Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Lord of Flies

For human civilization to function effectively society must have rules, and these must be obeyed” Discuss this statement in relation to ‘Lord Of the Flies’ and identify how society can learn from events that took place in the novel. What is the message that this book brings to society?

Our world is run by laws, which are expected to be followed, understood and respected. Rules are a statement of what is allowed, they keep order in our homes, towns, and countries. We discover while reading “Lord Of The Flies” what would occur if all laws and the normal order of our lives were removed. The characters find themselves in a struggle against the usual impulse to obey rules. They begin to rebel against civilization and revert back to their violent ancestry.

Not only are rules needed to keep order in our society; they also govern what we do and where we stand. We know what to do when we have rules; it is a human trait to feel lost without rules. As the characters in “ Lord of the Flies” discovered, we are so used to having rules applied upon us. So when they are taken away, we are unsure of how to react. Piggy found the need for rules early in the text. “ How can you expect to be rescued if you don’t put first things first and act proper”? He found the need for rules, and although the boys found joy in not having to attend school. The idea of no rules and no limits frightened them.

Piggy represents order and democracy in a world (the world of “Lord of the Flies”) chaos and anarchy. He was the one who suggested the use of rules to begin with. Throughout the novel Piggy found the need to constantly be given rules, and always found the need to stick by them. Piggy dies for what he believed in, leaving his dying statement to be “ Which is better-to have rules and agree, or to hunt and kill?” Piggy was constantly reverting back to “ My Aunt this.. And my aunt that” he clung to civilization with sheer desperation. He, unlike the majority of the boys, understood the necessity for law and order.

William Golding wrote “Lord of the Flies” to produce an understanding on how political systems (i.e. the government) cannot rule society without taking into consideration the faults of human nature. He attempted to show this by giving each character a “role” to play. Showing that without rules, humans will run ramped and revert back to what they were in the beginning. Without rules, humans will have no boundaries to abide by making them show their animal like qualities. Rules and order are what separates us from animals. If regulations are removed humans will show their natural qualities, as Golding is trying to prove in “Lord of the Flies”

Anarchy defeats order in many situations that occur throughout “ Lord of the Flies”. The killing of Simon, Piggy, the hunting of the pigs, the stealing of Piggy’s glasses. Rules in a “normal world” are set against such acts, but the human instinct made these such events possible. Humans will always act upon instinct and their anarchical demands will always win over authority and laws. The traits of human kind can never be controlled.

Rules are however needed in our society to keep law and order, although we should all keep in touch with the instinct inside of us that can never be controlled. We are all human and inside all of us are emotions that are as real as the ones rules allow us to portray. Just like the characters in “Lord of the Flies” we would act in such a way when all rules are removed. I conclude that rules are need in our society to up stand the evil side of human nature and that when these rules are removed all humans will revert to their darker and more primitive side.

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Animal Farm

In the novel Animal Farm, by George Orwell, the animals of Manor Farm decide they have had enough from they’re cruel human owner, Mr. Jones. So they all agreed to think up a plan to overthrow Mr. Jones and take over the farm once and for all. The animals carry out the plan successfully and live as a civil animal community for a good while. Unfortunately, the two leaders of the farm eventually turned on each other to get more power. This incident was similar to what happened back in 1980 during the Iran-Iraq War. The United States worked together with Iraq by supplying Iraq with weapons to fight a country they both wanted to loose power. Unfortunately, after the war, Iraq also turned on us. These two incidents were very similar.

In the novel Animal Farm the animals worked together to get they’re cruel owner out of power. Mr. Jones, the animal’s owner, was treating the animals cruelly. So, the animals decided that they needed to put Mr. Jones out of power so they could live in they’re own utopian world. They took over the farm and they all vowed they would perfect comrades and they wouldn’t adapt to any human customs including drinking, using money, and relying on any type of trade to survive. Then they signify the new revolution of they farm, the animals write they’re modo on the side of they old farmhouse. It stated, “4 legs good, 2 legs bad”. The animal’s so called utopian society looked as though it was going great. Although, slowly, the animals started to adapt more and more like the humans and before any one knew it, the bosses of animal farm, Napoleon and Snowball, began to take advantage of they’re power and almost became one of the humans. Once the two pigs realized they’re power, they both began to try to get one step in front of the other. Before anyone knew it, the pigs were turned on each other over a huge battle of power. So enough, Napoleon ended up winning and kicked Snowball off the farm. This incident was very similar to what happened back in 1980 during the Iran-Iraq War.

