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Golding's Christo-fascist Choir

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message 1: by Monty J (last edited Nov 04, 2014 02:48PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Monty J Heying On page 14 Golding introduces a group of choir boys led by Jack Merridew, who eventually wrenches authoritarian control over the boys like a teenage Hitler.

Here is an interpretation of the choir from Free Online Research Papers: The choir robes and preparatory school uniforms also serve to highlight the “angelic” innocence of the boys before the barbarous nature, only a little below the surface in most of us, begins to emerge. As the boys’ clothing turns to rags, their order turns to chaos, and their rules are disregarded, and their system of democracy is overthrown and replaced with a fascist leader."

My interpretation is that the choir is a metaphor foreshadowing authoritarian rule. Note that Golding always uses the term "cloak" instead of "robe" in reference to the choir uniforms. Cloak is also a verb, meaning to hide or conceal, hinting of manipulation. He also describes how the boys look underneath their black robes, evoking a sense of hidden sinister truth.

As the indistinct marching choir approaches in the distance, Golding describes it as having the appearance of an animal.


Here's the initial appearance of the choir:

p.14: The creature was a party of boys, marching approximately in step in two parallel lines and dressed in strangely eccentric clothing. Shorts, shirts, and different garments they carried in their hands, but each boy wore a square black cap with a silver badge on it. their bodies, from throat to ankle, were hidden by black cloaks which bore a long silver cross on the left breast and each neck was finished off with a hambone frill.

The only indication of religion in the entire book is the Christian cross over the heart of each uniformed boy, evoking the theme of Christian soldier.

Note that they're naked beneath their cloaks. "Shorts, shirts, and different garments they carried in their hands...". Perhaps this is justified by the hot climate, but it also stresses that beneath their cloaks they are like savages, foreshadowing the animalistic behavior to come.

Marching Nazis come to mind. It gives me chills. Christo-fascism brought Hitler to power. Uniforms evoke a sense of authority, discipline, power, order and control. Hitler showed the Nazi uniform every chance he got from the very beginning.


Whether deliberate or subliminal, Golding was saying something important here, and there's nothing angelic about it. The initial exchange between Jack and Ralph is rife with tension. Jack is assertive, aggressive, nazi-like.

p.14 cont'd: The boy [Jack Merridew] who controlled them was dressed in the same way though his cap badge was golden. When his party was about ten yards from the platform he shouted an order and they halted, gasping, sweating, swaying in the fierce light. The boy himself came forward, vaulted on to the platform with his cloak flying, and peered into what to him was almost complete darkness.
"Where's the man with the trumpet?"
Ralph, sensing his sun-blindness, answered him. "There no man with a trumpet. Only me."
The boy came close and peered down at Ralph, screwing up his face as he did so. What he saw of the fair-haired boy with the creamy shell on his knees did not seem to satisfy him. He turned quickly, his black cloak circling.
"Isn't there a ship, then?"


The choir is invited to join the meeting. They begin to disband and Jack asserts control.

p. 14 cont'd: The group of cloaked boys began to scatter from close line. the tall boy shouted at them. "Choir! Stand still!"
Wearily obedient, the choir huddled into line and stood there swaying in the sun. Nonetheless, some began to protest faintly.
"But, Merridew. Please, Merridew... can't we?"
Then one of the boys flopped on his face in the sand and the line broke up.
..."He's always throwing a faint," said Merridew."


Merridew continues his aggression, interrupting and insulting Piggy, calling him fatty. "You're talking too much," said Jack Merridew. "Shut up, Fatty."

A contest over control ensues. A vote is taken and Ralph is appointed chief. Democracy prevails, but Ralph appeases Jack by awarding him continued authority over the choir.

p. 14 cont'd: Ralph looked at him, eager to offer something.
"the choir belongs to you, of course."
"They could be the army--"
"Or hunters--"
"They could be--"
The suffusion drained away from Jack's face. Ralph waved again for silence.
"Jack's in charge of the choir. They can be--what do you wnat them to be?"
"Hunters."


