- William Golding
- William Golding’s Fiction
- About Lord of the Flies (Novel)
- Summary | Lord of the Flies
- Analysis of the Lord of the Flies
- Major Questions of Lord of the Flies
Sir William Gerald Golding was an eminent English Fiction writer, dramatist and poet. William Golding was born in Cornwell England (Karenza, maternal House) in 1911. He enjoyed many childhood holidays there. 1911 saw the birth of William Gerald Golding in Cornwall, England. Mildred, his mother, was a fervent advocate for the British suffragette cause.
Alec, his father, was an educator and a fervent supporter of rationalism, the viewpoint that using reason as opposed to reality is the only essential and trustworthy way to learn about and comprehend the universe. Alec carried on the anti-religious tradition of scientific rationalists like T.H. Huxley and H.G. Wells.
This logical perspective was intolerant of emotionally charged experiences, such as Golding’s childhood fear of the dark. His father had a significant impact on him, and up until he left for college, Golding attended the school where his father was a teacher. In accordance with his father’s wishes, Golding spent his first two years at Oxford’s Brasenose College studying physics.
But in his third year, he changed to the literary program, going with his genuine interests. Golding had a childhood dream of writing poetry even if fiction was his preferred genre. At the age of just seven, he started to read Tennyson, and he also immersed himself in the works of Shakespeare. A collection of Golding’s poetry was published at Oxford by Macmillan.
Although Golding ultimately rejected this work as childish, these poems are important because they show his growing mistrust of the rationality he had been raised on by making fun of well-known rationalists and their theories. In 1935, he received a degree in Bachelor of Arts in English and a diploma in Education from Oxford.
From 1935 through 1939, Golding supported himself as a writer, actor, and producer with a little theatre in an out-of-the-way area of London by working as a social worker. Shakespeare and the Greek tragedians, rather than other novelists, were his main literary influences. He regarded the theatre as his greatest literary influence.
In 1939, Golding started teaching Philosophy and English at Salisbury Bishop Wordsworth’s School. He wed Ann Brookfield that same year and the couple had two kids. Except for the five years he served in the Royal Navy during World War II, he kept on teaching until 1961, when he left Bishop Wordsworth’s School to devote himself entirely to writing.
Golding was engaged to Molly Evans from Marlborough, who was liked by both of his parents. He ended up with Molly Evans and married Ann Brookfield, an analytical chemist, on September 30, 1939. He had two kids David, who was born in September 1940, and Judith born in July 1945.
William Golding’s Fiction
The five years that Golding served in the Navy (from 1940 to 1945) had a profound effect on him because they exposed him to the unbelievable cruelty and barbarism that people were capable of. Later, upon reflecting on his military service, he claimed that man produces evil, as a bee produces honey.
Long ago, he abandoned his father’s rationality and the accompanying conviction in the potential for people to reach perfection while still in college. Although Golding’s collection of work uses a range of narrative strategies, the material usually returns to the issue of evil, the struggle between reason’s civilizing impact and mankind’s fundamental desire for dominance.
Golding blended his years of experience working with schoolchildren with his understanding of people in the 1954 novel Lord of the Flies. Despite not being his first book, Lord of the Flies became his first to be published after being turned down by 21 publishers.
Golding utilizes a pristine tropical island as a protected habitat in which a group of marooned British schoolboys live out their worst instincts in order to examine the dichotomy of barbarism and civility in humans. Lads who indulge in their innate anger persecute boys who uphold civilization values. As a result, the book serves as an example of the rationality that Golding’s father promoted failing.
He wrote Poems (1934), Drama (The Barras Butterfly 1958), and novels, Lord of Flies (1954), The Inheritors (1955), Pincher Martin (1956), Free Fall (1959), The Spire (1964), The Pyramid (1967), Darkness Visible (1979) (James Tait Black Memorial Prize), To the Ends of the Earth (trilogy), Rites of Passage (1980) (Booker Prize), Close Quarters (1987), Fire Down Below (1989), The Paper Men (1984), The Double Tongue (posthumous publication 1995)
Although he is most known for his novel Lord of the Flies (1954), he originally published poems before moving on to novels and plays. He received the Booker Prize in 1980 and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1983. As an allegorist, he used his novels as a canvas to portray portraits of man’s ongoing fight between his civilized self and his hidden and dark nature.
William Golding is characterized as a pessimist, mythical, and spiritual writer. With the publication of Lord of the Flies, Golding’s debut novel, he began his career as both a modern classic on college campuses and one of the distinguished highly debated geniuses of the late 20th century.
There are numerous allusions to classical literature, mythology, and Christian symbolism in Golding’s frequently allegorical writing. Golding deals primarily with evil and exhibits what has been called a sort of grim optimism even though there is no clear unifying theme in his works and his approach changes? The Nobel Prize committee summed up Golding’s thesis thus:
[His] books are very entertaining and exciting. They can be read with pleasure and profit without the need to make much effort with learning or acumen. But they have also aroused an unusually great interest in professional literary critics [who find] deep strata of ambiguity and complication in Golding’s work, … in which odd people are tempted to reach beyond their limits, thereby being bared to the very marrow.
The Paper Men (1984), Darkness Visible (1979), The Spire (1964), Free Fall (1959), Pincher Martin (1955), and The Inheritors are only a few of Golding’s other novels (1955). William Golding had the gift of terror as a writer, Joseph; Feeney wrote a eulogy in America. Golding passed away in Cornwall on June 19, 1993 and was buried in a Churchyard cemetery in Bowerchalke, Wiltshire, England.
About Lord of the Flies (Novel)
William Golding’s iconic Lord of the Flies in 1954 is one of the best novels ever written. It is a classic for readers of all ages. The dystopian novel of the noble laureate William Golding allegorizes the tale of schoolboys marooned on an island to explore the inherent brutality of men. The novel had a significant impact on the authors of horror and post-apocalyptic literature.
Lord of the Flies investigates the evil side of humanity and the cruelty that even the most civilized people harbor. The tragic parody of children’s adventure stories was William Golding’s intention, in order to show how inherently terrible people are. He gives the reader a chronology of the incidents that take a group of young boys from hope to calamity as they try to endure their primitive, unsupervised, desolate environment until they are rescued.
The story follows a group of British teenagers’ unsuccessful attempts to rule them while stuck on a deserted island. The conflict between individuality and groupthink, between rational and emotional responses, and between morality and immorality are some of the themes.
