How Do a Lack of Authority and Mob Mentality Affect Children's Morality? Essay

1298 WordsSep 6, 20146 Pages
Mob Mentality and the Beginning of Barbarism If children are plants, it is essential that they have roots to anchor and support the plant. Generally, these roots are supplied in the form of loving and caring parents, but what happens if parents are not present in a child's life? Do the children instantly become uprooted and blown away? Do the children find alternative roots to provide stability? William Golding, an English novelist, poet and playwright, explored the consequences of a lack of authority in the lives of children in his award-winning book, Lord of the Flies. In his novel, a group of British schoolboys, all under the age of thirteen, were stranded on a deserted island without any parents or adults whatsoever. Within the span of a few weeks, the group of boys slowly descended into a state of anarchy, chaos, and eventually extreme savagery. The lack of an authority figure ended up equating to the lack of sensibility, common sense, and even morals during collective group actions, often as a mob. A semblance of authority was somewhat provided by twelve year-old Ralph, a logical, sensible leader, and Jack, a fun-loving hunter who was adept at connecting with the boys. Sigmund Freud, an Austrian psychologist, extensively studied mob mentality in his analysis of Gustave LeBon's Description of the Group Mind. Freud provides a number of explanations to the highly insensitive and cruel actions of the children’s mob of Lord of the Flies. A lack of authority and mob mentality have many more connections than may appear at first glance. When children lack authority, their motives can be easily shaped and altered under the influence of a mob; personal inhibitions disappear, mob mentality becomes contagious and the desire to act viciously and savagely emerges. During his first pig hunt, Ralph found himself with the capability to act in ways and perform actions

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