This sample essay on Theme Of Influence In The Picture Of Dorian Gray reveals arguments and important aspects of this topic. Read this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and the conclusion below.
The two books that will be compared In the following are very different books Indeed. Having said this, two things are consistent throughout; the theme of Influencing others with certain Idealism, and the consequences this can bring about. However, the ways In which Gilding and Wiled express this are very different.
The following will discuss the characters and objects used to express influences, how they go about this influence, and the ultimate corruptive effect they have on their victims’. It will also discuss the rather contrasting ideals imposed and implied, while making parallels between them with their similarities.
Idealism, in this essay, will refer to the moral code and values which are held by a character, collective, or concept. Initially, the theme of influence is portrayed by the character of Henry Watson in Dorian Gray.
Even in the opening chapter of the book. He Is seen to have an influence over Dorian with his musical language, charm, and unconventionality. The Ideals he stands for, the value of beauty and youth over any socially accepted moral code, grabbed Doorman’s attention with their uniqueness, while Watson himself allowed his words to enrapture Dorian.
Dorian admits that “The few words that [Watson] had said o him… Had touched some secret chord that had never been touched before. ” This is an immediate reaction upon their first meeting, and the influence of Watson on Grays psyche is equally immediate: “Life suddenly became fiery-colored to him”.
With this astounding impact on Doorman’s mentality, it is not surprising that he should become spellbound by Whatnot’s influence and become his little science experiment. As a parallel, the theme of influence in The Lord of the Flies is not set on one character throughout, but on the key object being the conch.
The conch is a tool of influence, In hat the person who holds it is the person who speaks. Initially, Ralph is made the ‘chief’ on the Island due to him rallying up all of the children using the conch. It Is an item which Is symbolic of law and order throughout the novel; It sets the holder apart from the rest of the children. “The being that had blown that, had sat walling for them on the platform with the delicate thing balanced on his knees, was set apart. ” Piggy, who is the greatest advocate for reason and intellect on the island, values the conch in this way above all, and hence Gilding coincides his destruction with that of he conch.
There is another influence on Dorian in Wild’s book, being the Yellow Book, a tale of a young Parisian who encounters all the debauchery of life which Dorian relates to immensely. We find that Dorian is handed this book by Watson as another psychological experiment to discover how Dorian will react to this external Influence other than Watson, and It works disturbingly well; Dorian lives out his entire life seeking the pleasures and sensations which the book entails: “For years, Dorian Gray could not free himself from the Influence of this book.
Throughout Wild’s novel as a hole, there is the impression that Dorian is most strongly influenced by ideals which and beauty must affect Dorian since he himself is young, beautiful, and, most fatally, vain. Once this egotistical mentality has set in, the Yellow Book reveals to Dorian what is possible with this indulgent lifestyle: “The Parisian… Became to him a kind of prefiguring type of himself. ” An external influence on the children in Lord of the Flies is the environment in which they were living. Being marooned on a lost island was a key factor in the boys’ increasing tendency towards savagery.
Without adult prevision and with no social norms other than what they had learned during their upbringing, the boys literally “ran wild” (with their conformity degenerating over time). They lost their regard for rules, as Jack exclaims when he is breaking them, “Who cares? ” The island did not cause the boys to become this way, but the fact that they were there, isolated from any other human contact, did indeed give ample opportunity for their primitive instincts to run full course. The idealism represented by Lord Watson is a form of Hedonism, wherein beauty, youth, and pleasure seeking are the main points of existence for an individual.
These ideals are made evident from where he discusses the fact that Doorman’s youth and beauty will fade in the future, and so he needs to make the most of his every waking moment in his pursuit of debauchery: “We are punished for our refusals. Every impulse that we strive to strangle broods in the mind, and poisons us…. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden itself”. This ideal is also followed through in the Yellow Book, where the Parisian pleasure seeker wishes to make the most of his existence by delving deep into the ‘sins’ of this world.
