The current study aims at exploring the working of Ghazalian nafs e Lawwama and Freudian superego in Lord of the Flies. This study, in the parameters of psychoanalytical interpretation, explicitly describes the profound impact of nafs e lawwama / superego on the major characters of the novel, as they cross the limitations of morality, get tortured by remorse, and finally struggle to compensate for it. The study finds out that Ghazalian nafs-e-lawwama and Freudian superego impose constraints on the instant fulfillment of pleasures of id / nafs-e-ammara and reproaches ego / aq’l for its negligence of the voice of conscience. This study provides an exciting opportunity to advance our knowledge of literary analysis and contributes to this growing area of research by probing into the depth of the human psyche.
Psychoanalysis, Superego, Conscience, Psyche
This paper seeks to address the intricacies of the human mind as depicted by the major characters of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Ghazalian theory of soul and Freudian psychoanalytic technique has been used to analyze the working of nafs e lawwama and superego in Piggy, Ralph, and Jack. The selected novel retained its exceptional success since its publication in 1954. Golding demonstrates unique skills and exceptional employment of literary devices in his momentous portrayal of the inner workings of human mind. Furthermore, this novel has continued to elicit keen interest in scholars and readers alike.
Golding narrates the tale of a group of schoolboys stuck on a deserted island. In the beginning, they work on creating the British system under Ralph’s guidance. However, very soon reason and order changed into savagery and these boys become unrestrained. The reason behind this transformation can be found out through a psychoanalytic study of characters to disclose the source of the beast inside. Golding’s sublimity of thought and deep metaphorical meaning in the novel, makes this work an illuminating guide for humanity, beyond geographical limitations and cultural and linguistic boundaries, carrying a message for all people from all times and cultures.
Fundamentally this paper is based on the profound impact of nafs e lawwama or superego on the behavior of characters, so it becomes imperative to address its conceptual underpinnings. Ghazalian nafs e lawwama impels an examination of the ethical feature of any act (Ahmad, 1992). This “reproachful psyche” (Hisham, 2012 (b), p.329) is in the unconscious part of mind and plays the role of conscience. It tries to subdue human evil as Ali (1995) observes that nafs-e-lawwama compels self to “upbraid man and berate itself” (p.59). Since soul is in the middle of its journey towards growth so this stage cannot respite in one state and experiences continuous awareness, “scrutinizing, criticizing and self-accusing” (Khosra’vi, 2006, p.165). It discovers malicious conducts, censures itself for transgressions and nurtures regret. Ghazali (1978) finds quite strange vicissitudes and considers it always in the state of fluctuation. Similarly, Smither and Khorsandi (2009) observe that Ghazali finds nafse lawwamma as continuously criticizing man’s wrong actions, noncompliance to rules and the disregard of his responsibilities by increasing his “sense of morality” (p.87).
Similarly, the psychoanalytic discovery of Sigmund Freud foreshowed the establishment of modern psychology (Schwartz, 1974). He examined the growth and the functions of superego at two levels: functioning of superego in the child on one hand and the capacity of superego in an individual during the course of evolution (Freud, 1924). Fundamentally, superego is the vehicle for the phenomenon called “conscience” (Freud, 1959, p.223) which helps an individual to shape his personality by conforming social rules. Besides it also provides a set of instructions, instilling a sense of evil and good(Friedman & Schustack, 1999). Moral beliefs and particularly moral emotions (e.g. guilt, shame, gratitude, indignation etc.) are important in terms of regulating behaviour and balancing selfish needs with those accepted by societal norms, both in health (Tangney et al., 2007, Tangney, 2002) and in psychiatric conditions. Moreover, Freud (1923) also maintains that the conscience or superego of an individual is forged under the frustrating influences of his superiors such as parents, teachers, and elder church members.
Lord of the Flies, one of the greatest literary phenomenon, retained its exceptional success since its publication in 1954. The novel demonstrates Golding’s unique skills and exceptional employment of literary devices in his momentous portrayal of the inner workings of human mind. Furthermore, it has continued to elicit keen interest in scholars and readers alike. Golding’s sublimity of thought and deep metaphorical meaning in the novel makes this work an illuminating guide for humanity beyond geographical limitations and cultural and linguistic boundaries, carrying a message for all people from all times and cultures.
