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Lord Of The Flys
The Lord of the Flies
In his classic novel, Lord of the Flies, William Golding utilizes many elements of symbolism to help accomplish his motif, which is "man is basically evil." Symbolism can be anything, a person, place or thing, used to portray something beyond itself. It is used to represent or foreshadow the conclusion of the story. As one reads this novel, he or she will begin to recognize the way basic civilization is slowly stripped away from the boys. Let us know look closer at the ways Golding uses this form of symbolism. From the very beginning of the story the boys inwardly strip themselves of the remnants of the basic civilized world. This is shown when the boys shed their clothes; their school sweaters, then the rest of their clothes are torn off. Their hair becomes increasingly disheveled, long, and entangled with small twigs. Since the boys are left without any adult supervision they have to turn to their collective unconscious. The collective unconscious was discovered by the renown psychologist Carl Jung. Let us now look further into each individual character in the novel, and discover how they each contribute to portray the ending of the story. Ralph is one of the older boys on the island and remains the leader throughout most of the novel. He is described as a pure, English lad. Such details as his fair hair and the fact that he is wearing his school sweater symbolizes many things. First of all the fact that he has fair hair represents that he will be the positive force throughout the novel, as opposed to Jack who is described as having red hair. The fact that he keeps his school sweater symbolizes his desire to keep the island somewhat civilized. He does everything he can to keep the boys under some kind of society. He makes laws including the freedom of speech. Ralph becomes very popular in the beginning, however as the novel proceeds and the society deteriorates, the popular leader is abandoned for a strong-armed dictator; Jack Merridew. The impression that we have of Jack is that he is a tall thin boy with a shock of red hair at the summit of a black cloak. Jacks appearance seems to suggest evil. Unlike Ralph who stands for common sense and a desire for normal civilized life, all Jack cares about is hunting. Because of this opposition between Jack and Ralph, Jack is Ralph's main antagonist. Symbolically Jack breaks away from good when he baptizes himself with the blood of the slaughtered pig. Jack eventually breaks away from Ralph and the others and forms his own group which will basically strive for blood. This leads to multiple murders. With the exception of Ralph, Piggy, and a few others, Jack lures the other boys to join him. According to the laws of Freudian Psychology Jacks Id has taken over. Another character portrayed in Lord of the Flies is Piggy. Piggy is the object of much mockery and is obviously a fat boy. Piggy foresees both the need for a closely watched signal fire and for secure shelters on the beach. Piggys spectacles are used to start the fire. Piggy could represent knowledge or intelligence, a figure which is often depicted as a fire-bringer. A familiar expression that can represent this is the fire of inspiration. Even though Piggy represented all good he was often jeered at. Simon is a Christ figure. He is quiet, almost unnoticed, yet he speaks wiser than the others. His wander deep into the heart of the woods in chapter three, is representative of Jesus' journey's to isolate himself to pray to his Father. As we can clearly see, William Golding has used much symbolism to help portray the ending of the novel, Lord of the Flies. A running theme in Lord of the Flies is that man is savage at heart, always ultimately reverting back to an evil and primitive nature. The cycle of man's rise to power, or righteousness, and his inevitable fall from grace is an important point that book proves again and again, often comparing man with characters from the Bible to give a more vivid picture of his descent. Lord Of The Flies symbolizes this fall in different manners, ranging from the illustration of the mentality of actual primitive man to the reflections of a corrupt seaman in purgatory. The novel is the story of a group of boys of different backgrounds who are marooned on an unknown island when their plane crashes. As the boys try to organize and formulate a plan to get rescued, they begin to separate and as a result of the dissension a band of savage tribal hunters is formed. Eventually the "stranded boys in Lord of the Flies almost entirely shake off civilized behavior: (Riley 1: 119). When the confusion finally leads to a manhunt [for Ralph], the reader realizes that despite the strong sense of British character and civility that has been instilled in the youth throughout their lives, the boys have backpedaled and shown the underlying savage side existent in all humans. "Golding senses that institutions and order imposed from without are temporary, but man's irrationality and urge for destruction are enduring" (Riley 1: 119). The novel shows the reader how easy it is to revert back to the evil nature inherent in man. If a group of well-conditioned school boys can ultimately wind up committing various extreme travesties, one can imagine what adults, leaders of society, are capable of doing under the pressures of trying to maintain world relations. Lord of the Flies's apprehension of evil is such that it touches the nerve of contemporary horror as no English novel of its time has done; it takes us, through symbolism, into a world of active, proliferating evil which is seen, one feels, as the natural condition of man and which is bound to remind the reader of the vilest manifestations