LORD OF THE FLIES: ANALYSIS OF THEMES AND ITS RELEVANCE TO TODAY’S SOCIETY
Lord of the flies was William Golding’s first published novel and since its appearance in 1954, it has become one of his best known works. Golding was forty-three years old when he wrote the novel with the aid of his experience serving in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. Thus his experience in world war has influenced him to produce such a masterpiece that earned him Nobel Prize in 1983 (Johnston, 1980, p.54).
In many works Golding has revealed the dark places of human heart, when isolated individuals or small groups are pushed into extreme situations. His work is characterized by exploration of ‘the darkness of man’s heart’, deep spiritual and ethical questions. Similarly, Lord of the flies is a gripping story a group of small British boys stranded on a desert island lapse into violence after they have lost all adult guidance. The story describes a group of children, who are evacuated from Britain because of a nuclear war. Their airplane crashes on an uninhabited island, and all the adults are killed. The boys create their own society, which gradually degenerates from democratic, rational, and moral community to tyrannical and cruel. The older boys take control, a boy called Piggy, who is asthmatic and nearsighted, becomes a target of teasing and torment. Leaders emerge out of different ideologies, two of the older boys get killed, and they begin to hunt another, just as a ship arrives for rescue. Despite all that, Lord of the flies is more than a story about stranded British school boys, it is an allegory piece of writing where characters, setting, objects, and plot stand for a meaning outside of the story itself. Golding illustrates an abstract meaning by using concrete images in his novel. Therefore this paper aims to identify the themes in Lord of the flies and discuss their relevance in today’s society.
When young boys are abandoned on an uninhabited island without adults, even they are capable of murder. This is the scenario depicted in the British author, William Goldings novel, Lord of the Flies, written and published in 1954 during World War 2. Comparing the characters of Jack, Ralph, Piggy and Simon with Freud’s theory of id, ego and superego, one can prove that man has an underlying ...
First and foremost, the major theme of the novel is civilization overpowered by savagery. The book depicts how mankind’s natural savagery can tackle even the most civilized people. This theme is further supported by James Stern (1955) in his review for The New York Times Book Review who said that “Lord of the Flies is an allegory on human society today, the novel’s primary implication being that what we have come to call civilization is at best no more than skin deep”. Under certain circumstances we human may loose our civilization which in turn overpowered by savagery and this is what Golding creatively illustrated in his novel. The transition from civilized society into a savage tribe is explained thoroughly through the characters in the novel. At the opening of the novel everything was extremely fine; the boys have their functioning governing system and conch as their symbol of powerful democratic society. Both Ralph and Jack share their burden and there was an invisible light of friendship between them while sustaining civilized way of life. Golding is the master of his own when he creatively manipulate literary elements to convey his message of civilization. For example he used conch shell as the symbolism of democracy, law and order and a civilized governing system. Whoever holds the conch will able to speak in the meeting and that’s what Ralph meant when he said “That’s what this shell’s called. I’ll give the conch to the next person to speak. He can hold it when he’s speaking.” (Golding, 1954, p.43).
Besides that, Golding even created the setting of the novel in a way to represents civilization. The island was explained as “It was roughly boat-shaped: humped near this end with behind them the jumbled descent to the shore” (Golding, 1954, p.38).
... civilization and savagery. The conflict between civilization and savagery in Lord of the Flies is used to reinforce the transformation from civilized ... You're always scared." "I got the conch." "Conch! Conch!" Shouted Jack, "we don't need the conch any more. We know who ought to ... Vol.2. United states of America: Frederick Unga Publishing, 1977. Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. London: Faber and ...
The boat shape of the island is the ancient symbol of civilization.
As the story further developed, the civilization is fading away; savagery and fear took over in a form of Jack. He neglected the conch and said, “Bollocks to the rules!” Jack elected himself as the leader of savage tribe and manipulates the fear of beast to influence the boys to create such a huge tribe leaving aside Ralph, Piggy, Simon, and Samneric who are still upholding the civilization. Civilization is totally overpowered by savagery when the conch, symbol of democracy smashed into pieces. Golding again developed his two main characters to represent the conflict between civilization and savagery. Ralph the protagonist is the democratic leader who represents law and order, instinct to live by rules and value the good which are the elements of civilization. While in the other had, Jack the antagonist is the savage leader who represents desire for power, act violently to obtain supremacy over others, and enforce evilness which is the elements of savagery. Golding has made the two boys’ act similar at the beginning of the novel to show us how ‘normal’ they are. Moreover, Golding also used repetition to show the savagery of the boys. They keep on repeat the chant, “Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!”(Golding, 1954, p.188), while dancing around the fire as if they were worshipping the beast. It is demonstrating that their savagery traits are becoming more pronounced and it is not a civilized way of living. This demonstrates Golding’s view that absolutely anyone can be over ruled by power and become savage like Jack when civilization collapses.
