Comparison of Lord of the Flies with Peter Pan free essay sample
The books “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding, and “Peter Pan” by J. M. Barrie, have similar characteristics that will be compared and contrasted in this paper. “Lord of the Flies” takes place on a deserted island where about 20 British boys have crashed during World War II. Peter Pan, dissimilarly, tells the tale of a boy who doesn’t want to grow up and lives on the magical island of Neverland with the Lost Boys. Both Lord of the Flies and Peter Pan have common themes, symbols, and characters, but, at the same time, differ. Lord of the Flies and Peter Pan share quite a few qualities.
They have themes that are in common, but also have some that are completely unrelated. The symbolisms in each book also play a large role. Physical symbols along with symbols that aren’t tangible will be discussed. The last subject that will be presented will be the personalities of characters.
People such as Ralph, Jack, Peter, Wendy, the Lost Boys, and the Island Boys will be compared and contrasted. The first of all of these points to be addressed will be the themes. In both stories, there are evident themes presented; some of which they have in common.
One major theme that is found in both Lord of the Flies and Peter Pan is the innocence of childhood. Though, there is a difference in the way they address their innocence. The Island Boys outgrow their innocence. They aren’t helpless children any longer; they embrace being unsupervised and use it as their right to adulthood. The Lost Boys in Peter Pan strive to maintain their childhood for as long as they can. They don’t want to grow up, nor do they want to act any older than they are. Even though innocence is a common theme, the two groups of boys diverge in their role playing.
The second coinciding theme Lord of the Flies and Peter Pan have is battles from within. In Lord of the Flies, Jack struggles with the idea of killing the pig. He wants so badly to slaughter it, but the piece of civilized Brit that is left in him won’t allow it. It’s obvious this killing has become an obsession to Jack when he says, “If I could only get a pig! ” (pg. 55), in chapter 3, and repeatedly brings up the subject. Wendy also has an inward struggle in her story. She has fun and adapts to the ways of Neverland, but, in the back of her mind, she knows she must return home.
She debates with herself throughout her stay with Peter, but realizes she and her brothers must go back to reality and grow up. The next theme mainly pertains to Lord of the Flies. As previously discussed, the Island Boys want to rid themselves of childhood innocence. Although, the boys don’t only rid themselves of innocence, they lose their humanity altogether. They forget their past lives as proper English gentlemen, and become savages. Wendy’s younger brothers, John and Michael, face something similar to that to a certain extent when they believe that Peter is their father and Wendy is their mother.
They forget their old ways, just as the Island Boys did, but they don’t become uncivilized. The following theme that Peter Pan and Lord of the Flies don’t have in common is the aspect of romance. Peter is a player, switching between his affections for Tinker Bell, to Tiger Lilly, and to Wendy. Though, he is most predominately attracted to Wendy. It is also the kiss that Wendy gives Peter that allows him to fight Captain Hook and overthrow him. Lord of the Flies, on the other hand, has no way to incorporate romance.
Being that there are about 20 boys stuck on an island together, with no females, it makes it very difficult to add in that particular theme. The closest similarity to romance that Lord of the Flies has is who wants to be first. The girls in Peter’s life, and the Lost Boys, all want to be the center of his attention. Similarly, The Island Boys fight to be recognized. Jack battles to be the leader and hold the affection of the others, just as Piggy seeks respect. The first symbols that will be discussed are the physical ones. In Lord of the Flies, the conch shell that Piggy finds is one of the most symbolic objects in the book.
The conch, that states whoever holds it is allowed to speak, possesses great authority. It also shows that the Island Boys are trying to maintain their humanity by having an organization system. The conch symbolizes brains and intelligence. It was Piggy’s idea to have this rule, and he was the main enforcer of it. When the conch shattered as Piggy died, it represented the loss of all hope. Their whole system had officially ended. In Peter Pan a significant symbol is that of the kiss and thimble. Wendy gives Peter a “kiss”, which is actually a thimble, out of her newfound affection for him.
