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Sigmund Freud, born in 1856, was an Austrian neurologist and physiologist. Today, Freud is known as “one of the most influential and authoritative thinkers of the twentieth century”(Berger). Throughout his lifetime, which had ended in September of 1939, Freud had many theories, however, his most well known as the “psychoanalytic theory of personality development,” which argued that the human psyche is divided into three parts: the id, the ego, and the superego. In the novel Lord of the Flies, many readers believed that the author, William Goldberg, applied Freud’s theory to the characters in the book. Based off of Sigmund Freud’s “psychoanalytic theory of personality development,” Jack Merridew was the id in the story, while Piggy was the superego, and Ralph was the ego.
According to Freud’s theory, the id relies directly on instinct as they go through life, ignoring the logistics of reality and the possible consequences. Freud gives an example of an id by comparing it to an infant, who often demands immediate satisfaction, and will react poorly if their needs are not immediately fulfilled. In Lord of the Flies, Jack Merridew is a representation of how a newborn child with power and motor skills could act.
When Jack and his hunters leave to hunt for pig and neglected his fireside duties, there is a connection with Freud’s theory. Jack did what would give him direct pleasure, which was, at the time, to hunt. However, because of Jack’s needs, the fire had been allowed to go out and the boys missed one of their only opportunities of rescue, as a ship traveled by the island, but there was no signal smoke. This event highlights Jack’s connections to the id because he had no consideration or thought of what the outcome would be if he was constantly caught up in his own needs.
Another time when Jack’s actions relate to Freud’s theory is when the boys are having an assembly to discuss the best sightings. During the assembly, Jack attempts to take Ralph’s power away by causing a disturbance and questioning Ralph’s leadership in front of the whole group. Once again breaking the rules of the conch, Jack shouts, “And you shut up! Who are you, anyway? Sitting there telling people what to do. You can’t hunt, you can’t sing—”(Golding 91). Clearly, Jack is challenging Ralph’s authority in an attempt to shift it to himself, ignoring the fact that Ralph is a better leader. Jack’s overwhelming need for power convinces him that the position of the leader should be his.
Before Ralph, Roger, and Jack start their climb up the mountain to see the beast, Ralph says something that highlights Jack’s connections to the id throughout the whole book. While Ralph was challenging Jack, the text reads, “For the first time since he had first known Jack, Ralph could feel him hesitate”(Goldberg 122). This quote backs up the fact that for the most part, Jack had gone through his days on the island acting on instinct without a single hesitation. It was only in this moment of time that Ralph could sense any sort of hesitation from Jack, and it would be the only time.