In our society itself we can se how people often loose their civilization and act savagely certain circumstances. During the wars, we human kill our own race to attain triumph over one’s ideologies and gain power. In smaller society for instance, people willing to rob, cheat and back-stab each other to fulfill their own desire and thirst for wealth. Even in a family, a father who supposed to be the leader act savagely by raping his own daughter to fulfill his sex lust. We labeled ourselves as highly civilized but still the human nature urged us to loose humanity and go against the civilization. Therefore these are the issues conveyed by William Golding through his writing by critically developed his theme on civilization and savagery.
When anyone thinks of the word "evil" they do not think it is within themselves. In reality, without a structured and well-followed society, people are apt to follow their own corrupt desires and neglect the thought of consequence. In the allegory, Lord of the Flies, William Golding reveals that man's selfishness and sinful nature will be unmasked when the structure of a society deteriorates. As ...
As we move on deep into the discussion of the novel, another prominent theme conveyed by the author is human discrimination and prejudice. It is human nature who tend to discriminate and prejudice towards the weak and disable, but to a further extent we human discriminate individuals who are not in the same agreement or ideologies with us. In terms of the novel, Golding expressed his idea of discrimination and prejudice through the character of Piggy and Simon. Piggy is an orphan and raised by his aunt, physically he is fat, wearing thick spectacles and having asthmatic problem. He constantly refers to the old way of life. He doesn’t believe in the beastie because Piggy is an intellectual who lacks social skills, he is an outsider. The boys ridicule him over and over again but he can not do anything for himself and constantly tries to get out of work while relying on Ralph. He is the only voices of reason and the link to the adult world. Eventually, towards the end, piggy is killed by Roger. Piggy becomes the victim of discrimination and prejudice because of his differences compare to other boys in the island. First of all because of his name for them its sounds different and funny, this is obvious when the boys laugh at his name; “A storm of laughter arose and even the tiniest child joined in. For the moment the boys were a closed circuit of sympathy with Piggy outside: he went very pink, bowed his head and cleaned his glasses again.” (Golding, 1954, p.29).
Besides that he is also different in a way that he is the only boy wearing spectacles in the island. Here Golding makes use the literary element symbolism to distinguish Piggy with the other boys. His spectacles are the symbol of clear sightedness, intelligence and rationale where he is the only boy with such ability. Yet his opinions are always neglected and his rights are always discriminated, the act that his glasses are taken away forcefully by Jack, “Here- Let me go!” His voice rose to a shriek of terror as Jack snatched the glasses off his face.”(Golding, 1954, p.53) shows how his differences are made used by the others while at the same being prejudice to his own right.
While I would like to believe I am a transformational leader, there are times I find that I demonstrate the characteristics of the transactional theory in my everyday practice in formal leadership roles. Transformational leadership theory, as I understand it as described by James Burns, 'looks for potential motives in followers, their needs, values, and morals' and 'involves attempts by leaders to ...
Moreover, apart from symbolism, Golding used another literary element, the character of Simon to show discrimination and prejudice of human. Simon is the Christ like figure but was a loner who often experienced fainting spells. He would wander into the jungle to think by himself and sees beyond the surface of things. The other boys were indifferent towards Simon for he was not extremely social. He helped others with necessary chores, such as building the huts and taking care of the ‘littleuns’. His goodness is pronounced when he defends Piggy by saying “We used his specs,” said Simon, smearing a black cheek with his forearm. “He helped that way.”(Golding, 1954, p.54).
Yet there is no place for his goodness in that island, when he was in disagreement with the others that there was no beast in the island, he was alienated and remained apart from the other. His differences in ideologies left his discriminated although his view is a complete truth. He is the only character to confront the beastie and find out the truth. He believes that the beastie is only controlled in their minds. With Simon’s new found knowledge of the truth he goes to explain his findings to the others. When he does, he is sacrificially killed by the boys. Simon, the selfless and harmless boy was beaten and stabbed to death by the horde of boys. Here Golding used the device, foreshadowing, “He knew that one his times was coming on. The Lord of the Flies was expanding like a balloon.”(Golding, 1954, p.178) to show that there Simon will die right after discovering the truth, in other meaning that truth and enlightens will be buried in this prejudice society and world. Simon is the one who arrives at the moral truth of the novel, and the other boys kill him sacrificially as a consequence of having discovered this truth.