The novel, which is regarded as Golding’s debut, received excellent reviews in general. It was listed in the Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels, where it ranked 25th among readers and 41st among editors. It was ranked number 70 on the BBC’s The Big Read survey in 2003, and Time magazine named it one of the top 100 English-language novels of all time in 2005.
It was placed among the top 100 young-adult books of all time and one of the top 100 English-language novels of all time. Lord of the Flies, a widely read novel in schools, notably in English-speaking countries, came in third on a 2016 UK poll asking people to name their favourite school-related books.
Lord of the Flies was rejected by 21 publishers until Faber & Faber decided to publish the 43-year-old schoolmaster’s work, despite the fact that it was that novel that established Golding’s reputation.
Although the plot has been compared to books like Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe and A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes, Golding’s novel is actually the author’s response to the famous children’s book The Coral Island: A Tale of the Pacific Ocean by R.M. Ballantyne from the 19th century.
The basic plots of these two books are the same; while some of the character names are even similar (two of the lead characters are named Ralph and Jack in both books). There, however, is no longer any similarity.
Summary | Lord of the Flies
A British plane crashes on or near an uninhabited island in a distant area of the Pacific Ocean while carrying out a wartime evacuation. Boys who are in their middle childhood or early adolescence are the sole survivors. Ralph, a youngster with fair hair, and Piggy, a big boy, find a conch, which Ralph uses as a horn to gather the survivors to one spot.
Using the conch, Ralph instantly asserts himself as the boys’ “chief” and gives them orders. He sets up three major rules: to enjoy, to stay alive, and to keep up a smoke signal that could warn passing ships of their existence. Ralph helps Jack, a child with red hair, and Simon, a quiet boy, use Piggy’s spectacles to start a signal fire.
As the majority of the boys become lazy and ignore Ralph’s efforts to make life on the island better, the appearance of order begins to disintegrate. They all progressively begin to believe that there is a creature on the island that they call the “beast,” which causes them all to become paranoid.
Ralph is unable to persuade the boys that there is no beast, but Jack wins support by promising to personally hunt and kill the monster. At one point, Jack gathers the boys together to hunt down a wild pig, leaving the boys tasked with keeping the signal fire away. A ship that was passing by the island is not attracted by the smoke signal that is sent out.
When Jack fails to keep the signal going, Ralph approaches him angrily, but the other boys ignore him. Disheartened with his position as leader, Ralph considers resigning, but Piggy convinces him otherwise. One night, while the boys are sleeping, a fighter pilot is shot out of his plane and dies in the descent during an aerial battle near the island. His corpse falls onto the island in his parachute and becomes entangled in a tree. The pilot’s corpse is mistaken for the beast by twin boys, Sam and Eric. Later, when Ralph, Jack, and a melancholy boy named Roger explore the corpse, they run away because they mistakenly think the beast is real.
Jack convenes a meeting and attempts to persuade the other boys to side with Ralph, but he initially fails; he storms off by himself to create his own tribe, and eventually, the majority of the other boys join him. Simon frequents the island’s jungle to spend time alone. While he is there, Jack and his companions erect an offering to the beast nearby one day: a pig’s head put on a pointed stick and covered in flies.
Simon makes up a conversation with the head, which he refers to as the “Lord of the Flies,” in his mind. The head informs Simon that there is no beast on the island and foresees a backlash from the other boys. Ralph and Piggy discover that Jack’s tribe has started face painting and performing ancient ceremonial dances when they go to see them that night. Simon quickly descends to inform Jack’s tribe after learning that the “beast” is actually the pilot who died.
Simon is killed by the furious boys, who mistake him for the beast and include Ralph and Piggy. Since the guys have no other way to ignite a fire, Jack and his rebel group decide to take Piggy’s spectacles. They break into Ralph’s tent, steal the glasses, and then depart for Castle Rock, where they live. Ralph travels to Castle Rock with Piggy, Sam, and Eric in order to face Jack and get the glasses after being abandoned by the majority of his followers.
Roger sets up a trap that kills Piggy and breaks the conch when the lads reject Ralph. Ralph is able to flee, but Roger tortures Sam and Eric until they choose to join Jack’s tribe. That evening, Ralph confronts Sam and Eric covertly. They inform him that Jack intends to hunt him down like a pig and behead him. Ralph just avoids the hunters as Jack’s tribe sets the woodland on fire the next morning.
Ralph stumbles and falls in front of a uniformed adult, a British navy commander, whose crew has arrived to examine the fire, after a protracted chase. The boys start crying over the “loss of innocence,” including Ralph, Jack, and the others. The officer turns to face his warship after expressing his disgust at the British boys’ wild, combative behaviour.
Analysis of the Lord of the Flies
The battle between both Ralph and Jack is the main conflict in Lord of the Flies. Peaceful democracies, represented by Ralph, and a vicious dictatorship, represented by Jack, are at odds in the struggle for control of the island. Although Jack initially reluctantly accepts Ralph’s leadership, as the story progresses their rivalry rises and escalates until it is a fight to the death.
Both boys are potential leaders of the entire gang. Boys who associate with Ralph, Jack, or both of them reflect many morals and facets of human nature. Ralph stands for decency, duty, reason, and protecting the weak, while Jack is a symbol of violence, cruelty, mob rule, tyranny, and control by fear.
The narrative seems to be demonstrating to us that humanity’s violent and barbaric urges are stronger than civilization, which is inherently fragile, as we observe Ralph’s control over the other boys wane and shatter until he is expelled and persecuted. A global conflict highlights the idea that civilization itself is being threatened by the forces of violence, even though Ralph is saved at the last second by a figure who stands for civilization in the form of the navy officer.
The novel is set against the background of WWII, and is both a warning against the specific effects of nuclear arms and a deeper study of human nature and the unstable influence of man in nature. The novel gives the specific account of a small group struggling against nature and one another a feeling of inevitability and universality by narrating the story via the experience of young boys separated from the rest of civilization and making few references to the world outside the boundaries of the island.
By using the two main characters as symbols of two different social ideologies, Golding develops a struggle that initially looks to be headed towards one of the characters’ demise but is instead settled by the unexpected appearance of the outside, “adult” reality. In this way, the previous incidents serve as an allegory for the more important and deadly deeds of a man outside the island.
