Lord of the Flies

Fear to Gain Control in Dystopian Literature College

A prominent feature of dystopian literature is the ability of certain individuals to capitalize on the fear of others in order to gain power. A novel that this is evident in is William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, in which we see how power is established on the island and how it shifts between the two primary leaders, Ralph and Jack. One important thing to note is that no dystopian novel is written in a vacuum- it is, in fact, written with some relevant context in mind. When Lord of the Flies was written, a significant conflict taking place was the Cold War, which was most intense between the Soviet Union and the United States. There are clear parallels between the Cold War tensions of the time and the struggles of the boys in Lord of the Flies. In the same way that propaganda was used to maintain control over the people in various countries during the Cold War, it is used by Jack and Ralph to get the others to follow them. This use of propaganda to produce fear, and thereby submission, is a theme that lingers in dystopian literature even beyond this time period. In Robert Cormier’s I am the Cheese and Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, different forms of propaganda are used to create fear in people and thereby attain power.

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