Lord of the Flies: An Term Paper

Total Length: 1358 words ( 5 double-spaced pages)

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Jack discovers that he is not simply a leader, but that leadership makes personal demands on one's character that are not always enjoyable. Jack realizes that the boys cannot play all day, or forget about civilization, like schoolboys on a fun holiday. Instead, they must engage in the serious preparations of surviving on an abandoned island. Jack also realizes his limits as a leader as the group's fears conflict with its survival needs.

Both boys change because they are placed in such an extraordinary, personally demanding situation. However, simply being part of an organization with other boys alters the character of the children. If Jack and Piggy were in their normal situation, quite likely they would find themselves allied with the rest of the boys of their age group who might want to play all day, or engage in fantasy, against the will of adults. But the situational pressures force the boys to gain a new maturity and to take unique roles in relationship to the larger community. However, the immaturity of many of the other boys meant that Jack had to realize that he was not a naturally accepted leader under all circumstances, as much as he might like to imagine himself as such on a playground, because his authority and his council, however wise, was frequently challenged.

Smith and Berg suggest that an organization is at its most functional, when it can acknowledge individual difference and the special contribution individuals can make to that organization, rather than attempts to subsume such difference within the confines of a greater philosophy. For example, rather than force Piggy to engage in the most laborious physical tasks, Jack used Piggy as an advisor. Rather than have all of the children constantly tend the flame, tending the flame was left to certain group members. The age and different physical abilities of the children were respected. However, the desire of other boys to exert leadership, and to make their influence felt in a less democratic fashion was difficult to manage.
Furthermore, the homogeneity of the common goals of the group was not enough to keep the group together -- the differences, even the negative differences of some of the boys should have been better managed by Jack and his friends.

Fortunately, few office workers find themselves in a situation like "Lord of the Flies" when working with other employees. However, it is easy to observe within one's self, how different personal qualities emerge, depending on where one is working or the demands of the job. For example, if someone is working in an office where the work ethic is slack, even if some of the workers have strong work ethics, they are less likely to diligently labor until a task is done, because a job that is only half-done might seem excellent, in comparison to the quality of the labor of some of the employees. In contrast, a fairly laid-back employee might be more willing to burn the midnight oil, if it is accepted that working until 8 or 9pm is necessary, to become an accepted member of the group. Also, if one is more or less intellectual, or different in one's tastes and pursuits from the other workers, it is easy to feel one has become the ostracized 'Piggy' of the group, even if one was accepted at the last place of employment as a regular guy. Regardless, this assignment demonstrates by using individual characteristics, like the unique mental gifts or diligence of a single employee, a functional organization can use these qualities for positive, rather than negative change. Even the initially alien Piggy has special gifts, while some of the more innocuous members of the island organization, when their individual needs are not channeled to positive ends, prove a detriment.

Works Cited

Smith, K. & Berg, D. (1987). Paradoxes of Group Life. San Francisco: Jossey….....

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