Can you relate the attitude of Samneric in "Lord of the Flies" to the real world situation and give the examples of that situation?Can you relate the attitude of Samneric in "Lord of the...

Can you relate the attitude of Samneric in "Lord of the Flies" to the real world situation and give the examples of that situation?

Can you relate the attitude of Samneric in "Lord of the Flies" to the real world situation and give the examples of that situation?

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sullymonster's profile pic

sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The real world situation at the time of the publication of this novel would have been referring to the Cold War and the threat of nuclear proliferation and destruction.  After the alliances of WWII broke up and the USSR began to assert itself a world power, much of the world was dealing with a Communist vs. Everyone Else type of attitude.  In the United States alone, this led to the McCarthy-led committee hearings in the US Senate.  McCarthy was trying to "weed out" the communist threat in our own country.  However, what he was really doing was creating a culture of hysteria, where people were not only terrified of the "Reds", but they were even more terrified for their own reputation because they didn't want to be falsely accused.  This hysteria led to emotionally based reactions - an overflowing of patriotism, irrational fear and discrimation, etc.

Samneric represent this sort of reaction.  When left alone on the hill to watch the fire, they fall asleep and the fire burns out.  They wake, terrified, because they do not want to be accused of being irresponsible.  Then, they see the dead pilot, and in their terror, overact and assume it is "The Beast".  They rush in fear back to the group to tell their story.  However, while they do believe they have seen a beast, they are also glad to have a scary story to tell, because it takes the guilt off of them for letting the fire go out.

eabettencourt's profile pic

eabettencourt | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted on

I'm not sure what "real world situation" you are referring to, but I've always seen Samneric as an extention of the loss of identity motif I believe Golding threads throughout the novel.  One of his key points is that, without civilization, we lose our identity, and, when forced to find a new one, we instinctively turn to our inherent savagery.  One symbol of this is Jack's mask, which allows him to lose his former identity.  Another is Samneric - the embodiment of loss of individual identity since they don't even count as one person on the island.

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