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Isolation in “Lord of the Flies” vs. the movie “Castaway”

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Throughout the novel Lord of the Flies and the film “Castaway” one of the main themes is most certainly seen as isolation, both social and physical. Isolation could be defined as the “feeling of being alone, or disliked,” as well as “a state of separation between persons or groups,” which most often results in open conflict. Both of these definitions are evident between the two stranded island tales. The isolation throughout these stories may be seen as both positive and negative in different situations. Positive being that whoever is in the position of isolation, which in this situation are the boys from Lord of the Flies and Chuck Noland from “Castaway,” have the opportunity to grow, evolve and become more independent. It can also be perceived as negative where a person in isolation becomes desperate, delusional, and have a completely different state of mind by the end of their experience. Both works Lord of the Flies, and “Castaway”, depict isolation as a central theme.

The way each one person reacts to the shock of isolation differs from person to person. It depends on the mind state they are in when they end up in the position, as well as the maturity and ability to handle the responsibility that has been given to them. When Chuck Noland from “Castaway” first arrives on the island, he primarily looks around in shock, viewing his surroundings. Once he finally understands what is happening around him, he screams out in a panic, not knowing what to do or how he is going to save his life. This shows that he would have a difficult time adapting to what is happening to him and quite clearly, that his age was not a factor during this situation. Eventually, he accepts what is happening to him and faces it by teaching himself how to survive on the food that surrounds him, learning how to hunt, as well by searching for a living habitat.

The children on the other hand, react to their situation in a calmer, civilized manner. When the children come to the realization that they are alone on the island, they begin to rally amongst themselves and create their own civilization. They do so by creating and electing a leader, allowing the candidates a platform in which to express their views and reasons why they should be chosen. Each candidate is given the conch in which to commence their speeches. The conch represented the state of power and authority which was led by the newly appointed leader, Ralph. “‘We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all, we’re not savages. We’re English, and the English are best at everything'” (Golding40). This scenario shows the responsibility and determination to keep a peaceful society, trying to make due with the fact that they have no adults to supervise them.

Although the reaction of being on a deserted island was completely different between Chuck Noland and the Children, there was a significant difference as to why they acted in the manner that they did. Regardless that the children were not accompanied by adult supervision, they still had one another to depend upon. Whereas, Chuck Noland was completely isolated from all human contact. This situation would be mind blowing for a person; having to adapt to being on a deserted island and having to do it alone. This is what pushed Chuck’s imagination into believing that the only person or thing to talk to was a volleyball named ‘Wilson.’ With the help of Chuck’s imagination, Wilson was essentially the only thing that kept him motivated on the island.

He signified severe isolation as well as a slight loss of mental stability. This is true because the only time the mind would start to hallucinate such as he did in the movie, is when a person is placed into a position of loneliness and vulnerably. Luckily, for the children in Lord of the Flies, they all had someone to look upon; for example Ralph and Piggy. Ralph and Piggy were together for most of the novel, although at times they did not get along, they seemed to always look upon each other for comfort such as Wilson would do for Chuck.

A similarity drawn between the novel and the movie would be that Piggy was to Ralph as Wilson was to Chuck. In other words, both of these pairs of individuals comforted each other in their times of isolation. They looked to each other for comfort, support, and encouragement. Parallel to the stories are the deaths of Wilson and Piggy. Piggy’s death towards the end of the novel was extremely hard for Ralph to cope with. Piggy was the only thing Ralph really had on his side fighting against one of the book’s character, Jack. Without Piggy, Ralph felt as though he was kept in complete isolation against Jack’s tribe. This was also true in Chuck’s case. Towards the end of the movie, when Chuck makes his final attempt to escape from the island, Wilson gets taken away by the waves, which left Chuck feeling completely vulnerable and alone. Scenes in the movie show that Wilson played as Chucks only friend, and without him, Chuck felt completely isolated from humanity.

To summarize, although the isolation was different in both stories, the common denominator was that the main characters were isolated from their norm. Chuck was isolated from all human contact which resulted in his own desperate need to find a source of companionship. As a result, Chuck chose a volleyball which he proudly named Wilson to be his source of companionship during this most troublesome time. The children of Lord of the Flies were subjected to isolation in a slightly different manner. Although they had each other to depend on they were isolated from the adult supervision that they had been so accustomed to. In both cases, the stories show us that isolation is the result of removing what is conventional which forces the characters into seclusion and separation from normal society.

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