However, according to Watson, sin is merely a matter of perspective, and so Dorian holds no regard for the real socially accepted morality of his actions throughout the novel. This is amplified, in a sense, by Doorman’s ageing and sin being projected onto the portrait rather than himself, meaning if nobody sees the portrait, he might live a secret alter-ego life of debauchery and sin while maintaining his pleasant, civilized fade in the public eye. There are several different ideals represented by different characters in Lord of the Flies: Piggy is the voice of intellectualism and rationality;
Ralph represents a teleological moral system; Jack seems to portray a reign of terror (Utilizing the threat of the ‘beasts’ to his advantage and promising protection from them); and Simon, perhaps the most insightful character, represents compassion, innocence, a naturalistic existence, and a form of spirituality. Simony’s spiritual idealism is brought across when he realizes that the ‘beasts’ are really the original sin dwelling inside of the boys, an impurity which cannot be cleansed but still resides inherently in man’s nature: “Maybe there is a beast… Maybe it’s only us. “
Both of the novels seem to imply a theme of corruption throughout. In Dorian Gray, the obvious corruption is that of Doorman’s previously pure soul. Before he met Watson, untarnished by his influence, Dorian was a “sweet, shy, innocent boy who did not know sin. ” On the contrary, once he meets Watson, the corruptive influence he has on Dorian is shown in a manner most graphic and explicit, with the effect of Doorman’s sins being shown on the portrait as he lives his life: “Sometimes loathing it and himself”. In Lord of the Flies, there is the idea that the environment is one of the
As discussed previously, the boys’ lack of rules and social norms means that there is no need to comply to any since there will be no immediate consequences, according to them: “The world, that understandable and lawful world, was slipping away. ” However, the fact that Doorman’s sin and objectively worse nature was more unlocked than anything, and the fact that the boys on the island were not directly influenced or corrupted by anyone and simply allowed themselves to get this way, implies that there is an inherent evil within man, and that in certain circumstances, this evil can e released and allowed to run wild.
A common factor in the two books regarding the corruption discussed in the previous paragraph is that the corruption and loss of innocence in the two novels is due to a lack of consequence. Dorian values his good looks over everything; this is from the direct influence of Lord Watson. Since his looks cannot be affected by any sin he may accrue throughout his grossly indulgent existence, he does not believe that there is a real consequence for his actions, as what matters most to him remains safe: “Smiling, with a secret pleasure, at the misshapen shadow that had to bear the ruder that should have been his own.
Somewhat similarly, in Lord of the Flies, the lack of rules among the society makes for a lack of punishment and discipline. Children of their age would be used to having a structure in their lives, and living by their own rules without consequence, everything descends into chaos. The lack of consequence from adults means that the children indulge in the fact that they can get away with pretty much anything. Both of these books have a climax that is a result of the corruption of Dorian and the boys separately; murder. In Dorian Gray, the arguable climax is the murder of
Basil Hallways after he witnesses the portrait which haunts Dorian and is the only real reminder of how human he really is. Since Hallways was the creator of the portrait, Dorian holds him somewhat responsible for the portrait’s sins rather than cursing himself for committing them: “An uncontrollable feeling of hatred for Basil Hallways came over him, as though it had been suggested to him by the image on the canvas”. Murder is seen as one of man’s greatest sins, and so to kill the creator of the picture which displays a man’s sins has something of an irony about it.
When the sys kill Piggy, they are descending into true savagery by killing off the last remaining voice of reason and intellect which effectively kills off order. This, coinciding with the destruction of the conch, shows that murder is the point at which innocence and order are totally lost beyond the point of return. Therefore, both novels consider murder to be the result of corruption of the soul and a loss of innocence due to the corruptive influences surrounding the concerned parties. In summarization of the question, influence and idealism are two major themes in Lord of the Flies and The Picture of Dorian Gray.
There are corruptive influences in both books and ideals which are corrupted in both also. There is also the implication of an inherent evil, an original sin of man that rears its ugly head when there are no immediate consequences to cause it to remain internal. The influences, whether in are vulnerable and susceptible to such influences by appealing to the vanity of the young man, or to the rebelliousness and unruliness of the castaway children. There are plenty of contrasting ideals that appear, however, it always seems that the most negative ones are prevalent.