While analyzing the intricate themes and versatility of Golding’s style, Oldsey and Weintraub (1963) declare him as a complicated writer whose novels can be placed within various categories of meaning, i.e., “political, sociological, religious and psychological” (p.96). In a similar vein, many critics have found Lord of the Flies as a realistic representation of human nature (Kulkarni, 2003; Redpath, 1986; Babb, 1970), artistically dealing with the clash between the human instinct toward civilization and the urge for violence. Bufkin (1965) quotes Golding’s purpose of writing Lord of the Flies when he says,
An attempt to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature. The moral is that the shape of a society must depend on the ethical nature of the individual and not on any political system however apparently logical or respectable (p.40).
Golding’s portrayal of characters’ psyche is quite realistic. He delves deep into the mysteries of human mind to search the dark cavern inside. Though Lord of the Flies has been considered a “novel of ideas” (Haldar, 2006, p.96), but it possesses a very limited space to present complete psychological development of its characters. However, Golding quite skillfully offers his profound insight into human psyche in such a confined space. White (1964) has made an important analysis of the “lifting, fluttering, settling” (LOF p.30) butterflies in the boys’ first exploration of island and concludes that since “the Greek word for butterfly is psyche, meaning human soul” (p.167); thus, Golding’s description of the butterflies’ desertion of “the open space where the obscene thing (pig’s head) grinned and dipped” (LOF p.152) indicates the absolute collapse of soul under violence.
The novel has also been considered as a parable of human regression (Bowen, 1959) which unfolds the psychological state of man when he abandons the restraints imposed by civilization. Gerrig (2009) commenting on the leitmotif of the novel indicates that the boys declined into violence when human nature overwhelmed the “façade of civilization” (p.1). The moral degeneration results in the feelings of wrath, greed and anxiety as well as it eliminates rational faculty, making human life horrible, ruthless and short. While drawing the same conclusion, Jung (1995) signifies the presence of evil in man by arguing,
We need more understanding of human nature, because the real danger that exists is man himself. He is the great danger, and we are pitifully unaware of it. We know nothing of man, far too little. His psyche should be studied, because we are the origin of all coming evil (p.2).
Some critics (Oldsey & Weintraub, 1963; Crane, 1969) discover certain Freudian implications and argue that Golding has portrayed the triple organization of the human psyche (id, ego, superego), dramatizing the lives of Ralph, Jack and Piggy respectively where the growing conflict between Ralph and Jack corresponds to an “ego-id polarity” (Dickson, 1990, p.24). Similarly, recently, a considerable literature has grown up around the psychoanalytic interpretation of the characters in Lord of the Flies. As Holbrook (2013) argues that “Golding’s children, removed from civilization, revert to id” (p.42); Burns (2008) calls this novel an “allegory of id-ego relationship” (p.126); Keren (2003) studies it as a “fable, demonstrating the three Freudian- forced id, ego and superego” (p. 89); Telgen (1997) opines that “each of the characters personifies a different aspect of human psyche, the id, the superego and the ego” (p.188). Gallagher (1965) points out that psychological criticism has interpreted Lord of the Flies in the light of Freud’s Totem and Taboo, and considers “Ralph as ego, Piggy as superego and Jack as id” (p.198).
Moreover, Storr (1986) a writer and psychiatrist, while referring to Golding’s certain passages in his works, concludes that these may be interpreted in the light of what Freud calls the ‘primal scene’ (a child’s viewing of his parents’ sexual intercourse). While Sugimura (2008) calls Golding a “psychologist and philosopher” (p.10) on whose work the application of psychoanalytic theory has consciously been avoided by critics, considering it a taboo. The presumed reason is Golding’s (2013) declaration of pure dislike for Freud, in his lecture, delivered in Hamburg, 1980, entitled ‘Belief and Creativity’ where he mentions,
It was at a moment in the history of my own rages that I saw western world conditioned by the images of Marx, Darwin and Freud; and Marx, Darwin and Freud are the three crushing bores of the western world. The simplistic popularization of their ideas has thrust our world into the mental straightjacket from which we can only escape by the most anarchic violence (pp.186-187).