The novel takes place immediately after the plane crash that lands the lads on the island; therefore the inciting incident for the story takes place off-stage. Ralph, who is described as graceful and visually alluring, and Piggy, who is described as Ralph’s physical opposite, is introduced to the reader at the beginning.
The guys find a conch and use it to call the other crash survivors, introducing us to Jack, who is already in charge of a group of boys and seems confident. Despite the fact that “the most evident leadership was Jack,” the guys select Ralph to lead the group in part because Ralph is in possession of the conch. The two form a bond as they explore the island together after Jack reluctantly accepts Ralph’s leadership.
Ralph is in charge of communication and working to get them saved, while Jack will be in charge of hunting for meat. Jack asserts himself after the humiliation of losing the vote for chief by slamming his knife into a tree and announcing that he will be the hunter. Which of these two roles is more important will be the source of escalating conflict between the two for the remainder of the book.
The novel’s rising action occurs throughout the chapters that follow, as each child on the island begins to define his place in the newly constituted society and Jack and Ralph come into sharper conflict over what the group should prioritize and where they should put their energies. Ralph was sure that a signal fire must be kept going at all times in case any ships pass the island.
He also thinks that watching the fire, creating shelters, and gathering fruit are all best done in groups. As Jack grows to love hunting, he kills a pig while letting the signal fire go, which causes a fight with Ralph because Ralph saw a ship pass while the fire was out. The younger lads on the island express rising anxiety about a monster they think stalks them at night.
In a scene that the reader witnesses but none of the boys are present, a paratrooper crashes onto the summit of the mountain. The boys then mistake his appearance for the beast, which heightens their fears and leaves them open to Jack’s interpretation that killing pigs equates to overcoming those fears, as their chants switch from kill the pig to kill the beast.
The tension between Jack and Ralph approaches a breaking point after the boys brutally kill Simon. The book’s climax happens when Jack and his tribe steal Piggy’s glasses and kill Piggy when he goes to get them back. Both Ralph and Piggy believe Jack’s tribe is after the conch when they steal the glasses, but Jack realizes the conch has lost most of its symbolic significance by this stage and that the glasses, which are needed to start a fire, are the real valuables.
This downgrading of the conch shows that the established ideals of democracy and fair process are no longer valid and that the lads’ flimsy society is crumbling. The following day, when Piggy and Ralph are attempting to collect Piggy’s glasses, a tribesman from Jack’s tribe lets loose a massive boulder, which smashes the conch and kills Piggy. The democracy is destroyed, and Jack’s autocratic monarchy is firmly established.
Ralph runs from Jack and his tribe, who have become bloodthirsty and more and more vicious under his destructive influence, realizing that his life is already in immediate danger. Up till now, the lads have managed to preserve a precarious equilibrium, with Ralph controlling the means of starting the fire and the conch’s symbolic significance counteracting Jack’s readiness to use violence.
Ralph is helpless once this equilibrium is upset and Jack has control over the mechanisms for maintaining the fire and maintaining the boys’ subservience to his authority. Jack is willing to exercise external influence on those who disobey him and leads by force to persuasion, in contrast to Ralph, who anticipates that the lads will be innately motivated to work together.
The lads pursue Ralph across the island despite the fact that he poses no threat, driven by the fear of Jack’s wrath and a mob mentality. Even the Samneric twins, who at first sympathized with Ralph, finally turn to Jack after he tortures them to expose Ralph’s hiding place. To get Ralph out of the bush, the lads start a fire, which alerts a passing ship. The boys come to terms with the horrors they have witnessed and helped to perpetuate when the ship’s officer returns to civilization and comes ashore. The lads are saved but left scarred by their glances into “the depths of man’s heart,” and the book concludes with the island destroyed.
Major Questions of Lord of the Flies
What important themes are discussed in Lord of the Flies, explain them.
A theme is a unified concept that appears in all or in some parts of a work of literature. It contains the main idea the author intends to convey to his readers. A complex literary work with many layered themes is Lord of the Flies. The famous book Lord of the Flies has been made compulsory in schools for many years.
This book is definitely worth picking up and reading, even if you’re not obligated to. In addition to being a fantastic story, the Lord of the Flies themes also deliver strong messages. The next section talks about a few of the overarching topics.
Loss of Innocence
One of the main issues of Lord of the Flies, the loss of innocence, is made explicitly in retrospect when Ralph laments for the end of innocence near the conclusion of the novel. When the lads are first left on the island alone, they act like young children, alternately loving their freedom and showing intense homesickness and anxiety.
However, by the book’s end, they have adopted the warlike attitudes of the Home Counties’ elders and are willing to attack, torment, and even kill one another. The boys’ loss of innocence on the island influences and parallels their ascent into savagery, and it is reminiscent of the biblical account of the Fall of Man from Paradise.
In light of all this, the island is portrayed in the first few chapters as a sort of utopia with picturesque landscapes, fresh fruit, and perfect weather. The urge of corrupting is present, just as it was in the biblical Eden: the younger boys are terrified of a snake thing. The snake thing is the first manifestation of the beast that could eventually cause suspicion and strife in the community.
Furthermore, it makes a direct reference to the snake from the Garden of Eden that represents Satan as well as being responsible for Adam and Eve’s fall from grace. The boys’ growing faith in the beast is indeed a sign of their gradual innocence loss that leads to catastrophe. In addition, Ralph’s description of the ocean tide as an impenetrable wall and the storm that occurs after Simon’s death indicate that the island’s landscape changes from an Edenic to a hellish one. Another illustration of how the boys’ loss of innocence is reflected in the island’s natural setting is the wooded glade where Simon hides in Chapter 3.
Simon initially thinks the clearing to be serene and lovely, but upon his return, he discovers The Lord of the Flies impaled in its middle, a poignant illustration of how youthful purity has been tainted by fear and violence. Piggy, Ralph, and littluns stand for purity.
The loss of innocence is apparent in Piggy’s death and Ralph’s escape from Jack and his hunters out of fear of death. The young boys initially took on the role of hunters in a symbolic manner. But after killing Piggy, they turn on Ralph later on in the novel. They thus turn into hunters of human life. Their innocence is now lost in the turmoil at this point.
Savagery vs Civilization
The main battle in Lord of the Flies is between the standards of civilization, which are meant to restrain and lessen human barbarism, and the human inclination toward savagery. Ralph and Jack’s battle, who stand in for civilization and savagery, respectively, illustrates the conflict throughout the entire novel.
