Leadership & Civic Ideal

Maggie Sullivan, Logan Sudholz, Hope Seiler, & Olivia Pena


How does fear and desire for acceptance influence human behavior?

Lord of the Flies

In The Lord of the Flies, the boys are deserted on an island. They are afraid, alone, and defenseless. Their fear is evident from the beginning of the book when the beast is first mentioned. The fear of the beast builds throughout the story, and causes the boys to act in strange, inhumane ways. They hunt, paint their faces, and have frenzied dance rituals. These actions take away the fear and reality of being stranded on the island. Towards the end of the book, there is a powerful storm that adds to their fear of the beast. They start to do their hunting dance and chant and get caught up in the frenzy and excitement. The actions of the boys are described as a “desire, thick, urgent, blind.” They would yell “‘Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!’”(152) This chant was one of the most common and disturbing ways they would distract from their fear. The boys ended up murdering one of their friends because they were so afraid that he was the beast emerging from the forest. The intense fear caused them to completely abandon their morals and commit murder.

Pre 9/11- Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a civil rights activist. He led the movement from the mid 1950s until his assassination in 1968. Martin Luther played a crucial role in ending segregation .His famous “I have a dream,”speech took place in August,1963. MLK wanted to emphasize the problems with racism along with creating a better future for his kids. King’s fear that his children would grow up during a period where they were not fully accepted urged him to speak out. MLK’s speech addressed his family, and their future. He said, “I have a dream, that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” This fear of the future and desire for acceptance drove him to take action and make a difference.

Current Event- Jazz Jennings

Jazz Jennings is transgender at age 14. She faces the problems of growing up like any other teenager. She refers to her situation as “complicated.” Since an interview with ABC’s Barbara Walters, Jazz has bravely remained in the spotlight. She speaks publicly on transgender issues and spreads the message of acceptance.“I’m a little bit worried because I’m not sure if people are going to be fully accepting,” she said. “I’ve noticed that boys are less accepting than girls.” The fear of not being accepted has influenced her greatly. Jazz speaks out for others. She wants other transgender kids to feel comfortable in their own body. Growing up transgender has been hard for Jazz, “A lot of people say,’Oh your are the transgender girl,’ and that’s not how I want to be labeled at all. I want to be labeled as Jazz, the girl who just happens to be transgender.” Jazz desires to be accepted alongside with every other teen. She has teamed up with the product “Clean and Clear.” Throughout this campaign Jazz spreads the message of inner beauty, happiness, and courage. She advises teens to branch out and make new friends, “Friends bring happiness, and happiness is the key to life,” stated Jazz. Jazz’s problems with acceptance influence her to act out. She speaks out on the regards of others and remains a teen role model.

Social Sphere- Peer Pressure

Our generation strives to be accepted by others. Teenagers are pressured by their peers to act a certain way or participate in behaviors that is popular among the group. It’s difficult for teens to stand alone, so they compromise their values to fit in and be accepted. 28% of teenagers agreed that giving into peer pressure improved their social standing.

One behavior, pressured greatly among teens today, is the involvement with drugs and alcohol. Out of teenagers ages 15-17, more than 30% of them have drunk alcohol in the past month. Often times, teens have social gatherings, more likely than not, drinking and/or smoking is involved. It is extremely likely that an attending teen would struggle with the internal and external pressure to participate in these actions.The fear of being alone and not being a part of a group, often sways someone to do certain actions.

How do people gain power and control over others?

Lord of the Flies

In The Lord of the Flies, Jack gains power and control over almost all of the boys on the island by bribing and manipulating them. At first, Jack was not the main leader. But soon, he becomes power hungry and desires to be chief. He addresses the boys and says they will “hunt and feast and have fun”(140) in his tribe. The boys are afraid and vulnerable. If they don’t go with Jack, they won’t be able to hunt or have meat. Hunting takes their mind off the harsh reality of their situation. Jack knows that the boys will choose to join him if he makes these promises of fun. He uses their fear to his advantage, and all of the boys join his tribe. Once they are apart of his tribe, Jack uses threats and violence to bestow authority. He ties up and beats one of the boys for no apparent reason. This makes the others even more afraid to disobey him.

Pre 9/11- Formation of American Government

Our country has divided the power of the federal government into three separate powers. There is the executive branch, which includes the president and vice president. The judicial branch is the supreme court.The legislative branch is congress. The people of the United States were afraid that if too much power was given to the federal government, then it would turn into a monarchy, which the citizens had just escaped. So in hope of pleasing the citizens the leaders of the government decided to effectively divide the government. For example, the judicial branch checks the executive branch by being given the power to declare presidential acts unconstitutional. The government gained their control over the people of America, by creating these checks and balances and gaining support of the people. Without the people's support, then the government would have no power and be overruled, as the Declaration of Independence clearly states. It says that the government “deriv[es] their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Current Event- 2016 Presidential Election

The United States is a democracy. The presidential election is only one example of how people can take part in the country’s major decision process, and give leaders power. Presidents are elected every four years.The president's power comes from the people and their support. Donald Trump is a candidate for the 2016 election. He recently strengthened his lead in the Republican standings. His powerful campaign and future ideas, gain him the citizen’s support. If Trump were elected president he has promised to create more jobs. “I’ll be the greatest jobs president that God ever created,” said Trump. Next, Trump has shown America that he is a successful businessman. He has business experience involving negotiation between foreign governments. Donald will also gain support because of his political party and their analogous views. For example he is against gun control. Other citizens that have the same view, may be more likely to vote Trump.Donald Trump is a confident man, he must gain the support of others, before gaining power over the nation.

Social Sphere- Bullies

Individuals can gain power and control over others in a number of ways. People gain power from their peers, who give and allow them to obtain this role. A major reasoning behind this is fear.

For example, a school bully feels powerful because kids may fear him/her. 1 in 4 kids report being bullied in the last year. It’s easier for kids to be with them, than against them, so they stay quiet. A person who remains quiet during bullying is labeled as a bystander. Less than 20% of people who witness bullying, try to stop it. Bullying occurs because of physical descriptions, homelife, and the fear of being bullied themselves.

Another example of gaining power due to fear is the threat of terrorism. 15% of people polled had thought of terrorism in the United States. In our generation today, teens are becoming fearful of terrorist attacks in schools, movie theatres, major cities, and airplanes. This affects people globally. The question remains as to whether or not people will succumb to this fear and let it influence their way of life.