Surprisingly, as has been mentioned earlier, Golding documented his own disbelief in Freudian ideas; nevertheless, it is quite
helpful to employ psychoanalytic themes in his Lord of the Flies. As Rosenfield (1999) finds this work as the “dramatization of Freudian psychoanalysis” and mentions that it proves how a writer’s “knowledge of a theory can vitalize his prose and characterization” (p.3).
Another important phenomenon that Golding deals within the novel is the portrayal of vice and virtue, next to each other; the island’s most evil object, the pig’s head and the best person, Simon, closely together. Kinkead-Weekes and Gregor (1968) observe that man’s inherent evil is the real cause of tragedy in the island. Likewise, Tiger (1974) sheds light on the portrayal of man’s sinfulness in the novel and opines that the novel "shows how intelligence (Piggy) and common sense (Ralph) will always be overthrown in society by sadism (Roger) and the lure of totalitarianism (Jack)” (p.44). While Dickson (1990) considers this novel as a “parable of a fallen man” which makes man explore his inner self, with a difficult fight against “unrecognized forces” existing within his soul (p.26).
Bufkin (1965), in a comprehensive analysis of the novel, points out that Lord of the Flies is bipartite, Chapters 1-9 constitute one part, the last three chapters 10-12 constitute the other; thematically, the first part displays boys’ “state of innocence”, and the second reveals their “primitive state of evil” (p.15). He further explores that boys acquire knowledge of evil at the cost of losing their innocence, which consequently darkens their hearts. Thus, Lord of the Flies, as Sugimura (2008) observes, presents the “culmination of the destroying force” latent in our unconscious, beyond good and evil (p.15). Golding’s momentous presentation of human psyche makes him one of the legendary novelists of English Literature.
The Manifestation of Nafs-e-lawwama / Superego in Piggy
Piggy serves the role of nafs-e-lawwama or superego either by continuously struggling to impose the rules or limiting the instinctive cravings of callousness and dominance over others. From the very initial stages of their arrival on the island, he assumes the role of a moral compass of a father figure, by maintaining the sense of civilization among boys. Besides he has complete realization of Jack’s hatred towards him, because he is the major obstacle in between Jack and the immediate fulfillment of his pleasure. Moreover, according to Ghazali and Freud, the role of nafs-e-lawwama / superego is to employ aq’l / ego to control nafs-e-ammara / id. Since Piggy cannot control Jack on his own, he must rely on Ralph to do so.
Similarly, Ghazalian nafs-e-lawwama enforces restrictions on the immediate gratification of pleasures of nafs-e-ammara and rebukes aq’l for its negligence of the voice of conscience. Piggy serves both the functions in the novel, either by trying to repress Jack’s evilness, or reminding Ralph of his proper role of maintaining order.
Piggy’s Physical Description Denoting Inner Psyche
Piggy is distinct from others, “an outsider, not only by accent, which did not matter, but by fat, and ass-mar, and specs, and a certain disinclination for manual labor” (LOF p.70). His fatness and asthma illustrate how the civilized thinking of superego is ill-matched for this environment and is excluded as useless. Furthermore, in the course of events, it seems that, like other boys, Piggy's hair doesn’t grow; the growing hair symbolize boys’ gradual degradation into savagery as they become more barbarous, long haired, filthy and unscrupulous, while Piggy remains unaffected by this moral collapse.
He was the only boy on the island whose hair never seemed to grow. The rest were shock‐ headed, but Piggy’s hair still lay in wisps over his head as though baldness were his natural state, and this imperfect covering would soon go, like the velvet on a young stag’s antlers (LOF p.70).
Piggy’s physical description displays not only his difference from other boys; it also reminds the reader of the image of the old man having extraordinary human wisdom; he is fat, sluggish because of asthma, extremely near‐sighted and mostly disinclined to physical toil. This makes Spitz (1970) call him like “Socrates, an ugly, fat and- to man unappreciative of reason- a bore, with a disinclination of manual labour” (p.26).