The different views each boy has toward authority are an expression of their different beliefs. Jack was seeking to gain control over the other boys so as to satisfy his most primitive cravings while Ralph utilizes his authority to set regulations, safeguard the group’s well-being, and enforce the moral and ethical standards of the English society the boys were reared in.
When Jack takes charge of his own tribe, the other boys are forced to submit to him completely and treat him like an idol. Jack’s thirst for power implies that savagery is more like a totalitarian system of exploitation and illegitimate power than it is like anarchy.
It is important to interpret Golding’s emphasis on the harmful effects of barbarism as a clear support of civilization. He makes the suggestion that among the crucial roles of civilized society is to give each person a means of expressing their innately wild desires in the book’s opening chapters.
For instance, Jack’s initial intention to slaughter pigs to prove his bravery is diverted into the hunt, which gives the group much-needed food. Jack is not a danger to the other guys as long as he abides by social norms; his urges are being diverted into a useful activity.
The conch shell that is connected to Ralph, and The Lord of the Flies, which is connected to Jack, are two of the novel’s key symbols that also convey the gap between civilized life and barbarism. The conch shell is a potent symbol of democracy on the island, attesting to both Ralph’s elected leadership and the lads’ collective strength. However, the conch shell loses significance as the dispute between Ralph and Jack intensifies.
Jack claims that the conch is useless as a representation of power and order and that its diminishing significance denotes the island’s waning civilization. At the same time, The Lord of the Flies which is an offer to an island’s legendary “beast,” gains significance as a representation of savagery’s rule and Jack’s dominance over the other youngsters. By the end of the novel, the island’s dominant social structure is barbarism which has fully replaced civilization.
Community vs Individualism
The role of the individual within society is one of Lord of the Flies’ major themes. The boys’ implicit devotion to the principle of self-interest over the principle of community is the root cause of many of the issues on the island, including the extinguishing of the signal fire, the scarcity of shelters, the pervasive abandonment of Ralph’s camp, and the murder of Piggy.
The boys would prefer to pursue their individual goals than work together to form a cohesive society, which would call for everyone to act in the group’s best interest. In this way, Jack and Ralph represent the concepts of independence and community, respectively. Jack wants to “have fun” on the island and feed his bloodlust, while Ralph wants to ensure the group’s rescue, which they can only accomplish by working together.
Ralph’s plan is the most sensible, but it involves work and sacrifice from the other lads, so they rapidly neglect their social obligations in favour of pursuing their own goals. The boys choose to play instead of building shelters, and when Jack’s hunters neglect to put out the signal fire on time, it is put out.
Of course, the boys’ self-centeredness reaches its zenith when they choose to join Jack’s tribe, a society without collective ideals whose allure is that Jack will provide them with complete independence. The immense attraction of a society based on personal autonomy and self-interest is reflected in the popularity of Jack’s tribe, but as the reader will quickly discover, the freedom Jack grants his community is deceptive.
Jack controls his boys’ behaviour significantly more than Ralph did, and he does so by enforcing harsh and unreasonable regulations. Thus, Golding believes in a social system of some kind is better than one based solely on self-interest and that complete individual freedom is an unattainable ideal to uphold within a group dynamic that will always trend toward the societal structure. Of course, the tough question is what people are prepared to give up in order to benefit from group membership.
The Elements of Evil
Is evil a part of the human spirit by nature, or does it come from somewhere else? What part do societal norms and structures play in the persistence of evil among humans? Do people have different capacities for evil, or does it depend on the circumstances each person finds themselves in?
These issues are at the core of Lord of the Flies, which presents a complex articulation of humanity’s evil capacity through detailed illustrations of the boys’ various reactions to their circumstances. It is significant to note that Golding rejects supernatural or religious explanations for the origins of human evil in his book.
The novel emphasizes that this interpretation is not only incorrect but also, ironically, the cause of the boys’ increasing violence and cruelty. The boys view the “beast” as an embodiment of evil similar to the Christian concept of Satan. The boys’ irrational fear of the beast informs their paranoia, causes a fatal split between Jack and Ralph and their respective followers, and keeps them from accepting and dealing with the obligation of their own impulses.
However, the novel does not entirely discount human beings’ capacity for good. Evil impulses may be present in everyone’s psyche, but how strong they are and how well they can be controlled seems to vary from person to person. The book depicts a spectrum of evil through its various characters, from Jack and Roger, who are eager to use violence and cruelty, to Ralph and Simon, who find it difficult to control their inclinations toward savagery.
We might observe that the characters that most successfully fight against their evil tendencies do so by making reference to moral or social norms. As an illustration, Ralph and Piggy insist that Piggy’s glasses be returned because it is the right thing to do. While evil may exist in all of us, according to Golding, it can be effectively suppressed by externally imposed societal standards or internally internalized moral ideals that we determine are essentially “good.”
But Lord of the Flies’ unclear and profoundly sarcastic ending raises questions about society’s influence on the development of evil. The navy officer is involved in a terrible conflict that caused the boys’ plane to crash on the island and that is mirrored by the civil war among some of the survivors. Lord of the Flies doesn’t provide a definitive answer to this query, leaving readers to reflect on the nuanced connections between society, morality, and human nature.
Nature vs Man
In Lord of the Flies, the ideal connection between man and nature is raised. The boys express varying views toward nature as a result of being thrust into the island’s entirely uninhabited natural environment, which reflects their individual personalities and ideological leanings.
Three categories can be used to describe how the boys interact with the natural world: tyranny over nature, coexistence with nature, and servitude to nature. Jack, whose first urge on the island is to track, hunt, and kill pigs, represents the first category, the enslavement of nature. He attempts to force his human will on nature, bringing it under his control.
Later actions by Jack, particularly starting the forest fire, reveal his growing disrespect for the environment as well as his militaristic, violent mentality. The second type, harmony with nature, is represented by Simon, who initially retreated to the solitary forest glade as he finds beauty and serenity there. Simon believes that nature is not man’s enemy but rather a necessary aspect of life.
Ralph represents the third category, which is obedience to nature and represents the polar opposite of Jack’s viewpoint. Ralph, unlike Simon, does not experience a peaceful coexistence with nature; instead, like Jack, he views it as a barrier to the continuation of human life on the island. Ralph, on the other hand, chooses to withdraw from nature in response to this imagined conflict, while Jack acts destructively toward plants and animals.