The novel Animal Farm relates very closely to the Iran-Iraq War. During the Iran-Iraq War, the Iraqi government and the Iranian government very fighting over land. The war was lasting a long time and was quite large. Both sides had equal power and were basically at a stalemate. Until, the Iranian army started to attack the Iraqi oil shipments. Then the United States decided to intervene to protect they’re supply of oil. So, just like the animals in the novel, the United States and the Iraqi government teamed up for a common cause. The U.S. supplied the Iraqi government with weapons to fight the war and win it. Then after the Iraqi government won the war, they too turned on the U.S. That incident was very similar to what happened in the novel Animal Farm.

These two incidents had many similarities. One of the biggest similarities was how in both novels two people worked together and then turned on each other. In the novel Animal Farm, the two bosses of the farm, Napoleon and Snowball, both fight to get the farm for themselves. Then, out of greed, they fought each other to get sole power of the farm. Basically, they worked together and after they got done what they needed to be done, they turned on each other. Almost the same incident occurred between the United States and Iraq during the 1980’s after the Iran-Iraq War. The United States and Iraq fought together to get something they both wanted and once that was accomplished, they went back to enemy’s. Those two incidents were extremely similar.

The novel Animal Farm, by George Orwell, relates very closely to the Iran-Iraq War. In the novel, the animals of Manor Farm join forces together as comrades to protect the common wealth of all the animals on Manor Farm from Mr. Jones. During the Iran-Iraq War, the U.S. and Iraq teamed up to fight thee Iranians to protect they’re land and oil supply. There were many similarities. One of them was that they both involved joining together to fight for a common cause. Another similarity was that they both involved a war for power and overthrowing one’s ally. Those were just a few similarities between the novel Animal Farm and the Iran-Iraq War.

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Angela's Ashes

The speaker of Angela's Ashes is Frank McCourt. He is a grown man reflecting on his "miserable Irish Catholic childhood." As a child, he was very inquisitive; driven by the desire to learn something new about life and about himself, which often left him confused. Throughout the book, the reader is brought into this young boy's mind, into his heart, his thoughts and his rollercoaster of feelings, as he tries to survive his childhood full of sickness, poverty, hunger, hardship and death. The voice of Frank shows the immaturity of him during his childhood. That juvenile voice magnified the intensity of the book and grabs a hold of the readers attention.

Frank McCourt, it seems, intended to write this book for anyone who has lived, or is living a hard childhood. This audience could relate with what he went through. I think Frank is trying to teach that the struggles that you go through only make you stronger when you have to face the world. He used the lessons that he learned as a child and all of those adversities as fuel to be successful. I think he also wanted to show that if you set your mind to something you can achieve it. Frank set his mind to go to America and he achieved his goal. Frank wrote the book to help people cope with their childhood and teach them how to use their pressures and misfortunes as their pedestal to success.

During the time period of this biography, the world was dealing with the effects of World War 1. Some countries had huge war debts which effected their economy and led some European countries to rely on America for loans and investments. In 1929, the new stock market crashed. Because of the crash, America reduced foreign trade and stopped loans to foreign countries. Farms failed and factories all over the world closed, which caused milions of people to be unemployed worldwide. For these reasons, it was hard for Frank's father to get a job. When he left America thinking it would be for the better, he was wrong because it was worse in other countries. In the United States, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created a program called the new Deal that created millions of jobs.

The effects of World War I led to Fascism and Dictatorships in some countries. In Germany the nazis took over all aspects of the country. In 1933, Adolf Hitler was elected as the leader of Germany. He invaded Poland in 1939 and in that same year Britain and France declared war on Germany; World War II. During the war Germany attacked many countries and conquered them. Some of the countries were Denmark, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. The war also brought hardship to certain groups of people. The Holocaust put many Jews, Gypsies, communists, homosexuals, handicapped, and Jehovah's Witnesses into concentration camps where they were forced to do harsh labor or they were killed; both women and children. In the book Frank expressed how sad he was about the way children were killed. The war, however, was not all bad. It provided many jobs to people worldwide, whether they joined the army, (either for the English or for Germany), or you worked in the factories making bombs. People in the book even praised Hitler for creating the war so that men could have a chance to earn money for their families. Frank's father did not go and work in the factory in England until after the United States entered the war. They entered the war in 1941 after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7th of that year.