Moreover, his asthma seems to be an expression of fear due to his physical and intellectual alienation. Unfortunately, he encounters his terrible death when he overcomes his fear and resolves to encounter Jack. Piggy’s insight enables him to decide the future course of action to be undertaken. Kinkead-Weekes and Gregor (1968) elucidate that the realities about human motivation, which Piggy’s rational intelligence and Ralph’s health fail to reach, have been revealed through his asthma.
Internalization of Established Social Norms
As Ghazalian nafs-e-lawwama and Freudian superego motivate an individual to live in total obedience to the social rules, it tolerates no accidental transgression or temporary compromise from the internalized norms of societal framework. Piggy has been much concerned about the significance of name, as Golding has portrayed him asking names of the boys on various occasions, “What's your name?”…. “Ralph”. “The fat boy waited to be asked his name in turn but this proffer of acquaintance was not made; the fair boy called Ralph smiled vaguely” (LOF p.9).
Likewise, his suggestion to Ralph indicates his compliance to established social order.
"I expect we'll want to know all their names," said the fat boy, "and make a list. We ought to have a meeting” (LOF p.11).
This kind act of recognizing each boy as an individual instead of just a kid by learning everyone's names reveals his ability to connect everyone in a better way. He is at much higher moral status than all the boys on the island.
Similarly, towards the end of the novel, Piggy’s infuriation on the growing injustice makes him cry out “I don’t ask for my glasses back, not as a favour. I don’t ask you to be a sport, I’ll say, not because you’re strong, but because what’s right’s right.” (LOF p. 189). This outburst is the result of Piggy’s endurance for his lost glasses, which seems to be far greater than any that he had come across earlier.In this way, Piggy plays the role of an inner voice of nafs-e-lawwama or superego, imposing restrictions on the chaotic demands of nafs-e-ammara or id.
Incorporation of Parental Restrictions
Freud considers superego as the reflection of the internalized cultural rules, taught by elders, so Piggy refers to his aunt time and again, during the course of events, which shows that his superego dominates his psyche because of his aunt’s restrictions, “My auntie told me not to run.......On account of my asthma” (LOF p.9). Moreover, at the time of assembly when the small boy wants to convey the chief about beast, everyone starts laughing at him. Piggy greatly detests this attitude of boys; he is the only one who considers it a wrong deed to make fun of him. His superego leads him to help the boy to convey his message effectively. “The small boy held out his hands for the conch and the assembly shouted with laughter; at once he snatched back his hand and started to cry. “Let him have a conch!” shouted Piggy” Let him have it”. ......... Piggy knelt by him, one hand on the great shell, listening and interpreting to the assembly” (LOF p.39).It demonstrates Piggy’s skill of delving into the depth of human psyche and adopting appropriate measure to be observed.
The lost civilization is the root cause of the anarchism on the island. In the absence of parents to teach the boys moral principles, it becomes much difficult to restore order. So, Piggy partially takes over the role of parent, who moralizes and epitomizes an authority, "You're acting like a crowd of kids” (LOF p.48). On witnessing Jack’s reckless behaviour towards fire, “with the martyred expression of a parent who has to keep up with the senseless ebullience of the children, he picked up the conch, turned toward the forest, and began to pick his way over the tumbled scar”(LOF p.42). Piggy assumes the role of an internal eye of nafs-e-lawwama or superego that detects socially improper behaviour and a minute deviation from social norms (Ghazali, 1993).
Similarly, while forgetting his own timidity and the agony of his lost glasses, Piggy angrily confronts Jack and tries to rise up his feelings of guilt and remorse for letting the fire go out. He efforts hard to act according to the standard of the grown-ups and, therefore, undertakes his parental role. But, unfortunately, with his brutal murder, the only voice of conscience dies out.
Piggy Incurring Wrath of Jack’s Tribe.