He stays on the beach, the most populated area of the island, and does not join Simon on his forays into the forest’s remote wilderness or during the hunting season. Ralph’s desire to avoid engaging in outdoor activities emphasizes both his reluctance to tempt danger and his fondness for civilization, just like Jack’s hunting reveals his aggressive nature to the other boys and the reader.
Mistreat of relationship
Their growing inability to recognize someone else’s humanity is one of the effects of the boys’ fall into savagery in Lord of the Flies. Golding suggests that the boys can no longer tell themselves apart from the pigs they are hunting and killing for sport and sustenance throughout the entire book through using imagery.
After the first successful pig hunt, the hunters recreate the hunt in Chapter 4 using Maurice as a stand-in for the unfortunate pig. The similarities between humans and animals become more apparent in this dramatized episode, even though it is merely a dramatization.
Several of the boys repeat the ritual in Chapter Seven while hunting the beast, substituting Robert for the pig; this time, though, they become engulfed in a state of “frenzy” and come dangerously close to killing him. Jack quips in the same scene that if they don’t kill a pig the next time, they can kill a baby instead.
The boys’ habitual replacement of boy for pig in their ritualistic games and discourse draws attention to the negative effects of their self-centered behaviour: because they are only interested in satisfying their own base desires, the boys are no longer able to view each other as anything other than objects that are subject to their individual wills.
The boys’ ability to hurt and kill one another grows as they kill more pigs. This mistreatment process is aided by the treatment of the pigs poorly. The early instances of verbal or physical pig-swapping of boys for pigs, like in the hunting dance, also hint at the tragic events of the book’s later chapters, particularly the killings of Simon and Piggy and the attempt on Ralph’s life.
The other boys mistake Simon for “the beast,” a mythological inhuman creature that provides an outlet for the kids’ dread and misery. Simon is a character that is identified with the natural terrain he has an affinity for from the beginning of the book. When the other boys won’t call him anything other than “Piggy,” Golding establishes the character as one whose humanity is, in the eyes of the other boys, ambiguous.
Piggy’s name links him symbolically to the wild pigs on the island, the immediate target of Jack’s violent impulses. Simon and Piggy’s deaths serve as a stark reminder of the boys’ complete descent into savagery. The boys have blended into the prey they stalk and kill, both literally (Simon) and figuratively (Piggy).
The Negative Effects of War
Lord of the Flies is a metaphor for Cold War in addition to its other excitations. As a result, it is very concerned with how conflict affects people personally and negatively affects social ties. The novel’s action takes place in a hypothetical nuclear conflict between England and “the Reds,” which was a codename for communists at the time it was written during the Cold War.
Thus, Golding depicts the non-violent conflicts that were developing in the 1950s as reaching a fatal clash, a literary technique that frames the book as a warning against the risks of ideological, or “cold,” warfare turning hot. Additionally, we could see the fight between the island’s youths as a representation of that between the democratic forces of the West and the communist presence in China, Eastern Europe, and the Soviet Union.
(The Cultural Revolution in China had not yet taken place, but the communist revolution was still recent in Western minds.) Tragically, Jack, a figure who represents a military dictatorship akin to how the West views communist leaders like Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong, battles with Ralph, an expression of democracy.
Jack also visually evokes the “Reds” in the novel’s fictitious world and the actual U.S.S.R., whose official colours were red and black, by sporting a black cape and cap and having fiery red hair. The reader observes the perilous effects of ideological struggle as the youngsters’ stress erupts in blood.
The appearance of the naval commander at the story’s finale emphasizes these allegorical aspects. The officer is indicative of the harsh Jack because he represents war and a militaristic attitude. The officer is also English, connecting him to the Cold War’s democratic side—a side that the book strongly promotes.
The officer’s presence has ominous repercussions: Golding contends that even a war fought in the name of civilization can bring people to a state of barbarism. The boys cry in the novel’s final scene as they mourn the loss of their innocence, drawing readers into the boys’ agony. The boys embody the period’s wartime inclinations, despite their immaturity and lack of instruction.
How is symbolism used in Lord of the Flies?
Symbolism is the language of mysteries. By symbols, men have ever sought to communicate to each other those thoughts which transcend the limitations of language.
In order to make the island’s society match that of the outside world, William Golding employs a great deal of symbolism. Golding illustrates how humans when freed from society’s laws and taboos, allow their capacity for evil to control their existence by using symbols like the title, the conch shell, the signal fire, the island, the parachutist, the beast, Piggy’s specs, and the novel’s key characters.
The conch shell is one of the most significant symbols of this novel. The conch shell represents power, democracy, and proper conduct. The conch shell is more than “just a symbol of order,” according to C.B. Cox (p. 170). The destruction of the conch shell signals the end of all civilized behaviour and rules. The conch shell loses importance among the lads as the island’s civilization crumbles and they become more savage.
Because the rules are the only thing we’ve got.
If you don’t blow, we’ll soon be animals anyway.
He can hold it when he’s speaking
Another symbol is fire. It stands for the beginning of mankind and also symbolizes hope, salvation, and rescue. It also serves as a communication tool. However, there is also a negative to the fire. It demonstrates how humans want to manipulate nature by destroying it.
There’s only one thing we can do to get out of this mess.
We can help them to find us.
I wonder how far off you could see that.
The Lord of the Flies is a metaphor for the beast’s ferocity and danger. It has a connection to the pig’s head symbol. Simon thinks the Lord of the Flies is speaking to him in one chapter and explaining the nature of evil.
Both a physical representation of the beast and a representation of Satan himself, it serves a dual purpose. The head is referred to as “The Lord of the Flies,” which is another moniker for Beelzebub (the name of the devil in the Bible). “This head is for the beast,” declares Golding. (Golding, 140) It’s a gift.
The island initially symbolizes the Garden of Eden, and subsequently, once the boys come, it symbolizes the fallen state of humanity. It also serves as a mini version of the planet.
We may stay here till we die.
Perhaps there aren’t any grown-ups anywhere.
Then gradually the almost infinite size of this water forced
Itself on his attention
Jack’s change in personality is made clear by the dazzling painting. He is wearing a mask going forward to absolve Jack of any blame for the events that occur. The painting, which Ralph refers to as war paint, demonstrates the singing group’s warrior-like status.
