LotF: Themes and Ideas
Lord of the Files (LotF) written by William Golding is an allegorical (Conveys meaning via figures) novel that explores the idea of the human conflict between the savage instinct and civilization, and the loss of innocence (Romanticist?) through a variety of techniques, most importantly symbolism.
The main conflict can be most appropriately described as the battle between the will to abide by rules that are set to maintain order and control, and the instinctive human behaviour of satisfying short term desires, enforce one’s rule and wills over other beings, and to act violently due to pure interest. The stranded children rapidly abandon their behaviour enforced by society and civilisation to follow the rules and lead of more responsible beings, and descend into a lifestyle of violent and barbaric ways. The primary methods of representation used are symbolism and themed characters, which comprises of a group of English school boys stranded on an island after their plane was shot down during the Second World War. Jack, a choir leader in society, leads the fall of rules and obligations, is the antagonist and represents wild savagery and hunger for power. Ralph the protagonist represents sense of civilization and order.
The idea that sensible and moral behaviour from humans is forced by society and civilization through education and adult intervention is heavily implied. The novel’s prime example of this is presented in chapter nine, “A View to a Death”. Ralph and Piggy, the main remaining force of civilization, is lured by the feast hosted by Jack due to the lack and desire of meat. When a storm brews, Jack commands the group to participate in tribal style dancing to supposedly brave the storm. Due to Ralph’s decline in popularity, “Piggy and Ralph, under the threat of the sky, found themselves eager to take a place in the demented but partly secure society”. Simon, the reasonable and natural being in the novel, appears from the forest to inform the group that the “Beast”, the superficial being that Jack uses to scare the group and gain power, is truly the violent and savage instinct inside all humans. The group including Ralph and Piggy however, mistake Simon for the “Beast” due to the dark and unstable weather, and “At once the crowd surged after it, poured down the rock, leap onto the beast, screamed, struck, bit, tore. There were no words, and no movements but the tearing of teeth and claws.” The group’s bloodlust and savage instinct brews during the dance, and once they encountered an unexpected figure, the released their fury. The use of the “Claws” metaphor highlights the “Beast” that is inside the boys, released when there are no restrictions to stop them.
... beast, there rose before his inward sight the picture of a human at once heroic and sick. N/A 115 On Ralph ... take a place in this demented but partly secure society. They were glad to touch the brown backs of ... tumbled scar. N/A 42 I agree with Ralph. We ve got to have rules and obey them. After all, we ... On The Beast: The beast is a hunter... we couldn t kill it. Jack 127 Upon leaving the group: I m ...
A second general idea conveyed by the novel is the loss of innocence. Loss of innocence as a literary theme exposes blind ideas, such as children and their realisation of the non-perfect world and its innate ruthlessness and cruelness, through means of experience mostly. In the novel, loss of innocence is not portrayed as the result of action performed by a specific object, character or environment, but is considered a natural process. Golding implies that civilization to an extent, only acts to delay the progress of the event, and that the freedom that the island provides for the children, releases the natural instincts and therefore causing the children to lose their innocence. The best example for Golding’s interpretation of the theme loss of innocence comes from the forest glade initially discovered by Simon. In chapter three, Simon explores the mountain. Simon helps the younger children along the way, picking fruit for them. This is an example of Simon’s nature as the only human being in the novel to represent innate nature of goodness, kindness and concerns for others. Initially Simon treats the glades as a natural spot of serenity. But in chapter eight, Jack and his new tribe, out of savage fury, kills a pig nearby and stabs into its head with a double edged stake, and stabs the other end into the ground of the glades. Jack and his group consider the pig’s head a tribute to the “Beast”. The glades which represented peace, serenity and innocence are symbolically corrupted by deeper human evil.
he article I selected is one titled “Parents Grieving the Loss of Their Child”: from the 2008 issue of the British Journal of Psychology, “Interdependence in Coping,” (Stroebe & Schut 2008). This article is a report of new research which uses a longitudinal study among bereaved parents, to examine relationships between parents own and their partners’ way of coping and psychological adjustments ...
Due to his experiences at war (WWII British Royal Navy), Golding began to focus on the theme of war, and the fragility and instability of civilization (War being a result of this).
The main themes of civilization verses savagery, war between those two, and the loss of innocence (which reflects on his changing views before and after the war), demonstrated by the children stranded on the island, Golding expresses the world of humans does posses the inner and natural evil, and that any conditioning may only hinder these instincts, and that time will reveal old wounds, time and time again, also proven by history.