Truth and reality can often be found in fiction through a universal truth in the theme. In the novel Life of Pi, author Yann Martel writes, “That’s what fiction is about, isn’t it, the selective transformation of reality?” Through literature we can find truth and revelation in our world, even if it is a work of make believe. One truth about life I learned from a fictional source is that humans at their core are depraved and cruel from Lord of the Flies. This fictional work has impacted me by realizing how dark humans can be and many universal truths about society and the lack thereof can be found from this source.
Lord of the Flies is a dystopian novel about a group of schoolboys deserted on an island after a plane crash, with no surviving adults left to guide the children. At first, all goes well on the island and the boys are led by an older boy named Ralph. Ralph makes sure that there are rules and structure in the island, with both hunters and gatherers helping to establish a base. However, later on in the novel his ideals are rivaled by another older boy named Jack, the lead hunter (Golding, 108). Jack is obsessed with hunting to the point of where he kills other boys and kills pigs not out of survival, but for pleasure. Eventually Ralph loses all control over the schoolboys as they forget what it’s like to be civilized, and the island’s state of anarchy causes all of boys to join Jack’s warped band of hunters (Golding, 152). At the end of the book, they are rescued by English army officials. The boys, reminded of home and realizing how ruthless and violent they have become, weep (Golding, 202).
Lord of the Flies is a perfect example of how a fictional tale can well represent a universal truth on the true nature of humanity. There was no such situation and the people and setting involved in the novel are imaginary, however the plot is a hypothetical to how people could actually behave in a place where there is no law or authority- just survival instincts. Lord of the Flies had a strong message about if humans are truly good or bad. While reading this book, I had come to the conclusion that humans at their core are “bad”- or in my case selfish and desperate for survival just like any other animal on earth.
From that moment forward, I had begun to notice that humans have such amazing capabilities that could help others or make the world a much safer and happier place to live, but we choose to put each other through pain out of our selfish wants and need for survival. Looking back on my own experiences with bullying and seeing news of war and crime made me realize how dark humanity is deep down. Lord of the Flies made me realize, or maybe remember, that humans are full of love and compassion but at their primal state they are barbarous like any other animal.
Another example of truth found in fiction is the novel Life of Pi. Life of Pi’s theme is belief and believability, and Pi starts to doubt religion and began to perceive divinity as a convenient lie (Martel, 317). Pi’s journey of his own beliefs relates back to the idea of truth in fiction. Pi finds truth, or comfort, in his “fiction” or religion. While on the boat trying to fight for his life, he prays to gods he slowly loses faith in to help give him hope in balance with survival skills and reason- not to physically stay alive, but mentally and emotionally. Pi finding his truth in fiction helped with survival, whereas finding my truth in Lord of the Flies helped alter how I view the world.
My experience reading Lord of the Flies allowed me to find truth in fiction by revealing the author’s view on mankind through fictional events. Theme and direct diction in a fictional source can help its reader find a universal truth by allowing them to analyze a theme and then perceive their own message.
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