Aos Journeys – Lord of the Flies
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Challenges and choices are a part of every journey. They are significant factors to the end of many journeys. ‘Lord of the Flies’, a novel by William Golding, and the film ‘Freedom Writers’, directed by Richard LaGravenese, are texts which both involve these aspects of journeys and convey them to the audience in a number of ways. These journeys, like most others, involve challenges and choices which help overcome them. Challenges or distractions need to be overcome in order to have a positive journey. There are many situations concerning challenges in ‘Lord of the Flies’. One of these occurs when the young schoolboys are stranded on a deserted island during World War II. This major obstacle must be overcome for the journey to be resolved. The boys are very young, and at first see their situation as an opportunity for adventure. Golding shows this through the use of language relevant to children, highlighting the innocence and naivety of the boys when they first arrive on the island. An example of this is when Ralph assures the boys that his “daddy” will rescue them soon. The only sign of maturity comes from Piggy, who realises the danger of their situation, as he tells Ralph “We got to find the others.
We got to do something.” Piggy is a symbol for intelligence, and tells the boys and the reader that being stranded on the island is in fact a challenge that they need to overcome. Ralph is represented as a symbol for civilisation, order and integrity. When he suggests to the other boys that they keep a signal fire in order to be rescued, he makes a choice to solve the problem. Again, Golding uses language relevant to children, emphasising the high degree of the challenge they are facing. Another challenge overcome by choice in ‘Lord of the Flies’ is “the beast”. “The beast” is a deceased parachutist swept onto the top of the island near the signal fire. The boys are convinced it is a monster, subsequently keeping them from their signal fire, becoming an obstacle to their rescue. Golding uses the beast as a symbol of the primal instinct and savagery that is within all humans. This is reinforced through the statement “To Ralph, seated, this seemed the breaking up of sanity. Fear, beasts…” as Golding conveys the challenge “the beast” is to the boys’ rescue.
Simon, the dreamer, makes the decision that the beast is not a real monster, but exists within them all. When Simon comes into contact with the Lord of the Flies, a pig’s head impaled on a stick left as a gift to “the beast”, he realises its “half-shut eyes were dim with the infinite cynicism of adult life.” Here Golding emphasises Simon’s growth and maturity, and how this choice was all that was needed to defeat the fear of “the beast” and to keep the signal fire going. Similarly, the film ‘Freedom Writers’ demonstrates journeys which also involve obstacles that need to be overcome by choices. One of these challenges was Erin Gruwell’s task of teaching a “dangerous” class from a newly-integrated high school. The director shows the audience that Erin’s class challenges her when she first gives them a seating plan. The students initially fight this and resent Erin and her way of teaching.
This changes when she finds a racist drawing of one African American student in her class, which serves as a catalyst for a new approach to teaching, incorporating subjects that will interest her students, leading her to happiness and resolution. Erin’s passion for teaching her class is shown in her monologue, where she states “I finally realised what I’m supposed to be doing and I love it.” Erin’s decision to try her best to improve her students’ lives and education, and helped her students overcome their resentment of her, improving both her students’ lives and her own. Erin’s choice was also a catalyst for her students’ journeys. By taking an interest an interest in and enjoying school, the students make great progress in their education and personal lives.
Gangster rap music is used throughout the film to emphasise the students’ involvement in gang life. This is a challenge to their education and safety. When Erin begins teaching in a more relevant way, the students decided to give school a chance, and make an effort to improve their lives. The books, novels and journals used in the classroom are a symbol for the new learning that is taking place, and represent the greater understanding both Erin and her students come to achieve. The choice by the students to cooperate with Erin results in the positive outcome of their journeys. Obstacles and decisions are a part of every journey. The stories of the boys in ‘Lord of the Flies’ and Erin and her students in ‘Freedom Writers’ are examples of this. Their journeys are full of difficult challenges which are, in the end, overcome by the decisions the characters make. Every journey involves challenges and choices.