be in charge of something. “He tried to convey compulsion to track down and kill that was swallowing him up…I thought I might kill” (Golding 51). He has an irrational want for power over something and that is an unhealthy trait to have on a deserted island, hinting more and more towards his insanity coming out. Finally, towards the end of the novel, you see his full insanity come out and it is not pretty. He takes half of the camp members as his own and becomes very violent towards Ralph’s camp. His thirst for power becomes too much and his new leadership only begins to quench it.

He ends up killing and torturing multiple camp members and can hardly be called human anymore. So, what Jack needed was a thirst for power, violence and to not have real society around for his insanity to come out. The next character to talk about is Ralph. He may not have lost his sanity quite so quickly and violently as Jack, but, it definitely was nowhere to be found. From the beginning, he started off fine. Like any other normal 12 year old, he enjoyed laughing and teasing and playing; but, he was smart enough to realize the danger of his situation. He became the responsible leader he needed to be and the one the camp needed. The only problem was that some people weren’t so willing to follow order.

As time went on and more and more survivors stopped listening to Ralph, the pressure got to him. What he really wanted was to be a kid again and play and have fun like Jack and his camp members were having. This was the beginning of his insanity coming out. So, he got caught up in the fun and rituals of the island with Jack and the littluns and ‘accidentally’ killed Simon, thinking he was the beast. “Ralph laughed again…That was Simon…That was murder” (Golding 156). It’s very sad to see but very obvious that even Ralph, one a reader would have hope for, lost his sanity to the island. For Ralph, all it took was the island, the pressures of being a leader, and having no one listen to him.

A final character to talk about for this subject is Simon. Simon was a peaceful, nature-loving human being who seemed to have his head in the clouds at times. But, he also knew exactly what he was doing. Through his love of nature he was able to find out what exactly the ‘beastie’ was and could have stopped all the mad beastie hunting from happening. He also helped Ralph build shelter while everyone else was playing or hunting. The only questionable part about Simon was when he saw The Lord of the Flies. His reaction to a pig head talking to him was completely normal—that is if the pig really was talking. Was the pig head talking proof that Simon had lost his sanity? Or, did he die too soon for us to see him really lose it? If he did actually lose his sanity, then it can be determined it was from lack of food, society, and probably even sleep. Three different characters in The Lord of the Flies showed three different rates of insanity and reasons their insanity was brought out. William Golding helped show us that through his novel and characterization. Everyone is different, so, everyone has different levels of sanity. So, after all those nights of hunger and cold, could you keep your sanity?

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How Long Can You Keep Your Sanity Under These Conditions?. (2021, Aug 13). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/how-long-can-you-keep-your-sanity-under-these-conditions-essay

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