Piggy's manner of analyzing the fact-based situation and articulating his opinion, quite ostracizes him. Since the central function of nafs-e-lawwama or superego is to suppress the unacceptable immoral urges of nafs-e-ammara or id, so there occurs a constant clash in between these two forces. It has been demonstrated through childrens’ behaviour on various occasions. As, Ralph mockingly tells others his real name,
He’s not Fatty,” cried Ralph, “his real name’s Piggy!” …….. “Oh, Piggy!”. A storm of laughter arose even the tiniest child joined in. For the moment, the boys were a closed circuit of sympathy with Piggy outside: he went very pink, bowed his head and cleaned his glasses again (LOF pp.28-29).
Similarly, at the time of boys’ first exploration of the island, Jack announces the names of three boys to go on an expedition, Piggy declares, "I'll come" (LOF p.26), but they “paid no attention” (LOF p.206), rather humiliate him. Piggy’s logical and rational ways of thought makes him as an outcast. Likewise, right before his terrible death, when Piggy criticizes savages’ behviour and tries to civilize them by giving sermon on rules and law, Golding describes tribes’ attitude who “were curious to hear what amusing thing he might have to say” and when he utters few words, “A great clamour rose among the savages” (LOF p.199). Moreover, in response to Piggy’s anger over hunters’ irresponsible attitude towards fire, Jack beats him and makes his parody, “Piggy and the parody were so funny that the hunters began to laugh. Jack felt encouraged. He went on scrambling and the laughter rose to a gale of hysteria” (LOF p.78).
Furthermore, Piggy has a perfect realization of Jack’s hatred and abhorrence towards him, as he informs Ralph, “He can't hurt you: but if you stand out of the way he'd hurt the next thing. And that's me." "Piggy's right, Ralph. There's you and Jack. Go on being chief” (LOF p.102). Piggy reaches conclusion after proper reasoning regarding situation. His asthma provides him an opportunity to delve deeper into the cause of evil residing in humans which his intelligence and Ralph’s physical health cannot realize, transforming his fear into hatred and estrangement.
I been in bed so much I done some thinking. I know about people. If you're scared of someone you hate him but you can't stop thinking about him. You kid yourself he's all right really, and then when you see him again; it is like asthma and you can't breathe (LOF p.86).
Thus, the contemptuous attitude of boys brings tears in his eyes, making his suffering much intolerable. It further confirms the Ghazalian and Freudian notion about the rapid development of strong hostility and antagonism in between the conflicting forces of nafs-e-ammara or id and nafs-e-lawwama or superego, often resulting on the defeat of latter.
Piggy’s Attempts to Control Impulsive Behaviour of Children. Another most significant function undertaken by nafs-e-lawwama and superego is to critically analyze the impetuous actions and their expected outcomes. Oldsey and Weintraub (1963) carry out an in-depth study of the novel and analyze that Golding identifies Piggy “with pig's meat (his physical sloth and appetite and eventual sacrifice), with his glasses that represent intellect and science” (p.98). With his higher reasoning faculty, he prevents savages from running wild. His intellectual daring and dealing with matters learnedly is demonstrated through his inquiry about the real identity of the boys when they start behaving savagely; "What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages? What's grownups going to think? Going off--hunting pigs--letting fires out--and now!....I know there isn’t no beast - not with claws and all that, I mean - but 1 know there isn’t nofear either... unless... unless we get frightened of people” (LOF p.92). Thus, with his attempts to constrain wild and chaotic behaviour of children, Piggy plays the role of nafs-e-lawwama or superego, but fails to ensure survival strategies in the island.
Piggy’s Relations with Other Children
Piggy acts like a father figure, always counseling children with common sense and logic. He tries to establish his tone with a rational gravity and constantly scolds the enthusiasm of other boys for play, dance and hunting. Ungrammatically but reasonably, he tries to alleviate the “littluns” fear of a “beast” (LOF p.90). Being a benefactor to the littuluns, his kindness towards them portrays the conscience left in the society, which is revealed through the manner of asking their name as Golding mentions, “Piggy leaned down to him What’s yer name?” (LOF p.92).
