“lord Of The Flies” Essay, Research Paper
* What do you think are the main themes of the story? Identify and discuss them.
In a publicity questionnaire, Golding described the theme of ?Lord Of The Flies? as follows: ?The theme is an attempt to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature… The whole book is symbolic in nature.” In other words Golding sees the main theme of his book as the nature of man and the reflection of the human personality on society.
The book explores the inner conflicts of man in which one discovers the human nature and personality that comes across in the book- good versus evil, rationality and logic versus irrationality and 34342, civilization versus primitive, peace and tolerance versus war and violence. In each of these conflicts choice is in man?s hand, and yet, as the book demonstrates in such a clear manner, it seems that man?s nature is to make the wrong choice.
At the beginning of book, despite the situation, there seems to be no evil, but only good- a paradise island with no adults, the harmonic and almost natural friendship between Jack and Ralph, and the general mood in the group. The only hint of evil is the teasing attitude of the group towards Piggy (?Shut up, Fatty? pg. 21). However, as the story continues, and the boys become more restless and less convinced of being rescued, the once warm relationship between Jack and Ralph becomes more tense and distant. One group, led officially by Ralph divides itself self-consciously into two minor groups and though formally under one leader, the two groups drift further and further apart. Eventually, in a fit of rage, Jack leaves the group, followed loyally by his hunters, to form a new tribe. Here comes the split between all the inner conflicts. While Jack represents the evil, irrationality and wrong in man, Ralph and his group seem to represent the good, the civilization, and the logic.
The responsibility of civilization is thrust upon the older boys, however, they slowly abandon their responsibilities, in order to serve themselves and their 687698. The more they abandon their responsibilities, they lose their civilization, yet gain evil and slowly reveal their own sadistic and cruel tendencies.
One representative of the conflict between good and evil is the much feared yet imaginary ?Beast?. The promise of fun, plentiful food and mainly security from the dreaded beast draws the littlen?s to Jack and his pack of hunters. The moving of the minority from the good group to the bad group is the first examples of evil over-coming good.
The impact of ?The Beast? on their lives is so strong that the fear constantly surrounds them, and thus, so does evil. From this point on, most of the actions of Jack?s group are done in fear of the beast. The hunters, led by Jack, constantly terrorize the other group and scare them with stories about ?The Beast?. They start to steal from the other group (for example fire and the hunting knife), and sacrifice the head of a sow to ?The Beast? (which becomes the Lord of the Flies).
Eventually they start killing pigs and dancing around a fire in what seems as a religious ritual in which they act an attack on the pig while shouting war cries towards ?The Beast?: ?The dark sky was shattered by a blue-white scar. An instant later, the noise was on them, like the blow of a gigantic whip. The chant rose a tone in agony. ?Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!? ? (P. 152). At this stage the evil is so powerful, and the boys are so deeply caught in their trance around the beast that when Simon comes running towards them, with the truth about the beast, they mistake him for the Beast and brutally kill him. This stage is an opposite of the beginning where there seems to be no evil but only good. Now there is no good but only evil. Once again Piggy is the exception, for he does not participate in the frenzied murder of Simon. This beast is expected to do as the boys fear it will do, which is to ravage them. What the boys and humanity do not see is that the beast is themselves, and they are the culprits.
Yet this is not the end of the evil. When the hunters steal Piggy?s glasses because of their desire for fire the reader witnesses yet another act of evil, but most horrific of the hunters? actions is the murder of Piggy. This combined with the death of Simon showed that any good still left in the minds of the hunters, was now destroyed.
But it is the symbol of the sow?s head that represents the true evil in Golding?s book. The ?Lord of the Flies? is the Devil, Satan, who brings decay and demoralization. Although there is not actual worship in any religious manner of Satan, it is this that drives the boys to their anarchy and evil.
When Ralph and Piggy go out to Castle Rock to plead with Jack and his group to be fair and return Piggy?s glasses, because without them, Piggy could not see, the response from the group- Roger?s dropping a boulder onto Piggy?s head, sending him flying forty feet to his death, is the final confrontation of good with evil, civilization with the primitive, logic with irrationality, and peace with war.
In The Lord of the Flies, Golding suggests that humankind is a barbaric and savage species that even without the world of the adult, can not resist evil, which in the eye?s of Golding is the true nature and human personality of man.