Note that Golding always uses the term "cloak" in reference to the choir's robesOn page 14 Golding introduces a group of choir boys led by Jack Merridew, who eventually wrenches authoritarian control over the boys like a teenage Hitler.

Here is one interpretation of the choir from Free Online Research Papers: The choir robes and preparatory school uniforms also serve to highlight the “angelic” innocence of the boys before the barbarous nature, only a little below the surface in most of us, begins to emerge. As the boys’ clothing turns to rags, their order turns to chaos, and their rules are disregarded, and their system of democracy is overthrown and replaced with a fascist leader.
My interpretation detailed below, is that the choir uniforms are a metaphor of authoritarian rule.


Here's the initial appearance of the choir:

p.14: The creature was a party of boys, marching approximately in step in two parallel lines and dressed in strangely eccentric clothing. Shorts, shirts, and different garments they carried in their hands, but each boy wore a square black cap with a silver badge on it. their bodies, from throat to ankle, were hidden by black cloaks which bore a long silver cross on the left breast and each neck was finished off with a hambone frill.

The only indication of religion in the entire book is the Christian cross over the heart of each uniformed boy, evoking the theme of Christian soldier.

Marching Nazis come to mind. It gives me chills. Christo-fascism brought Hitler to power. Uniforms evoke a sense of authority, discipline, power, order and control. Hitler showed the Nazi uniform every chance he got from the very beginning.

Whether deliberate or subliminal, Golding was saying something important here, and there's nothing angelic about it. The initial exchange between Jack and Ralph is rife with tension. Jack is assertive, aggressive, nazi-like.

p.14 cont'd: The boy [Jack Merridew] who controlled them was dressed in the same way though his cap badge was golden. When his party was about ten yards from the platform he shouted an order and they halted, gasping, sweating, swaying in the fierce light. The boy himself came forward, vaulted on to the platform with his cloak flying, and peered into what to him was almost complete darkness.
"Where's the man with the trumpet?"
Ralph, sensing his sun-blindness, answered him. "There no man with a trumpet. Only me."
The boy came close and peered down at Ralph, screwing up his face as he did so. What he saw of the fair-haired boy with the creamy shell on his knees did not seem to satisfy him. He turned quickly, his black cloak circling.
"Isn't there a ship, then?"

The choir is invited to join the meeting. They begin to disband and Jack asserts control.

p. 14 cont'd: The group of cloaked boys began to scatter from close line. the tall boy shouted at them. "Choir! Stand still!"
Wearily obedient, the choir huddled into line and stood there swaying in the sun. Nonetheless, some began to protest faintly.
"But, Merridew. Please, Merridew... can't we?"
Then one of the boys flopped on his face in the sand and the line broke up.
..."He's always throwing a faint," said Merridew."

Merridew continues his aggression, interrupting and insulting Piggy, calling him fatty. "You're talking too much," said Jack Merridew. "Shut up, Fatty."

A contest over control ensues. A vote is taken and Ralph is appointed chief. Democracy prevails, but Ralph appeases Jack by awarding him continued authority over the choir.

p. 14 cont'd: Ralph looked at him, eager to offer something.
"the choir belongs to you, of course."
"They could be the army--"
"Or hunters--"
"They could be be--"
The suffusion drained away from Jack's face. Ralph waved again for silence.
"Jack's in charge of the choir. They can be--what do you wnat them to be?"
"Hunters."


Note that Golding always uses the term "cloak" instead of "robe" in reference to the choir uniforms. Cloak is also a verb, meaning to hide or conceal. He also describes how the boys look underneath their robes, hinting at concealment and manipulation. The black color of the robes suggests something sinister.

Note Merridew's callous authoritarian posturing. Nazi-like, he shows no concern for the boy who fainted or the complaints of the others who are weak from over-exertion and lack of food and water. There is a difference between leadership and bullying.

What are we to make of Jack Merridew's aggressiveness and the militaristic uniformed choir with their dark uniforms and Christian symbols other than as a reference to the way Christo-fascists cloak themselves in religion to win over the masses and march around to impress and intimidate?


Geoffrey Or that those most aggressive join the military which ends up the dominating force in most societies.


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