Human nature is a great mystery. Parents and society influence a child’s character from the first moment of life, but still no one can be sure what kind of person he or she will become. Such phrases as “I do not know why I have done it!” or “I did not mean that!” are common in the routine life. Human nature has both good and evil sides, which one of them will become dominant in unexpected circumstances cannot be foreseen. An excellent pupil may pass by, and a hooligan may risk a life to save a kitten. It is a titanic labor to preserve human dignity in an unusual, dangerous situation, to make a choice between right but challenging and wrong but simple. A bright example of such choice can be observed in the Peter Brook’s movie “Lord of the Flies” based on the novel by William Golding.
The plot of the movie unfolds a story about British plane that got shot amidst war evacuation. A bunch of pupils got on an isolated island and had to find ways to survive. The peculiar thing is that the island had plenty of food and water so it seemed that boys would cope with the occurred problems. They were of different ages, the oldest of 12. It turned out that the presence of the youngest would help elder boys to feel more responsible and conscious to hold out until their rescue. At the beginning, they were trying to organize the life properly. They elected the leader by voting, tried to make rules to obey, and built tents to have a shelter. The boys even found the symbol of the leadership. It was a conch that served as the horn and a sign of order, when someone was holding it, he had a right to talk. Then the boys decided to make up a huge fire, so that its smoke could give a sign to save them. They even preserved a ceremony of guard change near that fire. Soon they faced the most dangerous enemy, which was their hidden world of individuality. The situation of being isolated from the society with grown-ups and strict rules of behavior, freedom of choice, and absence of control gradually revealed the darkest sides of their souls.
From the beginning, Ralph, a kind-hearted and smart boy, who was elected as a leader, had an adversary, a courageous but daring and arrogant Jack. He was a leader of a choir and after some time decided to live his own rules. He tried to kill a pig but failed. He repeated his attempt several times accompanied by several fellows. The second attempt was successful. They killed a pig. At the first sight, everything seemed quite logical. Boys were tired of eating fruits and demanded meat. This murder became the crucial moment. The boys tasted blood and the flavor of victory. A new company, hunters with Jack as their leader, split a fragile island society. They started to lead a free life that was becoming more and more savage and barbaric. More and more boys wished to join Jack’s group. He promised plenty of food and protection from the beast. Boys began to believe that it was possible to live on the island. Satisfaction of the primitive needs became primal for most of the boys. Even a saving fire was forgotten. Moreover, the idea of rescue was forgotten as well. The boys began to look and behave as a primeval tribe with the combat coloring and sharpened sticks. They seemed to forget who they had been before they got to the island. One of the key and problematic topics of this movie is a concept of deindividuation.
Deindividuation is defined as a process when a person becomes absorbed in a group culture that forsakes individual choice and responsibility (Psychology-Dictionary, 2012). This state is achieved when a person loses self-awareness and self-regulation by becoming anonymous and aware of the fact that he or she will not be punished for the antisocial behavior. The group mind loses rational and intellectual parts that restrain an individual from extreme behavior. Aggressive, primitive emotions spread without control and become primary considering person’s behavior (Li, 2010). An individual loses the understanding of good and evil and neglects social rules. A person becomes a part of the mob and takes for granted everything the company does. Even a murder may become a normal act as aggressive emotions rule the behavior.
Deindivuation in the company of isolated boys reached its peak. They became a tribe with their wild dances and singing and even own cult with god, the mysterious beast. The head of a murdered pig at stick was their idol. They preferred not to ask but take, not to speak but hit. Jack acted as a merciless tyrant, and so did his company. Even when they accidentally killed Simon, they did not stop. Then they organized a chase to kill Ralph. No borders were left for these bloodthirsty savages. As there were no restraining forces, kids felt free to do whatever their dark side craved for. Only Simon, Piggy, and Ralph were strong enough to resist this moral degradation. Since they did not fit the system, the rest of the boys rejected them and condemned to death.
This story shows that a human being is prone to violence. It is extremely hard to resist the temptation to follow the crowd, where one does not need to be responsible. Still to avoid chaos, a common sense and compassion should always direct the behavior of each member of the society.