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Power and Control in Mockingjay and Lord of The Flies

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Both the texts, Lord of the Flies, and Mockingjay, have the elements of struggles for power and control. The characters of each text each have their own struggle for power, and the lust and pathological need for it, ultimately is what causes the downfall of them. The William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’ talks about the human condition and how humankind is in an everlasting conquest for power. In parallel to that, Suzanne Collins, ‘Mockingjay’, along with its other predictors in the series, talks about a power filled society, contrasted with a powerless society. The novels both discuss how a lust for power and control, bring out the worst in us.

Jack Merridew, the leader of the choir, of a posh private school, lived his entire life under the thumb of society, forced to obey every rule. This withholding of his power creates his lust and desire for power, which overthrows his clear head and mind. “The chief was sitting there, naked to the waist, his face blocked out in white and red. The tribe lay in a semicircle before him,” The contrast between the start of the novel and now, shows the change that the power Jack has had on him. In the first chapter, Golding describes the group of choir boys as “a party of boys”, who wore eccentric clothing. The island and their hunger for power and not only changed how the think. Bu physically it has changed them as well. They are no longer the well-ordered boys, walking in parallel lines, but a tribe of boys sitting in a rough semicircle. They are no longer led by a neatly trimmed boy, but by a savage possessed by his need for control. This new persona is hinted at in chapter 4 – Painted Faces and Long Hair. “He began to dance, and his laughter became a bloodthirsty snarling. He capered toward Bill, and the mask was a thing on its own, behind which Jack hid, liberated from shame and self-consciousness,” this mask that he creates out of paint, creates not only a camouflage to better hunt pigs, but a new persona for Jack, that reduces the shame that Jack feels to dust, creating a new Jack, one that is no longer bonded and restricted from his power.

“Then there was that indefinable connection between himself and Jack; who therefore would never let him alone; never” This thought that Ralph has while Jack is at his worst, explains that because Jack sees Ralph as a threat to his power, and because he is still alive, he feels worried that Ralph will take his power away from him. This thought is the idea that causes Jack to attempt to hunt Ralph like a wild pig and kill him; because he feels that if Ralph is kept alive, it’s only a matter of time before Ralph is able to overthrow him. This hunting of Ralph is also a warning to those who may still favour Ralph such as Sam and Eric. Jacks tyranny brought out the evil that resided within him, making him do terrible things to people in order to contain the power that he wanted so badly. Jack as leader of the choir, was used to having power, and the notion that he wasn’t to be given it can shock and humiliate him-“I’m chief then.” The circle of boys broke into applause. Even the choir applauded; and the freckles on Jack’s face disappeared under a blush of mortification,” This small battle for power at the start of the novel, causes Jack to stir up negative feelings between him and Ralph, causing a connection, but a bad one, that ends up being worse for both of them.

Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins, discusses a dystopian society, governed irresponsibly by a large city. The leader and tyrant, President Snow is a man who ruthlessly governs all of the country. “pointing out case after case of the mysterious deaths of Snow’s adversaries or, even worse, his allies who had the potential to become threats,” President Snow lives in fear of his power being taken from him, similar to that of Jack, and goes to extreme measures to remove his opposition, so that they cannot, and never overthrow him. Similar to Jack, he kills those who challenge him, to bring himself peace of mind, and kills those they love.

“If your immediate answer isn’t Coin, then you’re a threat. You’re the face of the rebellion. You may have more influence than any other single person,’ says Boggs. ‘Outwardly, the most you’ve ever done is tolerated her.” This quote shows that Katniss, the main character of the series, has so much power over the rebelling districts, that President Coin, the president of district 13, sees her as a threat, and would possibly kill her if necessary. Katniss has too much control over the districts, too much power and influence that President Coin doesn’t contain. “’My failure,’ says Snow, ‘was being so slow to grasp Coin’s plan. To let the Capitol and districts destroy one another, and then step in to take power with Thirteen barely scratched,” this quote explains President Coin’s plan, to allow the rest of the country to crumble, then take control over the nation, at its weakest, while receiving no damage to herself, or district. The willingness to watch the world around her burn, shows that President Coin is corrupted by the lust for power, and will do anything for it.

Power and Control both play a large part in both of these texts, and the lust for it is what causes the majority of the complications. The antagonists, and protagonists, all do rash and irresponsible things to satisfy their need for influence, but the people that were not consumed by their obsession were the ones that came out looking the best.      

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Power And Control In Mockingjay And Lord Of The Flies. (2021, October 25). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 31, 2023, from
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