Monday, November 18, 2013

Lord of the Flies Symbolism

Everything in this book is a symbol.
But I suppose I cannot just leave my post like that.
I will name several and elaborate on them, but I cannot promise that they will be even sort of connected in any way, shape, or form.

Let's begin with the island. When they had first arrived, the island seemed peaceful, a place of refuge, but also very scary, since they felt they were not meant to be there. Then, as time went on, the island began to feel more like a home, as Ralph says. However, Ralph in particular still feels that the island is still trying to get rid of them, but is maybe biding its time. He describes it as a leviathan, which even when disregarding the connotations from Supernatural is still not usually going to be a good thing. He could have described the island as a peaceful giant, or a sleeping one, but he used the word "leviathan". So Ralph still thinks the island is out to get them. As for the other boys, it is not often that the story is told from their point of view, but one can assume that they feel the same way.

Next up for analysis is Ralph, since he was just mentioned. Ralph has also seen a bit of change, though he hasn't really changed all that much. He is less of the fair prince now than he was, since everyone used to look up to him. Now people sort of still look up to him, but he has fallen in a way, since he wants so badly to be like the adults, with his haircuts and soap and obsessing over his fingernails, and the other boys are starting to forget about their old life and settle in. Their lives are referred to as past and present. They are living on an island and they will probably all eat each other. But Ralph still wants to go back to England, which he still refers to as home, despite the fact that the island is also home. I don't know. I did say it probably wouldn't make sense.

Finally, we have Simon. Nope, there is nothing connecting this with the last paragraph. Simon is just my favorite. He's all adorable and helpful and British and I just really like him. He definitely represents religion, which we saw at its most obvious when Ralph pushes Simon away and returns to his own personal hell. Basically saying that it is absolutely certain that Simon is religion, because when you push religion away, you will go to a hell designed specifically for your punishment purposes. Simon also frequently sneaks away to meditate in his little room...with a rug in the center that is hit by a perfect beam of sunlight...and candles all around to make it all smell good like incense...yeah. So Simon most definitely represents a Christ figure or a Buddha figure. He is religion. Also, all the boys rejecting Simon as a person symbolizes their own gradual descent away from society and religion. They starting chanting about killing pigs, for goodness sake. They have definitely rejected religion, both literally and symbolically.

There we have it. Three random symbols plucked from the book and analyzed.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pressure Point - 1

This requires a bit of explanation. My idea here is that these people are part of a total immersion program to prepare them for the Navy. They go under for days at a time, always while they are asleep, so they never know when the program is happening or when it's real life, so that their reactions are genuine and they can feel what it's truly like but nobody gets hurt while they're still learning. This does take place within the simulation, though as you will see they do not know that. 
My head is reeling. I still cannot believe that this morning, after two days on the simple computer-game type simulators, they're already sending us on a real mission. They did warn us that sometimes their orders may seem erratic, but the whole point of me being here is that I need time to get used to all of this, to face my fears. I was fine for the first few hours, though the sinking feeling in my stomach would not leave. Probably because we actually were sinking. An announcement was made moments ago, saying we were approaching our final depth, and that was when it all came crashing down on my mind with the force of a tsunami.
I can hardly tell what's happening around me. I don't know what to focus on, the fact that I am trapped inside a cramped living space with the one person in the world that makes my head spin or the fact that said cramped space is thousands of miles underwater and though we should be getting crushed like a soda can we are alive, a feat nobody has bothered to explain to me beyond vague hand gestures and overcomplicated theorems that they clearly don't understand either beyond the fact that we are still breathing.
Well, some of us are.
I feel a hand on my shoulder. "Maya, are you okay?" I hear him say. The only one I could possible care about seeing me like this. I try to pull myself together. My hands are unconsciously clenching the tangle of pipes in front of me in a fruitless effort to steady myself. I close my eyes and take deep breaths.
"I'm fine," I finally say. He gives me another concerned look as alarms start to blare. He swears and runs off as orders start to come, expertly weaving between the machinery. I sigh and push my hair back.
Why do I have to act so stupid around him? I'm supposed to be a professional, I tell myself. Then I shake my head. Professionals don't have conversations with themselves. Orders are still blasting out of the speakers, and I have to wait for them to loop before I know what's going on and where I need to go.
All the orders coming through at once confuse me for a moment before I get ahold of my senses. I had had my little episode in the transmissions room, so I could hear everything at once, combined with varied responses from the respective frequencies.
"Pulse rate...signal steady."
"Radar tracking systems manned."
"QB, contact, echo ranging. Long scale. Still searching."
I sift through these reports to find my instructions. As soon as I hear all of the reports I am off and running, perhaps with a little less skill than he had. I hit my knee on several prominent pipes on my way and hiss with pain every time, but I keep moving.
At last, I reach my tracking system and slip on my comms unit. I catch the end of an order, and call, "Repeat."
"All compartments, control testing."
My station partner immediately responds. All of the pukes (aka the newbies like me) were paired with someone who had been a part of the training program for at least a year. "Battery forward, aye." Then he slips his comms unit off. I pretend to be intent on the control panel in front of me, but he taps me on the shoulder and I have no choice but to look at him. My breath, as well as any thought, is immediately swept away as his oceanic eyes meet mine, his stormy with concern. "Maya, what happened back there?"
I sigh and look back to the buttons and levers, hoping to distract myself with my work as I formulate a response. "Jordan, I..." I duck my head. I can't pretend to be preoccupied anymore. "I'm afraid of drowning. My biggest fear in the entire world is being trapped underwater and drowning."

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Nightmare of History

“’History,’ said Joyce’s Daedalus, ‘is a nightmare from which I am trying to wake.’ But we do not awake. Though we constantly make a heroic attempt to rise to a level ethically superior to nature, our own nature, again and again we suffer a fall – brought low by some outburst of madness because of the limiting defects inherent in our species” 
This quote is really sad. It says that even though people want to be able to wake up, to break free, to have free will essentially, they cannot because they as humans are flawed and no matter how hard they try they cannot do that. It is a bit like saying “anything is possible” and then having a friend say “give me wings now” because, given years of genetic engineering, it may one day be possible to give humans wings but when given a time limit there is a limited set of things you can accomplish. “Again and again we suffer a fall” is very poignant because, again, people may try to see history as a guide of what to do and what not to do, but the fact remains that we will continue to repeat ourselves and even with new ideas and new innovations we will continue to repeat history and make the same mistakes because that is simply human nature. Human nature is simultaneously holding us back and pushing us forwards; forcing us to race ahead while shackling our ankles. And in reality, whenever we attempt to use our nature to our advantage, our wings will ultimately melt and force us to the ground. We can dream, and we can hope, but we will never actually achieve. And that is the saddest thing about this quote.

However, there is always something to be said for defying the mundane and reaching higher. Another part of human nature, besides failure apparently, is the thirst for success, for competition, for being able to prove oneself against the hardships of the world. And if humans can continue to do that, maybe they can eventually break free of the nightmare of history. Maybe working together, they can wake up. Unfortunately, that is mostly wishful thinking, because a side effect of competing is making enemies. It is unavoidable. Some may say that it doesn’t have to be that way, but look around. At every single sporting event, there are the winners and the losers. In every aspect of life, there are people that others love to hate and hate to love and every shade of feeling in between. But, essentially, since humans remain the same over the millennia, it stands to reason that the stories about them would repeat themselves as well as the traits that survive.