In Ireland many people disliked Frank's father because he was from the north. That is because at the time that southern Ireland was trying to gain its independence from England, northern ireland didn't want to. Northern Ireland was Protestant and approved of the Act of Union, which joined Great Britain and Ireland to the United Kingdom. Southern Ireland, however, was Catholic and supported home rule. This led to fighting but a truce was made in 1921 that made Southern Ireland a free state. It wasn't until 1949 that Ireland was declared a republic as a whole.

Many times in the book Frank McCourt related life to death. One time in the book he said "....... and you fall asleep and dream about the pig standing in the crib at the Redemptorist church crying because he and the Baby Jesus and Cuchulain all have to grow up and die." Another time is when he said "The master says it's a glorious thing to die for the Faith and Dad says it's a glorious thing to die for Ireland and I wonder if there's anyone in the world who would like us to live.". Both of these phrases are effective because they reflect how much his childhood was effected by death. From the dog killed by the car, to the death of his two brothers and his sister, to the death of his first love,Theresa, Frank's childhood was surrounded by death which caused him to relate life to death. In these phrases, Frank McCourt, made them come from the voice of a child, which led the reader to feel sorry for him because of how distorted and immature his thinking was.

This memoir, for me, was wonderful. The thought-provoking techniques mixed with the writer's adventurous childhood created an inspiring and funny piece of art. I could connect with the many predicaments that he found himself in and the feelings of wanting to grow up and take care of his family. I can also relate to how he was not taken seriously, whether it was because of his age or because of his social status, and the feeling of helplessness that resulted. This book sparked many emotions in me as I read it and the lessons that I learned are lessons that will stay in me for a long time.

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About A Boy

The novel I have selected for this exploration study assignment is About A Boy by Nick Hornby. There are several complex characters in this novel worthy character exploration. As I was most fascinated by the character development of Marcus throughout the novel, I have chosen to further explore his character. My exploration will focus on the influence Fiona, Will and Ellie have had on Marcus’ character development.

At the beginning of this novel Marcus is portrayed as a misfit with very low self-esteem, and lacking in self-confidence. Marcus considers himself to be weird because his mother Fiona is weird. Although Marcus argues with Fiona when he has a difference of opinion, he loses every argument. As Fiona is a “hippie” from the seventies she insists that Marcus has long shiny hair, and that he wears clothing that is out of style. Marcus is deprived by his mother from listening to current popular music, and is forced to listen to Joni Mitchell. Since Fiona is a vegetarian Marcus must likewise be a vegetarian. Marcus sings for his mother to make her happy, but occasionally forgets himself and sings out loud in public places such as his classroom. It is evident that the influence Fiona is having on Marcus is causing him to be ridiculed and taunted by his peers at school. Marcus has a very difficult time making friends in his new school, as would be friends also get targeted for similar treatment. Prier to meeting Will, Fiona is the only meaningful person in Marcus’ life. His love for his mother, his fear of losing her, and his desire for making her happy are more important to Marcus, than his own well being. Two traumatic events occur on the day that Marcus first meets Will, which profoundly influence his character development. When Marcus accidentally kills a duck at the park, Will comes to his rescue and deliberately lies to the attendant in order to protect Marcus. Marcus is very disturbed by this event but is very impressed by the fact that Will protected him. When Marcus returns from the park with Will and Suzzie he finds his mother unconscious from a deliberate overdose of pills. Fiona recovers from the suicide attempt but Marcus unfortunately stumbles on her suicide note prior to her return from the hospital. The attempted suicide and reading the suicide note have a devastating effect on Marcus’ character. The fear of losing his mother to the suicide haunts Marcus throughout the novel. He especially worries about Fiona when she is acting depressed or is alone at home.
Marcus arranges for Will to take his mother and him out for dinner with the hope that Will and Fiona will develop a relationship. He rationalizes that Will might make his mother happy, and if his mother is happy she will not commit suicide. It soon becomes obvious to Marcus that Will has no romantic interest in Fiona. A major turning point in Marcus’ character development occurs when he decides to befriend Will. He finally makes a decision exclusively for his own benefit.

