Lord Of The Flies: Foreshadowing By Use Of Conflicts Essay, Research Paper
In the beginning chapters of Lord of the Flies, William Golding foreshadows action that will come in the eleventh and twelfth chapters. He does this by introducing various conflicts. These conflicts are Ralph versus Jack, weak, represented by Piggy, versus strong and Ralph, representing order, reason, and humanity, versus chaos.
It is obvious from the first time that Ralph and Jack meet that there will be a struggle between them. In chapter one when the two meet Jack automatically proclaims himself the leader while Ralph has himself in mind for the position (22). Although both boys wish to be in charge, they think very differently. Ralph proves himself to be logical and responsible by suggesting the building of a signal fire. He desires order, and rescue is his priority. Jack, on the other hand, sees the situation as a game and becomes obsessed with hunting. He even allows the fire to burn out so that a passing ship cannot see the smoke (67).
As the novel progresses, the two distrust each other more and more, and Jack begins to adopt animal-like characteristics. For example, at the beginning of chapter three, Jack is crawling on the ground looking for pig tracks (48). These differences and confrontations, such as the one where the boys are on a hunt for the beast and Ralph asks Jack why he hates him, lead to the final conflict between the boys.
By chapter eleven, Jack’s “tribe” has completely separated from Ralph’s group. Ralph, Piggy and Samneric try to reason with Jack, but the tension that has been building since the beginning of the novel finally erupts into a physical altercation. Because of the clues that Golding has given the reader throughout the book, this event comes as no surprise.
Another conflict brewing during the plot is one of the weak versus the strong. Piggy is overweight, nearsighted, and asthmatic. His physical inferiority to the other boys on the island makes him a representation of weakness. Darwin’s theory of natural selection basically says that only the strong survive. In this natural, wild setting where survival is key, it becomes clear to the reader that Piggy will not make it off the island alive. Surely enough, Piggy is knocked off of a cliff and killed as he tries to intervene between Jack and Ralph (180).
The third conflict illustrated in the earlier chapters is one of order versus chaos. Ralph represents logic, responsibility, civility, reason, and order. He is clearly feeling frustrated by the immature actions of the boys when they refuse to help build shelters on the beach. The children would rather run about wildly and play than do anything “grownup.” Despite the emphasis that Ralph places on the importance of the fire, he is the only one who cares about it. In the final chapter, the boys from Jack’s tribe are hunting him with the intent to kill. Roger has “sharpened a stick at both ends,” implying that the fate of the slaughtered sow awaits Ralph as well.
The final conflict is between the age-old antithesis order and chaos. The boys, with the exception of Ralph, have lost nearly all of their human behavior and are running wild. They represent chaos. Ralph has managed to maintain rationality amidst madness, and he represents order.
The examples of foreshadowing early in the novel give the reader an idea of what types of conflict to expect. They hint that this is not a mere story of innocent children marooned on a desert island. These examples begin the weaving of an intricate plot full of terrorism, savagery, and personal battles.