ENG 1D1- Summative EssayThe famous American journalist Norman Mailer once said ‘Masculinity is not something given to you, but something you gain. And you gain it by winning small battles with honour’. This sort of flawed mentality of men having to constantly prove themselves to society has only harmed men. Unfortunately, this is a flawed opinion many people hold and is another obstacle in our goal for achieving equality and happiness. This sort of ideology is also shown in William Golding’s book The Lord of The Flies. The Lord of The Flies shows William Golding’s flawed perception of masculinity and his attitude towards women, this is shown by his reinforcement of harmful gender stereotypes, the sexist treatment of feminine characters as well as the promotion of damaging gender expectations.Golding’s description of Jack, the boy who ends up with complete control of the island, are consistent with many of the harmful stereotypes of a man, these stereotypes create a harmful description of what it means to be a man, and by reinforcing them, William Golding’s disregard towards this issue is visible. Jack is introduced to the readers as a dominating leader, and his dominance is shown when he commands the choir by shouting “Choir! Stand still!” (Golding 24) after Ralph invites all the choir to a meeting. The boys ignore the invitation made by Ralph to join the meeting and obediently stop moving, some boys then ask Jack for his permission by saying “But, Merridew. Please, Merridew… can’t we?” (Golding 24). The fact that the boys must ask for Jack’s permission to move shows that he has a level of authority over them which is further emphasized by them referring to him only by his last name. Another negative stereotype that Golding reinforces is that men are aggressive, which is shown by Jack’s reaction when his actions are questioned by Ralph. Jack says “Bollocks to the rules! We’re strong—we hunt! If there’s a beast, we’ll hunt it down! We’ll close in and beat and beat—!” (Golding, 91). This sentence tries to show Jack has a huge ego and an innate need to dominate which is another stereotype of men. At the end of the book, Jack ends up with complete control over the island which makes having his sort of personality slightly appealing. Golding makes the one character who is able to achieve his goals a representation of all the toxic descriptions of masculinity which shows that he believes this sort of personality leads to success.Even though no girls are present on the island, William Golding still manages to incorporate slightly misogynistic undertones and continues to reinforce sexist stereotypes in his book. An analysis of this type of narrative shows the reader Golding’s opinion on women and femininity. Golding’s views are made clear by the way Piggy, the only effeminate character in this book, is described at the start of the book. The book uses words like “short,” “fat” and “spectacles,” these three words instantly form his character as someone who is weak and unmanly in the view of the author. Piggy lacks all the masculine stereotypes of assertiveness, dominance, strength, and leadership thus he represents a contrasting femininity in the masculine world of the Lord of Flies. Piggy’s real name is never mentioned and the constant use of a humiliating nickname that he tells Ralph after trusting serves as a warning to the boys that by sharing their emotions and feeling they are putting themselves in a position of weakness which is yet again reinforces the idea of men having to keep their emotions to themselves. Piggy is mistreated throughout the book but an instance that stands out is when he is attacked by the ultra-masculine Jack. The book says “(Jack) stuck his fist into Piggy’s stomach… Jack stood over him.” (Golding 71) Piggy is in a position of weakness after being attacked by Jack and Jack standing over him continues to assert Jack’s dominance over Piggy. Jack then smacks Piggy on the head which causes him to fall and break his glasses. Piggy cannot see without his glasses and needs the help of Simon to gain his vision back. This tries to reinforce the idea that Piggy, who represents females, is weak and needs the help of a more masculine character. Piggy doesn’t try to fight back but instead he says “Now, I only got one eye. Just you wait—” (Golding 71). Jack replies to this by imitating Piggy and humiliating him in front of all the boys. This scene shows the reader that even after resisting, Piggy must submit to the alpha male and gets mocked for it. This despicable treatment of the only slightly feminine character in the book shows that Golding believes that men are superior to women which is shown by making use of false stereotypes and negative assumptions. Not only does William Golding demonize femininity and promote a negative image of being a man, it also promotes societal norms dictating the types of behaviours which are acceptable and expected for people based on sex.This book also includes the fiercely debated idea of gender roles and expectations which are important as the theme of becoming a man is present in the book as the kids are around the age of puberty. During the teenage years boys and girls start to drastically differentiate from each other both physically and mentally. This is due to biological reasons and the innate gender roles in modern society. However, this book promotes unreasonable expectations from the characters in the book. This is first shown when Ralph asks Piggy to swim and Piggy replies by saying “I can’t swim. I wasn’t allowed. My asthma—” (Golding 16). Rather then understanding Piggy’s medical problem and why he cannot swim, Ralph replies by saying “Sucks to your ass-mar!”. Ralph expects Piggy to be able to swim because he is a boy and then mocks his medical problem. This is just the start of the mistreatment of Piggy. Another instance where the boys are expected to know a skill is when the boys decide to light a fire. “The shameful knowledge in them and they did not know how to begin confession. Ralph spoke first, crimson in the face.” (Golding 42). The boys are too ashamed to even speak because they don’t know a certain skill. Modern life has drastically changed these primitive expectations and people like William Golding who have continued to enforce them only hold back society. His expectations for the boys to know certain skills and behave in certain way show William Golding’s dated opinions.The Lord of The Flies shows William Golding’s flawed perception of masculinity and his attitude towards women. The book reinforces harmful gender stereotypes like men being assertive and dominant and presents them as the way to achieve one’s goals. The treatment of Piggy, the only feminine character and his death also give the reader an experience of William Golding’s mindset. The book also promotes harmful gender expectations like men having to be fearless and be able to perform tasks like hunting and swimming. These arguments, along with the recent discovery of his memoirs in which he recounted that he tried to rape a girl as an Oxford University undergraduate, show to us that William Golding was a misogynist. It is important to recognize these issues as this book is read, taught and analysed throughout schools to young children with moldable mindsets and only if we prevent the impressionable youth from developing bigoted opinions will it be possible to truly have equality in the future.CitationsAdams, Stephen. “William Golding, author of Lord of the Flies ‘tried to rape girl a 15-Year-Old girl’.” The Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group, 17 Aug. 2009, www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/booknews/6038249/William-Golding-author-of-Lord-of-the-Flies-tried-to-rape-girl-a-15-year-old-girl.html.Golding, William. Lord of the flies. Penguin Books, 1999.
August 17, 2019 0 Comments