Jack’s supporters must be obedient, obey their leader’s legislation, and uphold discipline and order like soldiers. The boys have lost all sense of identity because they are only employed as hunters, or “the boys with the stick.” Everyone must act and appear the same.
The boys’ and all of humanity’s underlying ferocity is the beast. The boys make it into a gigantic snake and mistake a fallen paratrooper for it. The only boy who recognizes that it is a deceased parachutist is Simon.
The parachutist serves as a reminder of war and mature wickedness. The dead parachutist is referred to by Cox as “a symbol of adult evil” (171).
If only they could send us something grown-up, a sign or something.
But a sign came down from the world of grown-ups,
Though at the time there was no child awake to read it.
The tangle of lines showed him the mechanics of this parody.
When the boys murder Simon while he tries to tell them the truth about the beast, they demonstrate that “adult evil” is “part of themselves” (Cox, 171).
In the novel, Piggy’s spectacles have a significant part to play. It stands for knowledge and wisdom. The boys use it to concentrate on the sun and ignite the fire. The glasses that Piggy is wearing also have significant meaning.
The view through which good and evil are discerned can likewise be viewed through Piggy’s spectacles. This interpretation results from the fact that Piggy wears his spectacles to judge what is right, bad, safe, or harmful as well as to see. When Piggy loses his glasses, he also loses his ability to see clearly and make judgments.
Additionally, Golding employs symbolism in the story’s numerous characters. Ralph, Piggy, Jack, as well as Simon, is indeed the three key characters in Golding’s novel. Each of these people has a significant part to play in the book.
Ralph stands for the rule of law, organized society, and morality. Ralph shows a sign of becoming a leader as the plot develops. It is he who finds that conch and arranges that when there is a meeting he who holds the conch shell speaks (Forester, 228).
The pig represents morals and knowledge. We find out that Piggy is the brains of the party as the book goes on (Forester, 228). We can use this to call the others, Piggy suggested after he and Ralph discovered the conch. Organize a meeting. (15) Golding Piggy’s intelligent style of thinking is demonstrated by this. Piggy is compared to Socrates, the voice of reason by David Spitz (173).
Jack stands for chaos. Jack is referred to by Spitz as an authorian man and is compared to “Hitler and Mussolini” by the authoritarians (173). Jack’s look is also discussed by Spitz, who describes him as a “Satanic figure with his red hair and black cape” (173).
Simon is an example of goodness. Simon portrays the Christ-like figure in the book. Golding himself refers to Simon as a saint in an interview (Kermode, 219). “Like Moses, then, he comes down from the mountain carrying the truth” when he realizes that the beast is the dead parachutist (Spitz, 172).
In conclusion, we can suggest that William Golding employs so much symbolism in Lord of the Flies that many critics concur that it is an allegory—a piece of writing with a double meaning (Wheeler).
These images stand for various parts of the inescapable transition from civilization and happiness to primitivism and instinct that takes place when humans are placed in settings devoid of overt control.
Lord of the Flies is an allegorical novel. Explain it in detail.
It was 29 years before Golding won the Nobel Prize for literature that Lord of the Flies, then known as The Strangeness Within, was first published. It is a parody of the boys’ adventure novel Ballantyne’s Coral Island.
Three castaway boys cherish their lovely memories of their carefree days on Ballantyne’s Coral Island. However, Golding paints a very depressing, miserable picture of life in his book. It’s been noted by Golding that his book is not about adventures or happiness. He claims.
Ballantyne’s island was a nineteenth-century island inhabited by English boys; mine was to be a twentieth-century island inhabited by English boys
According to C.B. Cox, Golding has refined the skill of creating a modern metaphor in Lord of the Flies. The novel is an excellent retelling of R.M. Ballantyne’s Coral Island. A group of young boys was shot down during an atomic war. Now they get stranded on an island in the Pacific.
In contrast to the boys in the Ballantyne story, who recall their experience of the island as a peaceful vacation after a series of exciting experiences, the boys in Lord of the Flies fight right away, and their attempts to establish an orderly, just society fail.
On one level, the narrative demonstrates how sadism (Roger) and the allure of fascism will always triumph against intelligence (Piggy) and common sense (Ralph) in society (Jack). On another hand, the boys’ increasing barbarism serves as an illustration of the influence of original sin.
In a horrifying tribal dance, Simon, the Christ figure, is slain while attempting to reassure the boys that their worries over a deceased parachutist are unfounded. Jack props up a pig’s head on a pole like. The Lord of the Flies to appease a mythical beast. Simon realizes that the boys themselves contain the only dangerous animal—the real Lord of the Flies. The Old Testament refers to Beelzebub as the Lord of the Flies.
The Lord of the Flies sheds insight into the innermost aspects of the human psyche. The Novel is a fable of life in the second half of the 20th century, the nuclear age when civilization appears to have matured technologically but human morality is still in its adolescent years.
As said, Lord of the Flies fulfils the anti-Puritan dream. People celebrated their independence when the Puritans lost control of the government. Later, this uncontrolled freedom drove civilization toward depravity. This was made clear in the literature, particularly in works from the restoration era.
A religious metaphor is used throughout the novel, particularly through the character Simon. Except for Simon, no other figure serves exclusively as a metaphor. The title of the book is derived from the Jewish hierarchy of demons, in which Beelzebub is known as “Lord of the Flies.”
The island’s beauty and abundance of delectable food bring to mind the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve once dwelt contentedly. When Jack the allegoric serpent tempts other lads by tempting them with flesh and turning them against Ralph, heaven becomes hell. However, Simon acts as the redeemer. Simon represents religion.
Golding’s colourful, inventive writing style reflects this belief in the significance of our experiences in this world. He responds to the mystery of nature, with its peculiar beauty and extraordinary variety, in a fresh and joyful way. The conch that Ralph and Piggy find in the lagoon and use to summon the kids to assembly is more than just a representation of discipline.
With its beautiful embossed pattern and harsh sound that reverberates off the pink granite of the mountain, Golding captures the peculiar allure of the shell right away. We experience the pain that comes with any object of extraordinary beauty being broken when it breaks the conch toward the end of the story.
Our emotional response to the thing itself serves as a reflection of the symbolic meaning, which is that justice and order’s beauty are now at an end. The incident is a thrilling plot point and a shocking conclusion to Simon’s murder. At the same time, the deceased parachutist represents to the kids the beast, a representation of adult evil that they have demonstrated via their own act of murder to be a part of them.
