LORD OF THE FLIES Stephen Gapay

At times, the authority of a group of people becomes displaced due to confusion and change among the people under the power of that authority. When this structure is removed, another form of power and rule must take hold. George Orwell, who wrote Animal Farm, and William Golding, author of Lord of The Flies, both illustrate different outcomes of such a situation in their novels.

A comparison of Lord of the Flies to Animal Farm by George Orwell through plot, themes, and characters.
PLOT

The plot of both Lord of the Flies and Animal Farm both revolve around the change in power and systems of rules, and the fallout of these alterations . In Lord of the Flies, when the boys become stranded on the island, they are free of the power and rules traditionally exercised on them by adults. This is a concept mirrored through the story in Animal Farm when Mr. Jones is chased off his farm by the animals he once controlled. In both books new forms of government take hold, with Ralph as the elected chief of the stranded boys and Napoleon and Snowball as the leaders of the farm.

In both books, the new leaders become distorted from their original goals and allow the power in their control to distort their actions. When Napoleon kills some supposed traitors, the other animals question his decision, but do not stop him. Napoleons ability to intimidate the other animals through his squad of attack dogs effectively stops all opposition, and forces the other animals to accept his beliefs, as he controls them through fear. In Lord of the Flies, when Jack tortures Robert, Roger, unsure of wether to go along with it, choses to. The boys chose to obey Jack so they can fit in, and because they don't have a better option. They hated the rules that Ralph imposed on them, so they went with the only other option, driven by their desire to have fun and play. In both stories it is shown that though one leader may seem more attractive at the time, they can be as bad (or worse) than the previous one.

THEME

A central theme in both Lord of the Flies and Animal Farm is the transition and corruption of power. In both books power is transferred from a pre-existing system to a new leader, and from there, the power is taken by another leader who is more appealing to those under him, but is quick to act upon violence and does not work towards the common good of all. In Lord of the Flies this is exemplified through Ralph, Jack, and the lack of adults on the island.

As schoolboys, before crashing onto the island, they had always looked to adults to lead and be the power in place, but they no longer have that. When Ralph becomes the elected chief he becomes the new power, but there are obvious tensions between him and Jack immediately. Ralph is focused on surviving, building shelter, finding food, and hopefully, getting rescued at some point. Jack and many of the other boys are enjoying the absence of adults on the island and are focused on hunting pigs, swimming, and just having fun. As the story goes on this drives the boys to abandon Ralph's leadership and to follow Jack, who quickly turns violent. He tortures Wilfred while claiming that Ralph and his group are a danger to the tribe, mimicking Napoleon as he chases Snowball off the farm in Animal Farm. Towards the very end of the book, when Roger drops the boulder on Piggy, he does so because he knows he can, and there is nobody on the island to limit his call to cruelty.

The power in Lord of the Flies is very tentative. The conch shell was meant to give everybody the ability to speak in assembly, but that power was taken from Piggy, who was ignored and told to shut up even when he had the conch in hand. Ralph's power is taken by the group when they no longer cosign his ideals of survival, rescue, and order. When Roger drops the boulder on Piggy, killing him and crushing the conch shell, it symbolizes the total loss of power once held by anyone on the island. At the time when Jack is in charge, throwing spears at Ralph, and watching Piggy get dropped off a cliff, the island is a free for all. Throughout the story, power changes through many hands, and is transformed from a force of good, to a force of chaos.

In Animal Farm, the preexisting state is Mr. Jones' rule of the farm. After he is chased off the farm, the animals take control and Snowball and Napoleon start calling the shots. They butt heads on a lot of the issues surrounding the farm, and their relationship looks very similar to that of Ralph and Jack. Later in the story as the two pigs argue over the construction of the windmill their motives are apparent. Snowball is thinking of the other animals on the farm, while Napoleon is thinking only about himself and the profits of the farm. Napoleon knows Snowball is right in his quest to build the windmill for the farm and he is scared of the support that Snowball has, he views him as an enemy, and therefore has to have him chased off the farm.

After Snowball is chased from the farm the conditions quickly begin to deteriorate. Napoleon and Squealer take the power for themselves and begin to manipulate the commandments of the original constitution set forth when Animal Farm was created. Those commandments, which were once a source of order and equality, were corrupted to be a source of power for the pigs only. In both Lord of the Flies and Animal Farm, the original source of power is corrupted to a point where it is no longer what it was meant to be. Both books give a light to the idea that change is not always good, and power in the wrong hands corrupts and destroys ideals.

Characters

In both books, the characters are very similar to each other. Ralph is a mirror of Snowball and Jack is a similar character to Napoleon. Each of these pairs serve a similar purpose in their respective stories and is similar in personality and action.

Ralph and Snowball are both for the good of the order in their communities. This pair starts out with initial power in their respective stories. Ralph wants to survive and be rescued while on the island, Snowball wants to build a windmill so that the other animals don't have to work as hard. Both of these characters are respected by their communities until their power is stripped from them by usurping powers. While Ralph is not chased away from the tribe of boys, his fate is very similar to that of Snowballs, as he is no longer in a place to influence the ones he just held power over.

Jack and Napoleon are obviously similar characters. Both of them take power from those in charge before them, both take to violence and intimidation to intimidate and control, and both corrupt the power in their control. Jack takes the power from Ralph in Lord of the Flies as the boys begin to revolt against his way of order and reasoning and Napoleon takes total power after chasing Snowball off the farm. Both of these new leaders use intimidation and violence to maintain control, Jack through torture and murder, and Napoleon through his squad of attack dogs. Through these tactics, both leaders are able to maintain power and negate the idea that they are worse than the power that came before them. The corruption of the power in their hands is also a similarity between Napoleon and Jack. Both characters are second leaders to their respective groups, and both replaced leaders who were working towards the common good of all. A great example of the corruption of power is the fire in Lord of the Flies. Ralph used the fire to signal for help, while Jack used it to light torches, burn down the forest, and threaten other boys. Napoleons corruption of power is exemplified through his modifications to the constitution of the Animal Farm. The constitution, which was once a source of equality, was changed to make all animals equal, but some more equal than others.

Created By
Stephen Gapay
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