Furthermore, Piggy’s contribution is quite significant as he symbolizes human reasoning faculty and a father figure who provides his glasses to light the fire which the children foster and guard on the mountain, in the hope of being rescued through their communication with the adult world. Likewise, Piggyʹs gradual blindness indicates boys’ gradual descent into the abyss of irrationality.
Moreover, Piggy’s indifference towards other childrens’ mocking feelings about him is quite surprising, even after Ralph tells everyone his name is Piggy. Similarly, when Jack and some of the other boys humiliate him by abusive names like “fatty” (LOF p.98), “fat slug” (LOF p.99), involving his weight, or even asking him to shut up (LOF p.97), he ignores their remarks for the most part, and still expresses his opinion on current situation. Besides, his astute concern with littuluns has been demonstrated through the fact that he is the first to notice the absence of “littulun… with a mark on his face” (LOF p.51) in the wake of the fire. Similarly, his constant attempts to correct everyone and habit of giving suggestions also makes him a father figure. He remains unaffected by their insulting comments.
Piggy’s Violent Death-The Total Collapse of Ethical Standards
Piggy’s vicious death can be construed as the element of the story, demonstrating the total collapse of order, discipline and ethical values. Bufkin (1965) considers Piggy’s murder, the end of boys ‘innocent game, after which it has become “a seriously evil reality” (p.51). Piggy has proved himself as a weaker intellectual who is substantially incapable and emotionally immature. Constantly scorned by Jack and protected by Ralph, just before his own violent death, he rationalizes Simon's murder. There seems to be a kind of relation between pig’s slaughter and Piggy’s murder, as Niven (1980) observes, his name has been derived from the pigs and his brutal death splits his brain, the source of rationality, and turns it into red stuff spreading on the rocky table. His death, soon to follow Simon’s, is predicted when the former declares at council that there is no beast. “ʹWhat would a beast eat? ʹ” “ʹPig.ʹ” “ʹWe eat pig, ʹ” he rationally answers, “Piggy! ʹ” (LOF p.91), is the next word.
Furthermore, he has an impending sense of some peril on account of his blindness "High overhead, Roger, with a sense of delirious abandonment, leaned all his weight on the lever"(LOF p.200). The great rock strikes Piggy down the cliff and without producing a faint sound,
Piggy fell forty feet and landed on his back across that square, red rock in the sea. His head opened and stuff came out and turned red. Piggy's arms and legs twitched a hit, like a pig's after it has been killed (LOF p. 200).
Not only has his head been smashed, but also his beloved conch, symbol of order, is simultaneously broken “The rock struck Piggy a glancing blow from chin to knee; the conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist” (LOF p.200).Conch, as the last attempt of order, rationality and organization of the civilized society is smashed with the brutal death of Piggy and his trust on the shell causes his death. Bufkin (1965) considers conch as the “symbol of order and rational behaviour”, destruction of which smashes the “benevolent authority on the island: the quest has failed” (p.47).
Commenting on this, Kinkead-Weekes and Gregor (1984) mention, "The boy [Piggy] has now literally been seen and killed like a pig; the implications of his nickname fully brought out; what they hated about him turned into 'red stuff' welling out of an 'opened' head” (p.45). While Niven (1980) opines that Piggy’s, death unveils society’s “intolerance towards its thinkers” (p.49). In a poetic way, Piggy’s death is described as another attack on the forces of Good, even nature laments the loss of civilization: “Then the sea breathed again in a long slow sigh, the water boiled white and pink over the rock; and when it went, sucking back again, the body of Piggy was gone” (LOF p.200).
The gradual damage to Piggy’s eyesight and his subsequent death casts light on the disintegration of order in island society. In his attempt to maintain an orderly state of affairs, he encounters conflicts with the power of darkness, stemming from nafs-e-ammara or id and ends in the total defeat of nafs-e-lawwama or superego.
The Portrayal of Jack’s Mind
Jack has been represented as the incarnation of nafs-e-ammara or id, since most of his thoughts and behavior explicitly reveal the strong evil influence of this force on his personality. However, there have been certain moments in his life that shed light on the impact of nafs- e- lawwma or superego on his personality. His internalized moral standards intensify his sense of right and wrong, constantly attempting to suppress the undesirable or wicked urges of nafs-e-ammara or id, even if, its influence remains for a very short period. Although Jack has surrendered himself totally to the demands of nafs-e-ammara or id, paying least attention to the reasoning faculty of aq’l or ego, yet there are certain moments in his life where he demonstrates his sense of guilt and regret, resulting from the pangs of nafs-e-lawwama or superego.
