Oscar Wilde once said, “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” What a twisted, convoluted idea to wrap one’s mind around but nevertheless an idea worth entertaining. As humans the pursuit of the truth is one of the journeys that each individual must undertake. Humankind is obsessed with the truth. Humans have fought wars, killed rulers, and established nations in the name of the truth. Why is mankind so thirsty for the truth? The truth leads to enlightenment and ultimately inner peace. So what Oscar Wilde is saying seems on its head. If men are so infatuated with the truth, why does he lie when talking in his own person? It seems so counterintuitive that some have dismissed this quote as the ravings of a madman. But this idea is one worth engaging. Man lies because he’s afraid of what society might impose upon him if he is truly himself. Both “I Only Came to Use the Phone” and “Lord of the Flies” isolate the main characters from the evils of society. Isolating characters from society in both stories is a way to elicit behaviors that normally would have been suppressed by society which induces the idea that society subdues ones true identity and therefore blocks the path to enlightenment.
First, one of the most obvious signs in “Lord of the Flies” that the main character (Ralph) is not seeing reality as it is, is that Ralph is constantly standing on his head. When he first gets to the island, “He patted the palm trunk softly, and, forced to at last believe in the reality of the island, laughed delightedly again and stood on his head”(10). When Ralph stands on his head it symbolizes him literally seeing the world upside down. He is misguided and thinks t…
…ociety certain behaviors that would have otherwise been stifled by society come out which evokes the idea that society subdues ones true identity and consequently blocks the path to illumination. Everyone must ask themselves the same question, at what cost am I willing to attain enlightenment? Hopefully the answer is whatever it takes even if it means destroying society as one knows it to be. For would it not be a better world if everyone knew the truth and were at peace with oneself?
Golding, William. Lord of the flies. New York: Coward-McCann, 1962. Print.
Ma?rquez, Gabriel. “I Only Came To Use The Phone.” Strange pilgrims: twelve stories. New York: Knopf, 1993. 71-91. Print.
“Oscar Wilde Quotes.” BrainyQuote. Xplore, n.d. Web. 7 Nov. 2013. .