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February 19, 2012

William Golding's _Lord of the Flies_

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18 February 2012

ENG 435 Students (of Spring 2012),

Please submit your application papers for William Golding's _Lord of the Flies_ in the comment box of this blog.

Dr. Hobbs

Posted by lhobbs at February 19, 2012 07:51 PM






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Readers' Comments:

Emmanuel Cruz
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 435
February 20, 2012
Discussion Questions
“Structures aren’t physical entities; they are conceptual frameworks that we use to organize and understand physical entities” (211). What are the three conceptual frameworks within Structuralist criticism?
Would we still have a language without a structural system? (210) Agree or disagree with textual support. Hint: A structural system to govern communication.

Posted by: Emmanuel Cruz at February 20, 2012 06:41 AM

Travis N. Rathbone
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 435
2 April 2012

For the Sake of Swimming: Capturing Displacement in the Lord of the Flies

Sometimes, certain stories seem tailored for specific literary theories; as such, William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies lends itself superbly to a psychological reading of the text. The book is rife with subtle yet deep undertones, and a quick glance at the text will find the characters of Jack, Piggy, and Ralph as representations of the id, ego, and superego respectively. However, for the immediate purpose here, great interest lies in Sigmund Freud’s notion of displacement as it applies to actions taken by Ralph after crash landing on a deserted island.

When defining displacement, Freud states that “a psychical force is operating which on the one hand strips the elements which have a high psychical value of their intensity, and on the other hand, by means of overdetermination, creates from elements of low psychical value new values” (Freud 412). His notion here was intended to be applied to and make sense of dreams, but this process works suitably well in the realm of wakefulness also, and this type of theorizing can be seen in application as early as the first chapter of Lord of the Flies. Directly following the plane crash and Ralph and Piggy’s initial encounter, the two boys discover a lagoon, and at a moment when one might weigh the horrifying significance of being marooned on an island and attempt to create a plan of action, Ralph seems alarmingly unconcerned about his situation and decides to go for a swim: “He picked his way to the seaward edge of the platform and stood looking down into the water . . . Ralph spoke to himself, sounding the bass strings of delight. ‘Whizzoh!’ . . . Ralph paddled backwards down the slope, immersed his mouth and blew a jet of water into the air” (Golding 6 - 7). Ralph’s exclamation as he dives into the water along illustrates his ease of mind. The carefree nature a quick swim does not seem characteristic of someone dealing with an immediate tragedy.

Ralph’s listless dip in the pool is an indicator that he has not fully realized his current situation. Indeed, the high level of intensity that characterizes the boys’ predicament is being replaced, at least for Ralph, with the low level of intensity that dictates going for a swim. In essence, old, more intense, values (e.g. a near death experience and the fight for survival) are being subdued and new values (e.g. a carefree nature in relation to tragic events) are being created. The meaning of such an occurrence can only by hypothesized, but one can assume the gravity of recent events proved to be intense enough to force Ralph to subdue them if only for a brief amount of time. This denial only lasts for a brief time, however, for the true and wise Piggy grounds Ralph by insisting action be taken to preserve the lives of all the boys on the island. Ultimately, Ralph comes to terms with the intensity of his situation, and his brief bout of displacement comes to an end.

Works Cited
Freud, Sigmund. “The Interpretation of Dreams.” 1900. Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd Ed. Eds. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004. 396-414. Print.
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Penguin Books, 1954. Print.

Posted by: Travis N. Rathbone at April 2, 2012 05:46 PM

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