Archetypes

 

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the days of summer come,

the heat stills,

  and sweats from the sidewalk.

There are people passing by,

  they walk to and fro wearing colourful

masks, and their words are cut off

  in a survivalist world of fear.

The beat of the drum lures them

  into minion obedience,

while the dames

  dare revolution songs.

Softly the song rises

  in the middle of the night:

“Kill the beast, spill his blood,  

slit his throat.”

–Lilith Street

An archetype is a figure in literature that is symbolic or representative of someone. For example a Christ figure is a common archetype. In the book Lord of the Flies by William Golding, we see an archetypal figure when someone is sacrificed for the rest of society.

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“Bollocks to the rules! We’re strong – we hunt! If there’s a beast, we’ll hunt it down! We’ll close in and beat and beat and beat – !” – Jack (Chapter 5)

A group of boys is marooned on an island and must fend for themselves. The book deals with themes such as what rules society must have to keep order, and whether savagery will result if we are left to our own devices. It might be a commentary on original sin, or whether humankind is inherently evil. I wrote a paper on this novel in high school.

The boys eventually hunt a wild pig, which grows into a disturbing fantasy-like figure with huge proportions . . .

“However Simon thought of the beast, there rose before his inward sight the picture of a human at once heroic and sick.” (Chapter 6)

The problem with their frenzied and wild hunt to kill the beast is that the end result is they kill a human being instead. My poem is based on the book, and relatively throws back to their chant, “Kill the pig.”

“They understood only too well the liberation into savagery that the concealing paint brought.” (Chapter 11) Does this not lead one to imagine the anonymity of a face behind a mask, in a culture where we all wear masks, symbolic of our distance from intimacy and each other. Does this actually make it easier for us to descend into an amoral state where there are no more rules, and society caves in on itself?

From the analysis of the book: “In a world where the beast is real, rules and morals become weak and utterly dispensable. The original democracy Ralph leads devolves into a cult-like totalitarianism, with Jack as a tyrant and the beast as both an enemy and a revered god.” (www.sparknotes.com)

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