How Literature Displays Mob Mentality Essay Example
Mob Mentality according to Merriam Webster is “a large and disorderly crowd of people especially: one bent on riotous or destructive action”(Merriam Webster.) Mob Mentality has been an issue to the human race from the start of the existence of the human race on earth. One leading problem to Mob Mentality is the lack of individualism that is prevalent in society. Individualism is what makes someone themselves without that people lose who they truly are and become something else that they are not. In the novel, Lord of the Flies the issue of mob mentality has a large presence during the whole book. In the short story The Lottery mob mentality also makes a large appearance.
The issue is clearly demonstrated in both of these pieces of literature. The issue is also brought upon two articles about mob mentality and groups that implement mob mentality. All cults use mob mentality, if you do not follow what is shown you are punished physically. Communism is also similar to mob mentality, where everything is shared and everyone has to do everything together to make it work. The problem with governments/groups that use political systems or plain group/mob mentality is they always have an imbalance of powers and they turn into a dictatorship. The use of power by the mob/group leader often determines the end outcome of the mob/group. Sometimes mob mentality is used to keep old rituals alive, like in The Lottery or just to keep what seems like order in Lord of the Flies. Mob mentality is a plague in all communities that can only be fixed by individualism.
In Lord of the Flies mob mentality is portrayed from the very beginning where the boys need to group together to survive. The lack of individualism in the boys causes indecisiveness.. “‘Bollocks to the rules! We’re strong-we hunt! If there is a beast, we will hunt it down! We will close in and beat and beat and beat-!’”.(Golding 91) When there is a dispute in the group it is handled barbarically and not entirely democratically. The boys end up losing their own beliefs and ethics to follow Jack Merridew on a pig hunt. When the boys lose their personalities and themselves to go from a mob and pig hunt with Jack Merridew they lose a grip on the world around them.
This mob led by Jack helps them escape from the fact that they are stranded on an island. This mob also allows the boys to not take any direct blame for any of their actions. “‘He gave a wild whoop and leapt down to the pale sand. At once the platform was full of noise and excitement, scrambling,screams, and laughter. The assembly shredded away and became a discursive and random scatter from the palms to the water and away along the beach, beyond night-sight….. The sound of mock hunting,hysterical laughter and mock hunting, and real terror came from the beach.”(Golding 92)
Jack merridew was entirely unstable and driven with rage and envy which made him to be a bad leader. The boys lacked individual decision making so they needed a leader. Jack seemed more appealing and fun than Ralph so the majority of boys chose Jack over Ralph. Ralph gave order and control which brought calmness and composure to the boys. If Ralph was not a strict leader teh boys would have fallen to this mob mentality right away and be broken away from reality and lose control of themselves. Instead of keeping order the boys wanted fun and “freedom” which Jack seemed to offer as a leader.
The boys really lose control of themselves and succumb to the mob mentality when they mistook Simon for the “beast” “At once the crowd surged after it, poured down the rock, leapt on to the beast, screamed, struck, but, tore. There were no words, and no movements but the tearing of teeth and claws.The stick Fell in the mouth of the new circle crunched and screamed. The beast was on its knees in the center,its arms folded over its face. It was crying out against the abominable noise, something about a body on the hill.” (Golding 157-158.) The reality was there was no beast, just a dead airplane pilot, which Simon was going to tell the boys promptly before they killed him. Mob mentality overtook the group and no boy questioned why the beast was talking about a dead pilot and not fighting back but sitting on his knees and covering his face.
In the short story The Lottery mob mentality is present. The book starts off seemingly innocent but there is a dark turn at the end. Mob mentality is clearly an important aspect of this short story but isn't really relevant until the end of the story. The story makes the transition from a happy,normal community to one where killing an innocent person is okay by moral standards. While the book is clearly written with the main theme of questioning tradition, mob mentality plays an extremely key role in setting the story of how it unfolded. “A stone hit her on the side of the head”(Shirley 8) This quote seems extremely irrelevant to the issue of mob mentality but it reveals a dark truth. The thrower of the stone is not named implying that the mob acts as one and that what one does everyone else does. Nobody in this town questions the ethics of this “Lottery.”
The lack of individualism is clearly evident since no one stops and questions this extremely inhumane tradition. This has been going on for over 77 years so that mob mentality is seared into the community. The community also seems to group this lottery with normal town activities such as the town square dance and halloween activities. This stoning is a normal tradition in this town because no one chooses to separate themselves from the crowd and point this tradition out. The mob gives in to this stoning every year. “Bill Hutchinson went over to his wife and forced the slip of paper out of her hand.
It had a black spot on it, the black spot Mr. Summers had made the night before with the heavy pencil in the coal company office. Bill Hutchinson held it up, and there was a stir in the crowd.” (Shirley 8) Even Tessie’s husband won’t stop her murder. If he was raised in a community where individualism is shunned and it is tradition to do the lottery without questions spawns a natural mob mentality. The reason for this is the lottery is the murder of an innocent human that is breaking natural moral and ethic laws that are instilled in humans. This spawns violence and a natural mob mentality in the town.
In conclusion mob mentality is an issue in all communities because individualism is hard to come by and people are afraid to stand out. Mob mentality is caused by lack of decision making by a group. Mob mentality is something that is mental, it replaces me with we. When people are in a big group they think their behaviour is obscured by the other members of the group. The solution for mob mentality is to stand out, to be different, to be the white dot on a blackboard. Without individualism communities would all be led by a mob mentality.