Marcus shows great determination in pursuing his friendship with Will. He follows Will home from a shopping centre to determine where he lives. From his very visit to Will’s flat, Marcus exhibits great self-confidence. He has no qualms when he accuses Will of not having a child. Marcus and Will soon develop a close relationship that enriches both of their characters.
Will has a remarkable positive effect on Marcus’ character development. 0n one occasion Will chases away several teenagers that are victimizing Marcus at Will’s door. Because of this incident Marcus finally tells Will of his horrible experience at school, as well as his personal concerns. Will teaches Marcus the importance of becoming “invisible” by “fitting in.” Marcus learns from Will that Joni Mitchell is no longer popular, and that Nirvana is “cool.” Will also teaches Marcus the importance of fashion and appropriate hairstyle, and buys Marcus a new pair of sneakers. By having Will as a friend, Marcus now has someone to help him with his concerns. Will also teaches Marcus the importance of assertiveness, and independent thinking. This becomes evident when Marcus challenges his mother on why he must be a vegetarian. When Marcus confesses to his mother that the sneakers, which were stolen from him, had been purchased by Will she learns the truth of his relationship with Will. Marcus is assertive in defending Will and tells his mother that Will understands him better than she does. Marcus finally wins an argument with Fiona when he tells her that he needs a father. Despite his mothers concerns Marcus continues to visit Will.

When Marcus is called into Mrs. Morrison’s office in regard to the stolen sneakers, she advises him “I mean I’m sure you’ve thought of this, but couldn’t you just try keeping out of the way?” Marcus replies, “I’m finished with you” and walks out of the office. When Mr. Patel gives Marcus the same advice earlier in the novel Marcus listens passively. Marcus is now a stronger person, and is no longer willing to take the blame for the abusive actions of others.
When Will spends Christmas with Fiona and Marcus, he encounters a rude reception from Suzzie. As Will is about to leave Marcus proclaims that Will is his friend, and he wants him to stay. Marcus trivializes Will’s previous indiscretions by stating “All he did was make up a kid for a couple of weeks.” Marcus shows great maturity when he feigns enthusiasm while he opens up the “boring” gifts his mother gave him.

Marcus demonstrates his loyalty to Will when he agrees to pretend to be Will’s son in order for Will to impress Rachel. He realizes this is a bad idea, but he cannot refuse his best friend’s request. Will has a negative impact on Marcus’ character development. At Rachel’s place Marcus is verbally assaulted by Rachel’s son Ali. Marcus shows excellent judgment by walking away from Ali and not participating in the lunacy.

Marcus first meets Ellie outside of Mrs. Morrisons’ office. Although Ellie is rude to Marcus she warms up to him quickly and soon becomes his friend. Ellie is a very rebellious girl who bullies and intimidates people to have her way. She is also a huge fan of Kurt Cobain. Marcus feels a new sense of confidence when he is with Ellie as children are afraid to harass him.

On the day that Kurt Cobain attempts suicide Marcus is reminded of his mother’s suicide attempt and begins to cry in Ellie’s presence. It is evident how the fear of his mother committing suicide continues to worry him.

Although Ellie is constantly getting into trouble, Marcus can initially only see her positive attributes. Marcus shows disrespect for his mother when he invites Ellie to travel with him to visit his father. Upon learning of Kurt Cobain’s death, Ellie goes hysterical, becomes drunk, and smashes the window of a music store. Although Marcus is three years younger than Ellie he demonstrates great maturity in trying to console Ellie, and attempts to stop her from drinking. When Ellie commits vandalism, Marcus stays near her and does not consider running away. Once again his loyalty to a friend is witnessed. At the police station Marcus vents his anger by telling Lindsey to shut up and letting his father what a useless father he is. The rudeness of his comments maybe attributed to the negative effect Ellie has had on Marcus’ father.

Marcus comes to the realization that Ellie is a dangerous person to associate with away from school, and is not right for him as a girlfriend. Ellie’s behaviour did not matter much in school because “school was full of walls and rules, and she could bounce off them, but out in the world where there was no walls and rules she was crazy. She could blow up in his face anytime.”

