Lord of the Flies: An Analysis “The two boys faced each other. There was the brilliant world of hunting, tactics, fierce exhilaration, skill; and there was world of longing and baffled common-sense.” A quote showing the two main contrasts of the story. Savageness, and civilization. This, is the Lord of the Flies, a book written by William Golding. The Lord of the Flies has some interesting and deep thoughts, pertaining to the theme, plot, characters, and setting in this novel. William Golding did not just start writing a book; he took his time and worked out every little matter, to make sure the book was entertaining, and most of all, did not bore the reader. The Lord of the Flies begins with about 20 pre-adolescent boys who are on an airplane, and the airplane crashes on an uninhabited coral island in the Pacific. The airplane crew has been killed, and the boys are left on their own. They start to collect themselves into a society of food gatherers under an elected chief, Ralph. Ralph is about 12 years old, and has a very sensible, and logical personality. At first, the boys create duties to follow, and they live amicably in peace. Soon however, differences arise as to their priorities. The smaller children (know as littl’uns) lose interest in their tasks; the older boys want to spend more time hunting than carrying out more routine duties, such as keeping the signal fire on the top of the mountain going, and building shelters. A rumor spreads that a “beast” of some sort is lurking in the forest, and the children have nightmares. Jack, (A ruthless, power-hungry person), promising to fulfil the children’s desire for a reversion to the ways of primitivism, is chosen as the new leader, and the society splits into two sections: those who want to hunt and soon become savages, and those who believe in rational conduct, and a civiliized manner. Ralph, the rational leader, soon finds himself as the outcast with Piggy, (a fat, non-athletic, logical type, boy). Simon, one of the more rational boys, finds out the secret of the “beast”, and sees that it is only a dead parachuted pilot. He goes to the hunting group, and before he can say anything, they kill him by accident. Piggy is later killed by Jack when he accused Jack of stealling his glasses, which Jack did do. At the end of the story, Ralph finds himself all alone, and Jack sees the opportunity to track him down and rid himself of his nemisis. Jack gives orders to his savage group to hunt down Ralph, and Ralph finds this out. Just as Ralph is about to be killed by the “savages”, a naval officer arrives with a rescue party. The ‘world’ of the Lord of the Flies is projected as a very realistic and plausible story to comprehend. If the reader found this specific world filled with people who do not talk or act in the ways that he or she is used to, he or she may decide that the characters are unbelievable, and unreal. In Lord of the Flies, Golding has shown that the characters are quite believable, and that their experiences are at least possible. The characters talk with a bit of broken and slang-like English, and have the characteristics and personalities of normal pre-adolescents. A few quotes from the novel to demonstrate the realistic talking of kids, and not heros from fairy tales, are these: “Look i’m gonna say this now….” or, “when are we goin’ to light the fire again?” This shows the realism of the novel. The boys are also not impossibly brave, but only as brave as they want to be. They are no cleaner than boys can be with no soap available, and they like to play, but not work. They are not very responsible, and almost all are afraid of the dark. The plot is also very reasonable, except that there is no nuclear war going on in the world. But that does not make the story implausible, for there could easily be one. There are a myriad of strengths contained in this novel. The main points are basically the structure of the plot, theme, and setting. A remote jungle seems to be a very effective setting to establish the main theme about savages. It focusses on simple things, and would be much more effective than a great city-scape. Golding uses the jungle so he can focus on such fundamental themes as the conflict of good vs. evil. Golding also uses suspense in this story, with the beast as a shady character, plot twists, and unanswered questions at the beginning like, “Will they be able to make contact with other human beings?”, or “Will they be able to keep the group and human rationality together?” Another very good example of suspense is when the pig’s head (the Lord of the Flies) begins talking with Simon. It makes the reader wonder if the speech given by the Lord of the Flies is actually of diabolical origin, or is it just a figment of Simon’s imagination? It could be either. These next strengths will be dealing with the commentaries on the themes, and plot developments in the story. Slowly during the story, two parties begin to form. One being the hunting one, and one being the rational one. This was a good way to show how the human civilization is slowly braking up. Soon, as the primitivism of the boys becomes more prevalent, Jack turns on a fellow human. As the story develops, the symptoms begin to show more and more, until the party becomes savages, and want to hunt down the last rational person, Ralph. Also, the development of the reversion to primitivism slowly creeps up on each individual in the story. At first, Roger, a 12 year old boy, could not throw stones at another human being, for he was restrained by the habits of civilized behavior. Later on, he throws a boulder on top of Piggy, and kills him. Golding says that “It was some pulse within his soul, like the destructive power of prehistoric man who kills his victims with primitive weapons. This was a fantastic way to portray the change from civilization to primitivism. Another good point that Golding established is that he didn’t create the two forces to be equal forces. Ralph was physically stronger, but was no match for Jack’s violent personality, and group. The evil force was made to be predominant over a good force. This presents an unexpected event, because the reader would think that the “good guys” always come out stronger. Golding also shows the characters’ motivation to get of the island. This is described when Ralph says, “Look at us! How many are we? And yet we can’t keep a fire going to make smoke. Don’t you understand? Can’t you see we ought to— we ought to die before we let that fire go out?!” Golding’s style of writing this book was exceptionally good, and most of all, different. He writes the book in a way that the reader understands it, and that the reader can actually visualize what is going on. His use of satire also illustrates good style, and makes the book more entertaining for the reader. He uses satire with creating the character, Piggy, and by criticizing the faults of each character during every chapter, he is using satire. Golding also used solid descriptions that were very effective towards the reader. The best one would be when Simon dies, ‘Somewhere over the darkened curve of the world, the sun and moon were pulling; and the film of water on the earth was held. Softly, like a silver shape beneath the steadfast constellations, Simon’s dead corpse moved out towards the open sea.’ The ending of the story was very suitable for the story’s plot. Some people may have thought that this ending might have been too abrubt, but actually, it was supposed to symbolize a sort of scenario such as a country in the state of anarchy. There is utter chaos and disorder, but once the government steps back in, every senseless act is underlooked, and the people start over in a more civlized manor. Another scenario it may be a fight at school. The children who are very naive and primative, are fighting; but when a teacher or elder steps in, the students finally realize what they have done, and they calm down to more mature people. This represents the dog chase at the end of the story. Once an elder steps in, the ‘abrupt’ realize what they are doing, and they stop immediately. There may only be one real weakness the is towards this book. It is that this book is a fictional tale, but it is written in such a realistic way, that some people tend to criticize the book for it’s fictional parts that may be a bit unbelievable. This problem is come acrossed so minutely in the story, that many people will even overlook it. An example might be the part when Jack and the savages are chasing Ralph, and then right when Ralph is about to be good, he is bailed out by the naval officer. This may be a little unreal, but it does make the story more exciting. There are actually a few themes and meanings of this story. One smaller meaning may be the terms of fear, and what it does to people. But the primary meaning of The Lord of the Flies is its description of the nature of man. This is an attempt to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature. The moral is that the backbone of a society depends on the ethical nature of the individuals who founded it, and not any government, or politics. The whole book is symbolic in nature, except at the end where adult life appears, dignified, and capable of leading a civilized group. This theme is probably one of the most important ones in life, teaching humans as a civilization, that they must not let their irrational side, that man cannot control, take over the rational side. There can be no happy solution to the problems of man’s society because the natural defects of human nature shape the future after their own imperfections…
Lord of the Flies
Lord of the flies
1. IRONY- a saying, happening, or situation that is apparently contrary to what is intended or desired.
a) Fire with intent to kill ended up being the reason for rescue- When pursuing Ralph, Jack ordered the forest to be set on fire, to either kill him or force him out into the open. “He (Ralph) heard a curious trickling sound and then a louder crepitation as if someone were unwrapping great sheets of cellophane. A stick snapped and he stifled a cough. Smoke was seeping through the branches.” (Pg. 215, 2nd Para.) This proved to be their saving grace, as a naval boat saw the smoke, and came to the boys’ rescue, just in time to save Ralph. “We saw your smoke. What have you been doing? Having a war or something?” (Pg. 221)
b)Young, Savage warriors were reduced to children in the presence of an adult- The same tribe who killed Simon and Piggy, and who were hunting Ralph down to kill him, began to sob like babies. The mere sight of an adult made them realize what they had done, and could never undo. “The other little boys began to shake and sob too.” (Pg. 223, Para. 2)
c)The once respected leader became a hunted outlaw- Ralph, who in the beginning was almost unanimously voted chief, was pursued and hunted by the very boys who voted for him. “They hate you Ralph…They’re going to hunt you tomorrow.” (Page 201)
d)Simon, who discovered that there was no beast, was killed as the beast- The mystic Simon, who Bravely marched to the supposed “beast” found that it was a dead pilot. When he ran to tell the boys this, they went into a frenzy and beat him to death. “That was Simon…That was murder.” (Pg. 172)
e)The main savages: Jack, Roger, Maurice, etc., were once choir boys- Jack and Roger, the two vicious savages, were once choir boys, the personification of goodness and purity. In the first chapter, Jack stated, “Choir! Stand still!” (P. 21)
2. REALISM- philosophy or action based on things as they are, not as they should be.
a)Ralph and Piggy discuss the fact that they are alone on the island and that in all probability no one knows where they are. Ralph realizes the situation they are in and decides to form a tribe. He attempts to create order and civility in the wild, which, in his eyes, is the only way to survive. A quotation from page 15 reveals the boys’ knowledge of being alone and of their location unknown to the world: “They’re all dead,” said Piggy “an this is an island. Nobody don’t know we’re here. Your dad don’t know, nobody don’t know….We may stay here till we die.” Piggy is not an idealist. He is well aware of the perilous situation he’s in. Also, it is shown that Ralph intends to bring order to the group through his leadership. “Shut up, said Ralph absently. He lifted the conch. Seems to me we ought to have a chief to decide things.” Ralph realizes the importance of order even alone on an island, without grown-ups.
b)Another example of realism in the novel is Ralph’s insistence upon a fire. Ralph knows that smoke is the only way that they are going to be rescued, hence he is always stressing the importance of a fire. The others in the tribe cannot grasp or refuse to grasp the importance of the fire. They are not realistic. “There’s another thing. We can help them find us. If a ship comes near the island they may not notice us. So we must make smoke on top of the mountain. We must make a fire.” (Pg.41) This shows Ralph’s opinion on the importance of a fire.
c)Again, Ralph is the more realistic member of the group. He is always stressing importance on a fire rather than obtaining meat. Jack would rather be idealistic and live comfortably spending his time hunting. His first priority should be keeping the fire going, not hunting for meat. Ralph is smart enough to know that being rescued is more important than any kind of luxuries such as meat. Ralph does not care much for making life more comfortable on the island