Jack’s Initial Inability to Kill a Pig
It is quite surprising to note that despite Jack’s hostile personality, his conscience prevents him from killing the first pig he encounters, even though he gets a chance. According to Ghazali (1993), the fundamental role of nafs-e-lawwama is the prevention of evil doing. It is that part of the human psyche that reproaches an individual if he fails to fulfill the ethical or social demands and stops an individual from committing a horrible action, and even if it is done, these powers censure him for the disregard of their orders. As has been revealed by Jack’s behavior when, on being asked by Ralph and Simon, the reason for his inability to kill the pig, he makes excuses. Golding reveals the true reason, “They knew very well why he hadn’t: because of the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh; because of the unbearable blood” (LOF p. 34). Moreover, in the utter absence of the restraints and order of civilization, he soon transforms himself into a brute.
Jack’s Liberation from Shame under Mask
The steady degeneration that occurs in Jack’s personality is quite evident from the manner he smears his face with clay. This mask converts him into a savage as, “He began to dance and his laughter became a bloodthirsty snarling. He capered toward Bill, and the mask was a thing of its own, behind which Jack hid, liberated from shame and self-consciousness” (LOF p.69). Hugo (2006) suggests that like dance, Jack’s mask provides him an “escape from the Apollonian burden of individuality” leading him to throw the weight of responsibility (p.114). It also facilitates him in transgressing the standard of morality, without having any repercussions.
As Ghazali (1993) purports that human beings constantly linger between the realms of the animals and the divine, the responsibility of aq’l is to bring him closer to the divine. Thus, Jack’s mask apparently saves him from being an animal, by providing him the logic that he can do anything without consequences. Since masks allow him to hide his guilt, assuming different personae, he considers his mask responsible for bad actions. Jack’s hunting activities and plans to smoke Ralph out of the forest, might not have been so easy without masks. Jack paints his face for hunting camouflage. He is no longer under the restraining effects of civilization as he hides under the mask. Now his instinct for violence has been fully exposed.
He knelt, holding the shell of water. A rounded patch of sunlight fell on his face and brightness appeared in the depths of the water. He looked in astonishment, no longer at himself but at an awesome stranger. He spilled the water and leaped to his feet, laughing excitedly. Beside the pool, his sinewy body held up a mask that drew their eyes and appalled them. He began to dance and his laughter became a bloodthirsty snarling (LOF p.69).
Since the superego develops according to the moral and ethical values of society, so it tries to draw man’s attention towards the effects of his actions on the whole community. As Jack’s whole activity reveals his ingenuity in liberating himself from shame, so, his fleeting pangs of conscience of nafs-e-lawwama or superego bring about a temporary transformation in his behavior.
Jack’s Hesitation to Take Responsibility of Being Boss in the Ending Scene
In the ending scene, Jack is hesitant to take any answerability to the deplorable plight of boys. Although to the officer, Jack is just a “little boy” (LOF p.222), to the savage boys, he is a powerful chief. His reaction to the Naval officer’s question that "Who's boss here?" (LOF p.222). It is quite strange. Golding’s description reveals the inner working of Jack’s mind as he mentions, “A little boy who wore the remains of an extraordinary black cap on his red hair and who carried the remains of a pair of spectacles at his waist, started forward, then changed his mind and stood still” (LOF p.222). He experiences strong feelings of guilt, shame and embarrassment over what he had been doing on the island. Ghazali (1993) views this state as the profound realization of the past sinful life which brings a sudden and radical conversion in man’s behavior, so, Jack’s nafs-e-lawwama or superego compels him not to take any responsibility of a whole lot of boys, making him standstill before the naval officer.
