Lordof the Flies
Themovie, Lordof the flies,is one of the works with a variety of sociological concepts. Thestory revolves around young military school cadets stranded on anisland after their aircraft crash lands in an area near the sea. Theisland is inhabited and surviving in this place was challenging.Since they are young, organizing themselves in a manner that wouldinstill social order was difficult. The instilling of social orderamong members of a society or group is discussed in chapter five andsix of the sociology text.
Thefirst concept that one immediately identifies in the movie isdeviance. Deviance is a state of acting contrary to the establishednorms or standards within a community or groups of people. Due to achange of environment, it is expected that the way of life on theisland will be entirely different from the life the boys are used to,both at home and at school.
Theyouths are likely to deviate from the usual ways of life and norms.Immediately they stepped on the island, the demand for order withinthe group is seen. A conch picked by Piggy on the sand becomes asymbol for giving the right to speak and be heard. It symbolizes thefreedom of speech within the society (Henslin 53). Someone whoviolates the norm would be deviant. At the same time, Ralph calls onthe colleague to elect a leader who will help them in establishingways of their survival until they are rescued by a passing aircraft.A distinguished leader, who is likely to be productive, is elected bythe group members. However, a defiant leader, Jack, would not want tobe under the leadership of Ralph.
Infact, killing became so comfortable once they started hunting, acrime they had never committed in their life. They have to find newmeans of getting food to sustain them in the jungle. To do this, theytry to make spears that would facilitate their hunting operation.
Inorder to survive on the island, the group must find ways to monitortheir behaviors. Those who go against the set rules are likely to betermed evil. Indeed, the group becomes divided when both Jack andRalph want to be the leaders of the group. Ralph decides to walk awaybecause he cannot withstand the characters of his counterpart, Jack.Both of them depart with some members who are loyal to them. Within agroup, when norms are violated, some forms of punishment are imposed.In the movie, we see the killing of fellow boys who deviate fromJack’s group. In fact, they even burn the forest to try and killRalph who was on the run.
Anotherconcept that is shown in the movie is the group behavior withinsocieties. The two types of groups, i.e. in-group and out-group aredemonstrated by the two divisions, one led by Jack and the otherfront-run by Ralph. The divisions always amount to the rivalrybetween the groups.
In-groupsalways favor their members and do not consider associates of othergroups even if they are suffering. It results in the division ofsociety into "we" and "them." For example, whenPiggy and Ralph travel to Jack`s camp to find glasses (used to makefire) that had been stolen by Jack`s group, they realize the team ishostile and instead of reconciling, they are driven away, in theprocess Piggy is killed. It demonstrates that Jack`s group is aninward group, a group that only cares about themselves (Henslin 78).Although to an outsider, the behavior of the group is viewed asvices. An in-group member would see their behavior as vices. Thetheory was developed by sociologist Robert Merton to differentiatethe views of in-group and out-group members towards each other.
Anotherkind of group demonstrated by the movie is the reference group. It isa type of group that is used as a basis for evaluating a group thatone belongs. It is the usual group. Behaviors and way of life in thegroup are those that are admired or liked by a member or a group. Atone point Sam and Erick decided to back the leadership of Ralph andmoved away with him. However, a point reached when the two wereseemingly having an interest in being part of the group led by Jack.An intense internal conflict developed as to which group would bettersuit them. They make the final decision of joining Jack and the restof the team members. They decide to leave Ralph and Piggy alone inthe jungle to join Jack’s group.
Ingroups, the administration is essential for their survival. For thesurvival of the organization, communication is critical. Alongsidecommunication are the division of labor, establishment of rules, andimpersonality, to mention just a few (Henslin, 86). Everyone in thegroup must have a duty to perform. In the movie, we see an electionthat results in Ralph being the head. His leadership does not becomeefficient because Jack wants to control the entire group, typical ofa bureaucratic administration whereby officially elected members donot control much of the decision. However, at one point we see a formof dysfunctional bureaucracy when communication cannot be guaranteedbetween the members. Jack feels like an alienated bureaucrat becausehe feels trapped in the duty of ensuring that the fire is lit so thatpassing aircraft can come to their rescue. He does not like the workand one day he decides to take everyone in the jungle for huntingleaving no one to watch the fire. As such, an aircraft passes, butthey cannot be saved because they cannot be identified this formsthe beginning of the fight between him and Ralph leading toseparation.
Groupdynamics was very necessary for the survival of the boys on theisland. Group dynamics refers to the influence a group has on anindividual or the way in which an individual affects a team. Itfocuses on leadership, decision making, group size, and conformity.When more members join a group, a more formal structure isestablished. The goals can then be easy to achieve when members worktogether. A legal structure involves the definition of leaders whocan assume the positions of secretary, president, and treasurer. Thearrangement can facilitate the survival for some period.
Inthe movie, immediately the group steps on the island, Ralph arrangesa meeting with the fellow cadets to discuss their survivalpredicament. One thing that comes out is that they need a leader andsome sets of rules. A leader will be able to influence the decisionof the team. They agree to elect a forerunner democratically. It isRalph who becomes the Democratic head of the group. Later, we see anauthoritarian leader, Jack whose primary goal is to overthrow Ralphfrom the top position. He is so authoritative that he even ends upkilling his fellows within the jungle without no valid reason. Ralph,on the other hand, is democratic and guided by the principle ofjustice.
Anotherconcept under group dynamics is the group influence. The need forpeople to belong to a particular group can be determined by the powerof their leaders. Jack being a dynamic leader controls the behaviorof his team members. The members become less afraid of beat membersof other groups to death. A habit of theft is also introduced by Jackwhen he decides to steal a knife from Piggy. He does this with somemembers of the group therefore, creating an influence in theirbehaviors. The behavioral influence was studied by Dr. StanleyMilgram who wanted to find out why the real Nazi soldiersparticipated in the killing of Jews.
Thefinding was that it is often difficult for an individual in a team tochallenge the position of the leader. In the experiment, fear wasindicted on a person who was observing another person being subjectedto an electric shock for the wrong answer provided. It was asimulation in which the “learner” pretended to be shocked byelectricity each time he gave wrong answers, which were givenintentionally (Henslin 123). Later Irving Janis used the experimentto create a word known as “groupthink.” The group would onlythink in a manner that they are allowed to by their superiors. Thatis why the entire faction led by Jack found it routine to execute themembers of Ralph’s group. Otherwise, some of the members would haveseen it as a wrong and desist from the act.
Henslin,James M. Sociology: Core Concepts. Pearson Higher Ed, 2014.