At the conclusion of this novel Marcus’ character has been completely transformed. Marcus’ haircuts and his style of dressing become like everyone else, and he is more circumspect when he speaks. Marcus credits his friendships with Will and Ellie for helping him carry the “loads of life.” He compares these friendships to a human pyramid, “It doesn’t really matter who they are, does it, as long as they’re there and you don’t let them get away without finding someone else.” Marcus often stated, “two is not enough.” Through their new friendships both Marcus and Fiona appear to be well adjusted for the moment.

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A Clockwork Orange

The reader is brought through a night with Alex and his gang. The fifteen year-old was set up by his Droogs and was sent to the state penitentiary, with a new identity - -6655321. Alex is chosen by the government to participate in a new experiment that is supposed to cure him of all his evil. He is given injections of a drug and forced to see films of rapes and murders, which when mixed with the drug gives him feeling if anxiety and nausea. The treatment is supposed to make him associate violence with the panicked feelings. After he is released, he goes back to the home of one of his victims because he is feeling sorry about what he did. The victim is against the new treatment and says it robs the patient the freedom of choice and moral decision, which is depriving him of being a human at all, or a clockwork orange. I think it is brainwashing the patient and forcing them to act a certain way. Alex, in time, attempts suicide and the state gives him more therapy. I think the least chapter of the book shows Alex’s awareness that he is growing up and he realizes he wants a wife and son of his own. Burgess is showing that people can change.

Anthony Burgess wrote A Clockwork Orange to show the importance of one’s own moral choices. The main character, Alex, is a violent thief who has no doubts about being cruel to others. There are many different scenes that are quite disturbing and violent. While reading the book, I got caught up in these actions of Alex and his “Droogs” (what he calls the others in his gang) instead of grasping the real meaning of the book. Burgess sets his book in a time where teenagers ruled the night, forcing real people to stay in their locked houses, and where teenagers can went to “milk bars” and be served milk laced with drugs. I believe the world that Burgess created in the book is to exaggerate the problems of the society by showing the absurdity of it. The society wants everyone to be “perfect” and act a certain way, where in real life I think it is all about making your own decisions.

Burgess’ definition of moral freedom is the ability to do both good and evil. He says it is inhuman to be just good or just evil, but a mixture both. I feel the important thing is one individual’s choice to think for themselves and decide what is good and evil. This is one’s moral choice. Evil has to exist along with good in order for there to be an ethical choice. You need to be able to distinguish between the two to make a choice. I do not think Alex is either good or bad, even after his treatment where the government tries to make him completely good. The government was trying to make him a clockwork orange by only allowing him to do good things and not allowing him to have the choice to do wrong. I suppose Burgess was opposed to the treatment because he believes it to be unethical, even though he was a victim of some one like Alex. His wife was raped and died due to an intruder in Burgess’ home.

Alex ridicules books and education, and gives no regret to his violent acts. I sense he does not steal and kill for money, but for his own pleasure. He does not treat his friends as equals because he is only satisfied when he is in complete control. Throughout the book Alex was depicted as the bad element in society. From the way Burgess depicts the society, I think Alex is the kind of kid the citizens would like to ignore or eliminate. He is viewed as merciless and the treatment is welcomed by society even if it is against Alex’s freedom of choice and identity as a human. The well being of the society as whole is put ahead of individual rights of one individual.

I think the purpose of this novel is to show the conflict of destiny verses free will. Alex lived a life of horror and crime and when he is presented with a chance to change he does on his own will. Each section begins with the phrase “what’s it going to be then, eh?” This shows the repetitiveness of Alex’s life and the vicious circle the society has put him in. In the last chapter he says he wants to find a wife and have a child. I see him growing up and becoming morally responsible when the book ends with “That’s what it’s going to be then, brothers, as I come to the end of this tale.” He is no longer a clockwork orange. Burgess magnified how the government was threatening to take away people’s essential choice to decide. His message is saying it is better to have the choice to do bad then be forced to do good. I agree with the author. If one could not think for themselves, then it would be like everyone is identical robots all controlled by one person, not being able to do what one desires.

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