of Nazi regression (Riley 1: 120). In the novel, Simon is a peaceful lad who tries to show the boys that there is no monster on the island except the fears that the boys have. "Simon tries to state the truth: there is a beast, but 'it's only us'" (Baker 11). When he makes this revelation, he is ridiculed. This is an uncanny parallel to the misunderstanding that Christ had to deal with throughout his life. Later in the story, the savage hunters are chasing a pig. Once they kill the pig, they put its head on a stick and Simon experiences an epiphany in which he "sees the perennial fall which is the central reality of our history: the defeat of reason and the release of... madness in souls wounded by fear" (Baker 12). As Simon rushes to the campfire to tell the boys of his discovery, he is hit in the side with a spear, his prophecy rejected and the word he wished to spread ignored. Simon falls to the ground dead and is described as beautiful and pure. The description of his death, the manner in which he died, and the cause for which he died are remarkably similar to the circumstances of Christ's life and ultimate demise. The major difference is that Christ died on the cross, while Simon was speared. However, a reader familiar with the Bible recalls that Christ was stabbed in the side with a a spear before his crucifixion. William Golding discusses man's capacity for fear and cowardice. In the novel, the boys on the island first encounter a natural fear of being stranded on an uncharted island without the counsel of adults. Once the boys begin to organize and begin to feel more adult-like themselves, the fear of monsters takes over. It is understandable that boys ranging in ages from toddlers to young teenagers would have fears of monsters, especially when it is taken into consideration that the children are stranded on the island. The author wishes to show, however, that fear is an emotion that is instinctive and active in humans from the very beginnings of their lives. This revelation uncovers another weakness in man, supporting the idea or belief that man is pathetic and savage at the very core of his existence. Throughout the novel, there is a struggle for power between two groups. This struggle illustrates man's fear of losing control, which is another example of his selfishness and weakness. The fear of monsters is natural; the fear of losing power is inherited. The author uses these vices to prove the point that any type of uncontrolled fear contributes to man's instability and will ultimately lead to his [man's] demise spiritually and perhaps even physically. The author chooses to use an island as the setting for the majority of the story. "The island is an important symbol in all of Golding's works. It suggests the isolation of man in a frightening and mysterious cosmos, and the futility of his attempt to create an ordered preserve for himself in an otherwise patternless world" (Baker 26). The island in the novel is the actual island; it is not simply an island, though. It is a microcosm of life itself, the adult world, and the human struggle with his own loneliness. "Left alone on the island of the self, man discovers the reality of his own dark heart, and what he discovers is too abominable for him to endure. At the highest pitch of terror he makes the only gesture he can make -- a raw, instinctive appeal for help, for rescue" (Baker 67). Man grows more savage at heart as he evolves because of his cowardice and his quest for power. The novel proves this by throwing together opposing forces into a situation that dowses them with power struggles and frightening situations. By comparing mankind in general to Biblical characters in similar scenarios, the novel provides images of the darker side of man. This darker side of man's nature inevitably wins and man is proven to be a pathetic race that refuses to accept responsibility for its shortcomings. In his first novel, William Golding used a group of boys stranded on a tropical island to illustrate the malicious nature of mankind. Lord of the Flies dealt with changes that the boys underwent as they gradually adapted to the isolated freedom from society. Three main characters depicted different effects on certain individuals under those circumstances. Jack Merridew began as the arrogant and self-righteous leader of a choir. The freedom of the island allowed him to further develop the darker side of his personality as the Chief of a savage tribe. Ralph started as a self-assured boy whose confidence in himself came from the acceptance of his peers. He had a fair nature as he was willing to listen to Piggy. He became increasingly dependent on Piggy's wisdom and became lost in the confusion around him. Towards the end of the story his rejection from their society of savage boys forced him to fend for himself. Piggy was an educated boy who had grown up as an outcast. Due to his academic childhood, he was more mature than the others and retained his civilized behaviour. But his experiences on the island gave him a more realistic understanding of the cruelty possessed by some people. The ordeals of the three boys on the island made them more aware of the evil inside themselves and in some cases, made the false politeness that had clothed them dissipate. However, the changes experienced by one boy differed from those endured by another. This is attributable to the physical and mental dissimilarities between them. Jack was first described with an ugly sense of cruelty that made him naturally unlikeable. As leader of the choir and one of the tallest boys on the island, Jack's physical height and authority matched his arrogant personality. His desire to be Chief was clearly evident in hi
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