In the middle of their furious dancing, the boys in the mock hunt mistake him for a beast and kill him. Christ, the Savior of Humanity, was also executed for proclaiming the message of truth. As a result, virtue, wisdom, and reason are killed, and evil emerges triumphant.
The protagonist, a grown-up “child,” flies to slit the throats of his pals, illustrating how the tragedy is not just that of a few boys but rather one of humanity as a whole. The civilization that mankind is proud of is mocked by Golding. It is merely a flimsy outer covering that hides the true essence of people during times of adversity and allows that nature to come into full view.
The island itself is designed like a boat, and the boys represent all of humanity as they travel through life. The island has the allure of a recently discovered paradise in the early scenes. However, the frightening fire soon changes the island, and reality replaces fiction.
The mirages grow familiar to the kids, who “disregarded them, just the same as they ignored the amazing, pulsing stars,” and they start to fear that this is not a good island. In our eyes, the splendor of paradise on earth becomes stale. In the end, they leave “the flaming wreckage of the island,” whose beauty has been diminished by their presence.
The bio-political or post-political society depicted in Lord of the Flies makes “security” the holiest organizing principle. The two “clans” the boys form on the island—those commanded by Ralph and Jack—explain the opposing facets of society. The group Ralph leads represents the institutionalized portion of society where people follow the law and peace is upheld.
The other section depicts society’s sinister underbelly, where a thought of sin and depravity takes place. The conflict is between democratic utopianism and fascist violence, with World War II as the backdrop, and between society and the mob. While Jack is a doppelganger or downplayed representation of fascist leaders, Ralph, the just leader, appeals to reason and order. Boys in choirs stand for blind followers.
As a representation of a reality Ralph wishes to escape, this monster becomes a part of Ralph’s consciousness. The breathtakingly accurate depiction of the approaching tide epitomizes all the beauty of the earth, which offers an eternal reward to those who suffer, as the waters creep towards Simon’s body in the moonlight.
Ralph sees the water as a symbol of the universe’s insensitivity, but this is only one perspective on it. The numerous aesthetics of the tide assure us that creation was no accident and that once our suffering and confusion are ended, a healing power of immense beauty will put an end to all issues.
The exquisite beauty of the waves is an astonishing embodiment of the wonder of creation, with real life in our consciousness, rather than just a nice arrangement of matter and light. It seems unfathomable that Simon’s sacrifice had no final value as his body drifts out to sea beneath the delicate yet firm lifting of the tide.
The story is an allegorical novel that finally depicts the struggle between civilization and barbarism. However, it is actually more deeply about the struggle between the id (Jack) pleasure principle and the ego (Ralph) truth principle, as well as the superego (Simon) morality principle. Their drama and conflict represent the inevitable failure of all attempts to impose a long-lasting civilization on human inclinations.
Justify the title of the novel Lord of the Flies.
Lord of the Flies is an appropriate name for this novel by Golding, as it provides a clear indication of the novel’s central topic. The title indicates that the novel was written with an allegorical intent. Beelzebub, who is named in both the Old and New Testaments, is the Lord of the Flies.
Milton chose the name Beelzebub, the prince of demons, for one of his fallen angels. The fact is that this title of a novel suggests that evil or a conflict between the forces of evil and the forces of good will be the focus of the plot. Indeed, the conflict is the core concept of this specific story.
Lord of the Flies depicts Beelzebub, an alternative name for Satan. He is sometimes referred to as the Lord of Filth and Garbage. The baby’s increasing filthiness throughout the story reflects their inner condition. As their barbarism and evil increase, they search for a symbol to adore, a deity.
When Jack and his fellow hunters kill a boar, they seize their chance and leave the pig’s head on a spike as an offering to the animal. The head will soon decay and become infested with insects.
The Lord of the Flies’ head serves as a symbol of the depravity and barbarism of Jack’s band of hunters. At the conclusion of the novel, Ralph, disgusted, smashes the boar’s head to the ground and grabs the stick to use as a spear. He recognizes the darkness that surrounds him in the form of Jack and strives to eradicate it.
In the eighth chapter, when Simon is alone in the jungle, the phrase Lord of the Flies first appears. From his hiding place in the forest, he observes the fly-covered head of a dead pig killed by Jack and his hunting party. Jack severed the Sow’s head and presented it as an appeasement offering to the beast. This is a “gift for the night.” Simon has studied Jack and his hunters and concludes that the Sow’s head is Beelzebub, the lord of the flies.
He has the impression that its head from Lord of the Flies is speaking to him. It frustrates Simon that he cannot escape him, the beast because he is a part of everyone and responsible for all of their troubles. He constantly threatens Simon till he finally passes out. This hallucination is explained at the end of Chapter 8, and it explains both the novel’s title and the story’s allegorical relevance.
When the head of the pig is hung from a stick, it turns into a symbol of fear. The title Lord of the Flies is a rendition of the Arabic term Baal-zebub, which is the name of a devil. The pig’s head symbolizes the evil of irrationality. The flies that swarm around the sow’s stomach are instinctual animals that represent the lads’ dominant basic urges. Lord of the Flies requests Simon to go. Simon maintains that the Lord of the Flies is nothing more than a pig’s head on a stick.
In reality, this entire scenario is indicative of the fight between man’s highest and lowest instincts. Lord of the Flies explains why the boys are incapable of hunting or killing the beast. Moreover, Lord of the Flies states:
You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you?
It explains why the civilization of boys is a complete failure. The destructive factor resides within the boys. Golding wishes to convey that no matter what you call evil – devil, sin, neurosis, hatred, aggression, or cruelty – the truth is that evil resides within man. The symbolic confrontation between Simon and the lord of the flies reflects the struggle between good and evil, which exists in every individual.
As Simon and lord of the flies represent universal tendencies, each of the other characters stands for a single trait cruelty, destructiveness, creativity or intellect that exists to a greater or lesser degree in every individual. All the man’s traits, Ralph’s adventure and common sense, Piggy’s intellectualism, Simon’s religious feelings and mystical behaviour, Roger’s instinct for torture and Jack’s inclination towards destruction are inherent to him, and it is man’s moral outlook that determines the direction where these traits are oriented.
