College Papers

Zekiah pretend to be someone else. Therefore, Golding

Zekiah ScottAnsotegui P.4Acc English 1017 December 2017  FacepaintAccording to identity is “condition or character as to who a person or what a thing is; the moral qualities, beliefs, etc., that distinguish or identify a person or thing.” In the novel Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, the author demonstrates a major change in identity. The book’s main focus is a group of British boys stuck on an island alone, attempting to establish a controlled way to govern. But despite their attempts at normalcy their leader Ralph soon comes to the realization that they are uncontrollable. There is a power shift when a cold boy named Jack, who is thought to be his friend discovers a new source for command over the beastly boys. He creates the illusion that everything can be justifiably chaotic if you have a mask to pretend to be someone else. Therefore, Golding symbolizes the surfacing of mankind’s savagery from within everyone’s identity through Jacks use of the mask of face paint.    For example, barbarism is shown as being a part of human identity in the book “Lord of the Flies.” It’s specifically illustrated throughout the book when the development of each character is changed over time. They begin as civilized children but, as time goes on the isolation they experience on the island seems to have psychological effects in bringing out their darkest sides. This can be seen especially in the character Jack. When he first applied the face paint, Golding states “He began to dance and his laughter became a bloodthirsty snarling. He capered toward Bill, and the mask was a thing on its own, behind it which Jack hid, liberated from shame and self-consciousness.” (Golding) This scene is important because it definitely portrays the face paint as obscuring Jacks rationality. When he was wearing the face paint it was almost as if his immoral side was brought forward from the depths of his identity. Another example can be found when Golding states “He paused and looked round. He was safe from shame or self-consciousness behind the mask of his paint and could look at each of them in turn.” (154) This shows that Jack seems to act as if is masked and unmasked selves are two separate beings. With a mask Jack can uphold this facade of cruel self confidence but without, he is just a insecure, civilized boy that has to follow rules. But he isn’t the only one feeling this way, he has managed to spread this feeling onto the other boys on the island. For instance, in Chapter eleven, the author writes “‘But they’ll be painted! You know how it is.”The others nodded. They understood only too well the liberation into savagery that the concealing paint brought”(Golding 172). This shows that Jack has changed how innocent the others viewed the paint. Because of him they now believe the face paint “liberates” them into savagery, allowing them to act in a way that modern society has never let them. So, the paint represents the savage within. It doesn’t disguise the boys’ true identity; it reveals it.    Another key example in the Lord of the Flies where Golding uses the facepaint to symbolize Jack’s true identity being revealed can be found towards the end of the book. The author states “The chief was sitting there, naked to the waist, his face blocked out in white and red. The tribe lay in a semicircle before him”. (Golding 119) Now that the boys have their face paint on the are no longer Jack and his choir; they’re “the chief” and “the tribe.” The paint has actually managed to completely change their perception of who they are. Jacks belief that the face paint makes him a better version of himself is an idea that he managed to plant in everyone’s heads. Also, in chapter  Golding depicts Jack as completely out of control by stating,  “Viciously, with full intention, he hurled his spear at Ralph. The pint tore the skin and flesh over Ralph’s ribs, then sheared off and fell in the water. Ralph stumbled, feeling not pain but panic, and the tribe, screaming now like the chief, began to advance.” This is important because it shows that Jack has truly lost his humanity and has shown his true conscienceless, cruel identity. It has gotten to the point of attacking a boy he respected as his leader and friend in the beginning. Jacks identity has entirely grown primitive due to the face paint. Lastly, the facepaint can be seen to have entirely transformed Jacks sanity by the end of the book. The author shows this by stating, “The boys, their bodies streaked with colored clay, sharp sticks in their hands, were standing on the beach making no noise at all”. (Golding 219)This shows that Jacks ideological way of thinking has influenced everyone to believe that they can do whatever they want if no one knows who they are. He allowed the face paint to compel them to be someone new. When in all actuality they were just being the raw, unrefined versions of themselves. An important realization for the reader to make is that by the end of the novel Jack has successfully ascended over the others. Due to his influence everyone’s true selves have come out. So, Jacks use of the face paint is used to symbolize his gradual process in uncovering savagery. Jacks use of the face paint helps me to understand that everyone has a dark side within them, it just took a mask for Jack to realize that he had one too. Therefore, Golding shows savagery being a part of everyone’s identity through Jacks use of the mask of face paint. Three key points where Jack is affected by the face paint include the very beginning of the novel when he first discovers the clay and how different it makes him feel. Next, he can be seen spreading his newfound realization with the rest of the boys with excitement. Lastly, he can be seen as turning into an entirely different person at the end of the book. He is attacking and killing those close to him and taking command of the boys as a dictator. His character can be seen taking a complete three-sixty; he began as a temperamental choir boy and developed into a heartless chief. Thus showing that all of us have something savage within, it’s what makes us fight for what we believe is ours. Anyone is capable of stabbing, shooting, or murdering someone in if the situation properly presented itself.