The Portrayal of Ralph’s Mind
A deep study of Ralph’s character reveals that his primary function is to mediate between the pleasure-seeking demands of the evil forces and the pressure exerted by society, but there have been certain moments that make him the victim of sinful impulses. Thus, instead of suppressing his irrational, hedonistic urges, he satisfies them, without taking into consideration their deadly consequences. With the realization of his unethical and self-indulgent behavior, the workings of nafs-e-lawwama or superego force him to regret it. As has been revealed from the following analysis:
Ralph’s Anxiety on his Failure to Restore Order
Ralph is perfectly aware that juvenile inhabitants of the island need to be organized and taught rules for civilized behavior. He has already spent too much energy for survival but of no avail due to Jack’s barbarian attitude. Golding expresses his anxiety in these Words
The tide was coming in and there was only a narrow strip of firm beach between the water and the white, stumbling stuff near the palm terrace. Ralph chose the firm strip as a path because he needed to think, and only here could he allow his feet to move without having to watch them. Suddenly, pacing by the water, he was overcome with astonishment. He found himself understanding the wearisomeness of this life, where every path was an improvisation and a considerable part of one's waking life was spent watching one's feet (LOF p.83).
He regrets the fact that he could not properly cope with the fast deteriorating situation of the island. "Things are breaking up. I don't understand why. We began well; we were happy. And then--”(LOF p.89), while remembering the newly discovered phenomena of beastie, the snake and the fire, he gets frightened. Moreover, time and again, he experiences the prick of conscience for his failure in restoring order on the island, due to boys’ complete negligence of rules and regulations for chasing their dreams, which finally leads them to the worst state.
Ralph’s Distress on his Participation in Simon’s Murder
Ralph’s involvement in Simon’s brutal murder, during the tribal dance around the fire, is the victory of the evil forces residing inside. Since Ralph has already experienced a great mental and physical turmoil and tiresome disillusionment so he is swept away by the dance and the chants of Jack's savage tribe and cannot help fighting “the brown vulnerable flesh (LOF p.126). The next day, he acknowledges the fact of his and Piggy’s involvement in Simon’s murder, “Don't you understand Piggy? The things we did" (LOF p.173). Golding even reveals “loathing……a kind of feverish excitement in his voice” (LOF p.173). Thus, his grief and sorrow, at becoming dehumanized in his fanatic excitement, is the outcome of the strong impact of nafs-e-lawwama or superego.
Ralph’s Tears in the End
Ralph’s odyssey of life on the island initiates from harmony with nature but ends with the consciousness of the degeneration, ruthlessness, and brutality, engulfing humanity. There is a huge contrast between his jubilant world in the beginning and “the shuddering spasms of grief that seemed to wrench his whole body” (LOF p.223) in the end. Thus, he sheds tears "for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart, and the fall through the air of the true wise friend called Piggy" (LOF p.223). The wisdom he attains from the grim events on the island saddens his soul and enhances the impact of nafs-e-lawwama or superego, culminating in extreme grief and distress.
While summing up the whole argument, it can be asserted that these characters’ becoming ferocious confirms the belief that compliance to social norms under the influence of nafs e lawwama or superego, not only saves individuals from anxiety, but also from intercommunal savagery. Underneath the surface of civility lurks malevolence, savagery, and the drive to slaughter. Being desolate on an island, without social controls, the dread of chastisement, or moral condemnation, the English boys start hunting each other. They become the violent epitome of hidden animalism when are bereft of law and social order. The eruption of their viciousness is due to their negligence of the voice of conscience (nafs e lawwama / superego). Golding wants his readers to realize that the inherent virtue and innocence of human beings can be transformed into huge carnage when they are away from the limitations of social norms.
Another important and striking conclusion can be deduced from the fact that boys’ failure in remaining civilized on the island seems to be due to their malevolent natures of self-centeredness, enmity, brutality, and recklessness, but most strikingly, because they are also lacking traditional restraints of society that, to a greater extent, would have controlled their deteriorating propensities. As they never stick to either moral dogma or to any ethical code, to a religious creed or even to a demeanor of respectable conduct (nafs e lawwama / superego), so just arriving at the island, they alter all the valuable rudiments of English culture.
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