These are all present as impulses in man. The narrative challenges the assumption that the naturally decent man is the innocent and helpless victim of social processes over which he has no control. To add insult to injury, Golding also disapproves of Rousseau’s noble savage; according to him, while man is naturally good, he seems to be a vulnerable victim of society from the moment of his conception.
In the first volume, Genesis (Old Testament), Golding takes the Biblical view of human nature, where Adam and Eve are shown to have caused their own downfall via disobedience (also known as original sin). Theologians think that all people are sinful and bad since Adam and Eve were sinful. From this perspective, sin is innate to human nature and not the result of social conditioning, and hence every man enters the world already tainted by it.
This is why Golding thinks mankind fell. Golding, however, doesn’t just subscribe to the Christian worldview on the subject of religion. Human Ego was his main area of interest. His second book, The Inheritors, also explores the understanding of the primordial mind. Because “the faults of human nature” form society, there is no way, in his opinion, to fix man’s social ills, he says.
The inherent wickedness in man is something he can’t help but dwell on. He is completely vulnerable to social pressures and must be managed from the outside. When he is finally left to his own devices, much like the boys here on the island, he becomes vicious. Like Conrad, Golding reveals the shadowy side of contemporary man. His idealized human is the European Neanderthal of 12,000 years ago. Golding expresses it this way:
I decided to take the literary convention of the boys on an island only to make them real boys instead of paper cut-outs with no life in them and tried to show how the shape of the society they evolved would be conditioned by their disease their fallen nature. In fact, they regress to savagery. They try to construct a civilization on the island but it breaks down into blood and terror because the boys are suffering from the terrible disease of being human beings. I am a propagandist for Neanderthal man.
To sum it up, the title Lord of the Flies is perfect for this book since it sums up the book’s central theme that man is inherently corrupt in a single word. When Jack offers a human life as a sacrifice to the monster, Golding succeeds in destroying the belief that human beings are inherently moral. According to Golding, people everywhere worship the Lord of the Flies.
Why Lord of the Flies is a dystopian novel. Explain in your words
In contrast to utopian fiction which believes that human beings are ideal and a society free of suffering and pain is attainable, dystopian novels hold that such inequalities and injustices are inevitable in every human society. Novels like Animal Farm and 1984 by George Orwell, which helped popularize the subgenre in the 20th century, presented dystopian futures that were cruel, oppressive, and chaotic.
Since the protagonists in Golding’s “Lord of the Flies” are fundamentally malevolent and cruel, Lord of the Flies is a dystopian example of this genre. At first glance, the novel’s setting appears to be an Edenic utopia, with an abundance of fruit, water, and a beautiful coastline; nevertheless, as the story progresses, the island transforms into a dystopian world where its schoolboys are famished, unwashed, terrified of the mysterious monster, and subject to the brutal rule of a tyrannical ruler.
Writing about the dangers of absolute power, dystopian authors typically employ fear, doubt, and even cruelty. The central idea of each dystopian story is that human society can never be perfect. A group of schoolboys find themselves stuck on a tropical island and, despite their best efforts, fail to establish any kind of civilized community there.
With time, their true terrible and vicious natures emerge, and they come dangerously close to destroying the island and each other. Peter Green puts it perfectly when he says that the work shows a “bloodthirsty savagery” returning to human society. The boys split up into two factions, one led by Ralph (representing liberalism) and the other by Jack (representing totalitarianism).
Ralph’s friends Piggy and Simon are slain, while Eric and Sam join Jack’s side as a result of the group’s inability to come to terms with its divergent principles. This makes Ralph a displaced person at first, and afterward a scapegoat. Ralph is being chased like a wild animal by Jack and his friends. After some time has passed, Jack sets fire to the island in an attempt to smoke Ralph off. Ralph managed to flee in an unknown direction.
Ralph and the remaining boys are saved when a British naval commander sees smoke in the jungle and dispatches a rescue squad. The tale closes on a sad note, with Ralph weeping at “the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy” (248).
The state Jack established on the island is considered a dystopia. All that Jack stands for and does is pure evil and monstrosity. Ralph and Jack’s rivalry stems from each man’s extreme desire for power and dominance. The conflict between Ralph and Jack is full of underlying antagonism that helps to convey the novel’s dystopian theme.
Ralph’s existence in “Lord of the Flies” is one of anarchy and uncertainty. The things Ralph does show that he is an idealist, not an actor. Even Ralph, a symbol of honorable, inclusive leadership, struggles with doubt, confusion, and a lack of conviction at crucial junctures. His decision to have a town hall meeting regarding the tragedy with the “little ‘uns” is a glaring misstep on his part.
Once Ralph loses control over his gang, he is never able to regain it and remain stable in his position. After losing his position of power to Jack, Ralph finds himself entirely isolated and without the means to stop Jack’s gang from engaging in barbarism and anarchy. The adult world’s regulations are only nominally enforced on the boys’ island in Golding’s “Lord of the Flies.”
No one is immune to the bad habits of adulthood. The adult world’s previously accepted laws, which have transformed the globe into chaos, are reflected in the island’s law and order, which the boys obediently followed. The island is a metaphor for the real world of adults. The boys conform to the pattern of adult society’s expectations for their behaviour. They confidently declare We will have rules…..lots of rules (44).
Everyone is responsible for adhering to the rules, and rule breakers will be dealt with accordingly. Therefore, the males’ environment is full of adult vices including an unhealthy obsession with power and authority and a need to be subservient to others.
The dystopian ideal on the island is exemplified by its harsh, violent society, where males are tyrannized, live in dread, and frequently face atrocities. Jack, the ruthless dictator of this dystopian nation, is obsessed with pig hunting and engages in other horrible activities. The powerless, simple, and defenceless youngsters in Jack’s society have been slain.
Simon is badly murdered, Piggy is also dead,, Eric and Sam become members of Jack’s side and Ralph is followed like an animal by Jack’s crew. All the other young boys are scared of Jack and his authority; therefore they have no personal freedoms. Jack’s scary and hostile island country is a classic example of a dystopian society.
Lord of the Flies symbolizes how human beings’ base evilness leads to decay and death. A man’s downfall is largely characterized by his complete rejection of all moral and spiritual principles. The lads’ story in the novel concludes in a world of pretence and fakery. Golding expresses his pessimistic outlook on humanity and civilization in this work. We can therefore conclude that Golding’s “Lord of the Flies” is a dystopian work.