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Lord of the Flies Essay Questions

Most importantly, Golding achieved the above using metaphorical and didactic writing techniques that unquestionably shocked his readers and still shocks them today. Lord of the Flies is essentially an allegory. It reveals how people can descend into barbarism in an atmosphere of chaos. The main issues in the novel are that of the divide between civilization and savagery, the innate human evil, power and its consequences, and grouping. The theme of the breakdown of civilization toward savagery emphasizes the struggle between the ruling elements of society which include law, morality, culture and the chaotic elements of humanity's savage instincts which include anarchy, bloodlust, amorality, selfishness and a desire for power.

The book implies that civilization is a veneer, which can be easily pierced to reveal the brutality of human nature. Golding's main representation of the conflict between civilization and savagery is through the characters in the novel. Ralph, the protagonist and Piggy are both symbols for morality and leadership, whilst the antagonist, Jack and his right hand man Roger are symbols for the desire for power, selfishness and amorality. Jack cannot at first bring himself to kill a pig because of the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh; because of the unbearable blood.

This shows the boys innocence at the beginning of their experience. Another example of this is where Roger feels the urge to torment a Little but is held back by the social values which he used to follow Roger gathered a handful of stones and began to throw them. Yet there was a space round Henry, perhaps six yards in diameter, into which he dare not throw. Here, invisible yet strong, was the taboo of the old life. Round the squatting child was the protection of parents and school and policemen and the law. This happens earlier in the novel when the boys are still governed by their morals from their good society.

The novel illustrates the descent from the boys utopian society into a primitive tribal culture of conflict which soon becomes a dystopia. This quick fall from law and order stuns the reader into self-realization of the human condition. From the first mention of the Beast, to when Ralph is running for his life from Jacks tribe, fear is a major preoccupation of Lord of the Flies. Just as fear in world history has been the cause of violence and destruction; it is the force which drives the boys on the island towards their chaos.

The boys use the Beast figure as their means of projecting their fear of each other and of the circumstances that theyre in. This breakdown in the groups need and desire for morality, order and civilization is increasingly enabled or excused by the presence of the Beast. The degree to which each boy is prone to see the beast mirrors the degree to which he is afraid, and can be linked to a fight or flight mechanism. Simon is really the only one on the island who realizes that the fear is innate and that there is no beast.

What I mean is maybe its only us. Simon seems to exist outside Jack and Ralph's conflict and he contrasts with them as his qualities seem to be more natural, a kind of instinctive goodness that is not taught by human society such as Ralph's democratic type civilization.

At night, when fear mainly controls the boys, they feel they are not answerable for what they do. Even Ralph, the symbol for civilization, morality and leadership joins in the tribal chanting and killing of Simon for he cannot help himself but be part of the mob psychology. After Simons death, Ralph and Piggy discuss what happened but both desperately try to excuse their actions It was dark. There was that that bloody dance. There was lightning and thunder and rain. We was scared!

It was an accident, thats what it was, an accident. They are denying that they were part of Simons murder. The disturbing display of savagery when Jacks boys cut off a pigs head, the Lord of the Flies and put it on a stick as an offering for the beast is an important symbol of the theme of an instinctive human savagery. Simons delirious confrontation with the Lord of the Flies confirms his theory of evil being instinctive to man and actually within all of us There isnt anyone to help you.

Only me. And Im the beast fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill! You knew didnt you? Im a part of you. Golding is portraying through these examples that every individual, no matter how strong their moral instinct will have an innate drive toward savagery as well.

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A prominent theme throughout the novel is that of power. It could be argued that the author was using this theme as an allegory of the twentieth century, for the island was a microcosm of the political conflicts at the time e. Golding uses the boys as symbols, Ralph and Piggy representing democracy and Jack representing a dictatorship. The boys look for leadership qualities when deciding their leaders. None of the boys could have found good reason for this; what intelligence had been shown was traceable to Piggy while the most obvious leader was Jack. But there was a stillness about Ralph as he sat that marked him out: there was his size, and attractive appearance; and most obscurely, yet most powerfully, there was the conch.

William Golding Lord of the Flies Essay | Bartleby

The author is showing us that we need all the characters of good leadership to be successful, i. Golding uses many effective writing techniques to clearly and strongly depict his ideas and visions. In the beginning of the novel Ralph is talking to Piggy shortly after they have met I could swim when I was five. Daddy taught me. Hes a commander in the navy. When he gets leave hell come and rescue us. Whats your father? Piggy flushed suddenly. My dads dead and my mum -- He took off his glasses and looked vainly for something with which to clean them. I used to live with my auntie. She kept a sweet shop. Piggy is one of the first characters introduced in the book. He is segregated from the group because of his inability to perform physical tasks and because of his obesity. He is clearly the most intellectual of the group. When everybody decides to scramble up to the top of the mountain to build the fire, Piggy is the only one who realizes that there is a child that is missing from the group.

Piggy represents the oppressed and the ignored. Jack despises him mostly because he is absorbed in himself and also because Piggy is different from the rest of the group. This is important because it increases the tension created by the savagery of the characters in the society they create. Golding is trying to comment on the fallacy in society and the contrast between civility and savagery. Because they are on a remote island, the boys are very desperate to escape, which brings forward primitive characteristics in some of the boys, namely Jack.

Lord of the Flies Essays

Ralph and Piggy, in the end, seem to be the only two characters who are still set on maximizing their chances of rescue, while Jack cares more about power and of survival. The location of the fire is also an important factor in the setting of the novel.

In the beginning, the boys place the fire on top of the mountain, so to maximize the chances of being discovered. However, fears arise as time passes which causes delusion as the younger boys believe that there is a beast in the forest. When Roger, Jack, and Ralph go up to the mountain to check if a beast existed, their primitive instincts caught hold of them which caused them to make assumptions about false things.

This effectively ends the earlier ideas of a possible fire on the top of the mountain. Golding uses a very distinct structure in how he accounts for each of the events that occur. In the novel, he breaks up each of the twelve chapters into the twelve most distinct changes in the nature of the society. In the first chapter, for example, the society is first created and order exists. Ralph is chief, and although Jack is jealous of his power, he is content with having a position of leadership over the hunters.

In the second and third chapters, Golding presents two examples in which the boys take on a childish nature. A very important shift occurs in the fourth chapter. In order to fit in with the environment, they adjust their physical appearance to match that of their surroundings. In this chapter, the boys begin to struggle between the ideals taught to them in their old lives and the new challenges that face them on the island.

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  5. In his other life Maurice had received chastisement for filling a younger eye with sand. Now, though there was no parent to let fall a heavy hand, Maurice still felt the unease of wrongdoing. Even though the characters have an initial hesitancy to the life of hunting and killing, the attitudes presented by the younger kids in chapters two and three represent those of a child. Therefore, it is a very shocking change when all the little children gang up and tear Simon apart like he were some savage beast.

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