Identity Loss & Savagery in Bacon's & Golding's Works

In analyzing both Sir Francis Bacon’s Painting and William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, one can see common themes. These themes are the loss of identity and the coming of savagery. When Man is overtaken by the instinct of survival due to the loss of social order, the themes are demonstrated as inevitable fates. The boys in Lord of the Flies and the man in Painting are overtaken by the instinct of survival due to the loss of social order.

Painting was created shortly after WWII, which was characterized by chaos and loss of social order. This loss is evident by the setting surrounding the strong hefty man in black.

The carcasses seem to float, the railings do not have any definitive start or ending point, and everything in the lower half of the painting mixes in and fades together. The wall in the background is the only area in which there are definite shapes and separation of colors.

All the chaos and loss of order leads to the man losing his identity. For the boys in Lord of the Flies, the loss of social order comes from being stranded on an isolated island with no adults around and from a failure to create a government. Just like the fading and mixing of the colors in Painting the boys start to act more like a tribe and lose their individual identities. All of the hunters are identical; they all paint their faces with the “mask that was a thing on its own” and chant, “Kill the pig.

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Cut her throat. Spill her blood.” as a whole. The longer time goes on without social order means the more individual identity is lost.

Thus, the instinct of survival becomes stronger. When the instinct of survival gets stronger, savagery creeps in. The way in which it presents itself differs. For Jack, the main hunter in Lord of the Flies, savagery creeps in when he places the paint onto his face and creates the mask that “liberates [him) from shame and self consciousness.” Likewise, the same effect applies to the umbrella that covers the man in Painting. Theses masks free them from the shame of killing and cruelty as well. The man in Painting is shown to have a vivid piece of flesh upon his lip with his upper face being covered. The huge carcass hanging behind the man in black is depicted in a crucified human form; a form of cruelty. For Jack the form of cruelty comes in the form of killing Simon. As the instinct of survival becomes more and more presents in the boys throughout the novel, so does their savagery and loss of character. The boys, at a point, resemble the man in Painting. Their black suit of civilization and past life becomes more and more faded away, and savagery becomes their way of living.

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Identity Loss & Savagery in Bacon's & Golding's Works. (2022, Sep 27). Retrieved from

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