English 9 - Lord of the Flies –Literary Themes through Character Traits/Descriptions
Lord of the Flies – Understanding Themes through Character Traits/Descriptions
Neurologist Sigmund Freud's most enduring and important idea was that the human psyche (personality) has more than one aspect. Freud (1923) saw the psyche structured into three parts, the id, ego and superego, all developing at different stages in our lives. These are not parts of the brain or physical traits; they are systems of thought and corresponding action.
Reflect on each of the main characters in the Lord of the Flies. Using the following descriptions of psychologist Sigmund Freud’s personality theory, determine which character represents the different levels of human psyche development:
Remember to find at least three quotes for each character that support your choice.
This aspect of the human psyche demands immediate satisfaction and desire for pleasure, when it is denied pleasure, the human experiences ‘displeasure’ or pain. The id is not affected by reality, logic or the everyday world.
It operates on the pleasure principle (Freud, 1920), which is the idea that every wishful impulse should be satisfied immediately, regardless of the consequences.
The id engages in primary process thinking, which is primitive illogical, irrational, and fantasy oriented.
Initially the ego is 'that part of the id which has been modified by the direct influence of the external world' (Freud 1923).
The ego develops in order to mediate between the unrealistic id and the external real world. It is the decision-making component of personality. Ideally the ego works by reason whereas the id is chaotic and totally unreasonable.
The ego operates according to the reality principle, working out realistic ways of satisfying the id’s demands, often compromising or postponing satisfaction to avoid negative consequences of society. The ego considers social realities and norms, etiquette and rules in deciding how to behave.
The ego has no concept of right or wrong; something is good simply if it achieves its end of satisfying without causing harm to itself or to the id. It engages in secondary process thinking, which is rational, realistic, and orientated towards problem solving.
The superego incorporates the values and morals of society learned from one's parents and others.
The superego's function is to control the id's impulses, especially those which society forbids. It also has the function of persuading the ego to turn to moralistic goals rather than simply realistic ones and to strive for perfection.
The superego consists of two systems: The conscience and the ideal self. The conscience can punish the ego through causing feelings of guilt. For example, if the ego gives in to the id's demands, the superego may make the person feel bad through guilt.
The ideal self (or ego-ideal) is an imaginary picture of how you ought to be, and represents career aspirations, how to treat other people, and how to behave as a member of society.