Peter, however, doesn’t realize the significance of it, and naturally gives her an acorn in return. This act of giving “kisses” is only seen as significant to Wendy at the time. Later, when the acorn saves Wendy’s life, Peter grasps the importance of it. This exchanging of “kisses” is also representing Wendy’s growing up. She has that yearning for romance that most young girls do, and has sought to find it in Peter. The second set of symbols is not physical; instead they are heard. In Lord of the Flies, when the boys kill a pig, they chant, “Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood. ” (pg.
69) When this rhythmic shouting begins, death is always near; whether it is of a pig or a human. The clock that ticks from the crocodile in Peter Pan has a similar meaning. Both evoke fear into people. The reciting of the gruesome lines frightens Ralph, Piggy, and probably other boys involved; just as the tick-tock emanating from the crocodile paralyzed Captain Hook. The sounds also illustrate power over weakness. The chanting from Jack’s hunters shows that they have the capability of hunting and killing. This brings an advantage over Ralph and his group since they are fairly defenseless.
Captain Hook, though he appears invincible, becomes too afraid of the crocodile, and it ultimately causes his demise. Throughout both tales, there are similar personalities of characters. Two that will be examined are Peter and Ralph. Both boys have leadership qualities, but conduct their empire in different ways. Peter focuses on having fun and doing whatever he feels like on that day. Since he doesn’t want to grow up, Peter acts like a child, but at the same time plays the role of a father to the Lost Boys. Ralph, similarly, wants to have fun in the beginning.
But, they were stranded on an island by themselves, and Ralph soon realized the need of rescuing. Ralph quickly obtains an obsession with keeping the fire, and makes that the number one priority. Peter, however, doesn’t have goals. He spars with Captain Hook and listens to stories for entertainment. Also, the two boys each have their “second in command”. Peter uses Tinker Bell as a companion, but doesn’t really listen to her. Ralph has Piggy, whose ideas he either doesn’t listen to, or takes as his own. Ralph also shares characteristics with Wendy.
As mentioned earlier, Ralph wanted to have fun in the beginning. Wendy has the same experience when she falls for Peter and wants to explore Neverland with him. Both Ralph and Wendy soon realize that their times on the far away places are up, and they have to go home. Ralph, like Wendy, is really the only one who sees the importance of returning. Though, Ralph stresses the fact of rescue, while Wendy would bring up the thought, and then dismiss it. Captain Hook and Jack Merridew are noted as the antagonist of each narrative. Both Hook and Jack want to gain power.
Hook wants to overthrow Peter, and take over. Similarly, Jack wants to bring down Ralph as chief. Their plans were similar in structure, except Jack’s execution was pretty much successful with his plan, while Hook got eaten by a crocodile. As far as one could tell, Hook has always been evil. Contrasting to Jack, who, in the beginning he wasn’t evil per say, he just sought power. Hook and Jack likewise have goals of killing. Hook only seeks to have revenge on Peter Pan, and slay him. Jack wants terribly to slaughter a pig, and eventually does. He then quickly escalates to the killing of people.
Peter’s group of Lost Boys are in a similar situation as the boys stuck on the Island in Lord of the Flies. Both sets of boys are under the power of a kid no older than 12. Although, the Lost Boys tend to fealty obey Peter Pan, whereas the Island Boys don’t really know who to comply with. They Lost Boys don’t question the authority that Peter has; they do as they’re told. The boys on the island generally don’t listen, no matter who the instruction is coming from. They all want to go explore, or swim, or hunt as they please. Also, both assemblies of kids don’t really care about going home; not until the end.
They have a great time on their separate islands, and act as if they were going to live there forever. But, when the opportunity arrives to return home, they jump at the chance. As one can see, Lord of the Flies and Peter Pan have some similarities, yet they each maintain their own distinct features. Though one story depicts the loss of humanity, and the other shows the maintaining of childhood, they have quite similar aspects. Each is a tale of British children, but they are placed in different circumstances. They all have a life changing experience that Peter summarizes by saying, “To live will be an awfully big adventure. ”