In today’s world, differences are the core factor of discrimination and prejudice. Differences in race and skin colour for example left black people discriminated in white world. Their rights are neglected and even they are not treated as human. For that they have to fight to live and now in some countries they are still fighting for it. Despite of that, Palestinians are living in fear and thousands of them are being killed cruelly by Israelis due to their differences in religious and ideologies. Palestinians rights for a free land are neglected, but just greed, ego and blood lust remained. There are more and more discrimination happening in our world today, yet Golding already conveyed this issue his writing few decades ago for us to ponder about.
Through out history, leaders have viewed powers in many different ways. There have been a variety of viewpoints on the acquisition and use of power. Power, the ability or capacity to perform or act effectively, in our world's history powers have ranged from a harsh rule reigned with terror and fear to power being use passive resistance methods. Two leaders in our worlds history who have affected ...
As mentioned earlier Lord of The Flies is a political allegory, thus the third theme is leadership determines the triumph or destruction of a society. A society will excel if they are under the right leadership, but if the leader is incapable sure it will be destructive society. Golding conveyed this theme through symbolism of several characters in the novel. Ralph, for example stands for the good-hearted but not entirely and effective leader of a democratic society, a ruler for instance who wants to rule by law derived from the common consent. Piggy is his adviser, someone who is unable to rule because of his own social and physical shortcoming, but he is able to offer sound advice to the democratic leader. Jack, on the other hand, represents a totalitarian dictator, a ruler who appeals to the emotional responses of his followers. He rules by charisma and hysteria. Roger, the boy who takes the most joy in the slaughter of he pigs and who hurls the rock that kills Piggy, represent the henchman necessary for such a totalitarian ruler to stay in power. Golding effectively showed how both type of leadership works and it consequences at the end. Ralph made a good leader at beginning, but towards the end Jack succeeded to manipulate the fear of the beast to gain support and name himself as the leader when he said, “We’ll hunt. I’m going to be chief.”(Golding, 1954, p.165).
When Jack took over the leadership, the becoming more eager in killing and entirely changed into a savage tribe which finally leads into the fall of civilization and humanity. This is beautifully portrayed by Golding through the imagery of killing the sow, “the sow staggered her way ahead of them, bleeding and mad, and the hunters followed wedded to her in lust, excited by the long chase and the dropped blood.” He uses the imagery to show how human can change themselves under different or particular leadership. The people will be like an exact mirror of the leader. Therefore leadership should be in the right hand for the betterment of the people.
"A Brave New World' "A Brave New World' Essay, Research Paper Imagine living in a world without mothers and fathers, "A Brave New World' full of faceless human clones. This is the society Huxley portrays in his book. Huxley describes a futuristic society that has an alarming effect of dehumanization. This occurs through the absence of spirituality and family, the obsession with physical pleasure, ...
In our world, leadership had once torn the world apart. At the end of the World War II, for many years, leaders such as British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt led democratic countries against totalitarian leaders such Germany’s Adolf Hitler and Italy’s Benito Mussolini. Further, in the early 1950s, the world appeared to be divided into two camps; the so-called Free World of Western Europe and the United States, and the so-called Iron Curtain world of communist Eastern Europe and Soviet Union. The innocent people have just followed their leaders whether they agree or do not agree with it. Even in a family, leadership is very precious. Parents should possess good leadership and positive influences over their children for a better family and future. Broken family for example is lack with capable and positive leadership thus its effect are to the children, they will posses the same ideologies of leadership which will consequence in more destruction in the future. Therefore leadership is the crucial element that determines triumph or destruction of family, society or nation
As a whole, William Golding’s Lord of the Flies is one the influential novel that covers and critics human nature creatively. There are lots more themes and issues conveyed in this masterpiece but for us as the reader, we need more than a simple understanding to perceive Golding ideas. All we have to do is analyze the issues in the novel and make a comparison to today’s world, and definitely the readers will be able to understand how far human civilizations succeed in this ever-changing world. Fall and rise of a civilization is in our hand, the human
Golding, W. (1954).
The lord of the flies. Faber and Faber: London
Johnston, A. (1980).
Of earth and darkness: the novels of William Golding. University of Missouri Press: Columbia