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Lord of the Flies
The classic novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding is an exciting adventure deep into the nether regions of the mind. The part of the brain that is suppressed by the mundane tasks of modern society. It is a struggle between Ralph and Jack, the boys and the Beast, good and evil.
The story takes a look at what would happen if a group of British school boys were to become stranded on an island. At first the boys have good intentions, keep a fire going so that a passing ship can see the smoke and rescue them, however because of the inherent evil of the many the good intentions of the few are quickly passed over for more exciting things. The killing of a pig slowly begins to take over the boys life, and they begin to go about this in a ritualistic way, dancing around the dead animal and chanting. As this thirst for blood begins to spread the group is split into the "rational (the fire-watchers) pitted against the irrational (the hunters) (Dick 121)." The fear of a mythological "beast" is perpetuated by the younger members of the groups and they are forced to do something about it. During one of the hunters' celebrations around the kill of an animal a fire-watcher stumbles in to try and disband the idea of the monster. Caught of in the rabid frenzy of the dance, this fire-watcher suddenly becomes the monster and is brutally slaughtered by the other members of the group. The climax of the novel is when the hunters are confronted by the fire-watchers. The hunters had stole Piggy's (one of the fire-watchers) glasses so that they may have a means of making a cooking fire. One of the more vicious hunters roles a boulder off of a cliff, crushing Piggy, and causing the death of yet another rational being. The story concludes with the hunters hunting Ralph (the head and last of the fire-watchers). After lighting half of the island on fire in an attempt to smoke Ralph from his hiding place, they chase him on to the beach only to find a ships captain and crew waiting there to rescue them, because he saw the smoke.
The novel is packed full of symbolism and irony. Golding also communicates his message quite well. "The title refers to Beelzebub, most stinking and depraved of all the devils: it is he, and not the God of Christians, who is worshipped (Burgess 121)." This is just one of the many examples of symbolism. Another would be that as the story progressed characters names slowly begin to change. A pair of twin boys, Sam and Eric, became know as Samneric, a single unit. Another boy completely forgot his name because he was just lumped into the group know as the little'uns. This is symbolic of the break down of the basic structure of society, identity. If a person does not know who he is then he can never function properly in society. The other tool that Golding uses very well is irony. It is very ironic that the group of boys finally get rescued because they accidentally lit the island on fire hunting down the last of the fire-watchers. From these example it is easy to make a conclusion on the message the William Golding was trying to convey when he wrote Lord of the Flies. "In Lord of the Flies he [Golding] showed how people go to hell when the usual social controls are lifted, on desert islands real or imaginary (Sheed 121)."
Despite being heavily involved in the war efforts during the second world war, Golding managed to not become a war novelist, this does
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