25 March 2019
The Loss of a Leader
From Lord of the Flies by William Golding, we learn about a group of boys that are stuck on an island with no way off. They create their own rules, establish who’s in charge of what, and try to make it by. Over time their systemic community falls apart, a battle for leadership happens, and then total chaos breaks out. Similar to the rebellion of Fidel Castro and the Cuban government, Jack’s rebellion in the book created an opportunity for a new beginning within the group.
Throughout the story, the author brings in a character called “the beast”. The younger kids claim to see it first, and then the older kids see it too. After Jack offered a solution to their “beast” problem, Ralph disregarded his suggestion twice. That angered Jack, who called an assembly to discuss their situation. Not too long after, the assembly turns away from the intended topic--- and Jack questions Ralph’s leadership skills. Golding writes, “‘I’m not going to be a part of Ralph’s lot---’ He looked along the right-hand logs, numbering the hunters that had been a choir. ‘I’m going off by myself. He can catch his own pigs. Anyone who wants to hunt when I do can come too’” (127). Jack had asked the group on their opinion of whether or not Ralph should continue being chief, but the boys wouldn’t vote Ralph out. Because Ralph’s role as a leader waned when it was needed most, Jack turned away from Ralph’s decisions and made his own. He left the group to do what he thought was best, and that started a new beginning for the boys on either side of the newly formed rift.
Fidel Castro (1926-2016) is best known for being the world’s longest ruling leader with a record of 52 years in office. To get to that point in his life, he overthrew the president at the time, Fulgencio Batista. He disagreed with the “inefficiency of the Batista government”, and took matters into his own hands. History.com states, “On January 1, 1959, Batista and a number of his supporters fled Cuba for the Dominican Republic. Tens of thousands of Cubans celebrated the end of the dictator’s regime”. Similar to Ralph in the story, Batista was forced to retreat from his opponents when he tried to make a final stand against them. Negotiating about what’s important in dire situations was no longer an option in Castro’s opinion. Jack reacted the same way by running Ralph away, killing Piggy, and kidnapping the twins. Through this, we can see that the new beginning that started here was also the start of all the previous order they would lose.
The new transition of leadership within the group was hard to achieve for both Jack and Castro. Being pushed down many times gave the leader at the time an idea on what to expect from them when something comes up again. Having that happen many times also gives the usurper less of a reason to follow their proclaimed leader. When they finally got the role they wanted, it made things more difficult for the people that could be affected negatively by their decisions. On the aftermath of Castro’s victory, History.com writes, “His status as dictator is highly opposed by many nations because of the violations of human rights practiced under his rule.” In the book, Golding writes, “The breaking of the conch and the deaths of Piggy and Simon lay over the island like a vapor. These painted savages would go further and further. Then there was that indefinable connection between himself and Jack; who therefore would never let him alone; never” (184). Due to their lust of wanting to control the circumstances, it made the entire situation remain in their favor. They strived for it before and was denied their request, so they had to take it by force. Jack was fed up with how Ralph didn’t want to take care of the beast before it did anything else, so he left to do it himself. After taking in his new role as the head of the group, both Castro and Jack did much of what was being held back in them, and it led to chaos and confusion across the land. Both of their desires for what “needed” to happen was frowned upon by their peers, and it shows how different things could’ve been.
From the novel and the real world example, the reader can see that the loss of a leader can create changes and conflict within the group, and in this case the changes were more along the negative side. Having faith in the person that’s supposed to lead you is a huge part of a society. When it falters, then that trust is, for the most part, lost. We can see that through Jack’s decision making process and through Castro’s constant and forceful attempts for the position as Cuba’s president. Lord of the Flies suggests that without any kind of leadership in general, whether it’s an adult or another kid, the law and order that might be established will crumble quickly. In conclusion, new beginnings in scenarios like this can happen, but at what cost?
“Batista Forced out by Castro-Led Revolution.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 22 Oct. 2009, www.history.com/this-day-in-history/batista-forced-out-by-castro-led-revolution.
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. The Penguin Group, September 17, 1954, pp. 127
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. The Penguin Group, September 17, 1954, pp. 184
Nguyen, Ngoc Bich. “Fidel Castro and The Cuban Revolution.” Fidel Castro and The Cuban Revolution, staff.esuhsd.org/balochie/studentprojects/cubanrevcastro/index.html.