Friday, January 27, 2012

lord of the flies

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The Lord the Flies

The Lord of the Flies by William Golding is a novel depicting the depravity of

all human beings. It follows a group of British boys on a journey from

Cheap University Papers on lord of the flies

civilization to savagery and the ultimate fight for survival. It explores

startling questions about human nature through symbolism. The dark side of

human nature is manifest in everyone. Only those who face the truth and are

completely honest with themselves can overcome that darkness.

The darkness is brought about by fear, cruelty, and deceit. Fear is first

introduced to island society by the littluns who speak of a beast from the water

and from the forest. This fear is multiplied and magnified tenfold as everyone

is drawn into this terror of the unknown. Though the older boys know that there

is no beast because they have explored the island and found nothing, they choose

to deceive themselves and succumb to fear, to darkness. Cruelty is the most

physical of the dark traits and even Ralph has an abundance of it. The boys

unite through common cruelty, from the teasing of Piggy to the killing of pigs.

Cruelty exists in moderation in most people and society usually does not allow

it to develop. In these unusual circumstances however, Roger and Jack reach new

heights of violence towards others. The darkness becomes a formidable force on

the island as those who oppose it are subdued or killed, and the truth


It is possible to overcome the darkness by seeing the truth and accepting only

complete honesty towards oneself. Simon, after his conversation with the Lord

of the Flies, becomes a bearer of truth. He is the only child who understands

what the beast is. In carrying this knowledge, he is murdered by the masses, by

those who are possessed by the darkness. He is a sacrifice for the cause of

shedding light in the dark because it allows Ralph to find conviction in

himself. This force of cruelty and deceit subconsciously manifests itself in

the children, and they fall victims of the darkness by killing Simon. After

Simon’s murder, only Ralph is willing to face the events of that night. Piggy

calls it an accident while Jack tries to explain it away by claiming Simon was

the beast in disguise. Jack, while in self-denial, is also perpetrating an

effective scheme to maintain power over the tribe. An event of this magnitude

had the potential to topple Jack’s leadership but instead he turns it to his

advantage, by telling lies. Simon’s murder allows Jack to emphasize the danger

of the beast and therefore the necessity to hunt and give offerings to appease

it. Though not having as clear an understanding as Simon, Ralph makes the

sacrifice worthwhile for he, from this point forth, can never be completely

submerged in the darkness.

Piggy’s death is further symbolic of the necessity for seeing the world clearly

in order to overcome the darkness. The reason Piggy and Ralph confront the

tribe at the time which leads to Piggy’s death is because Jack steals the

glasses in order to make fire. The glasses and their utility represent

civilization and intelligence. Furthermore, though it physically helps Piggy

see clearly, it symbolically is the force behind Ralph’s progressive ideas.

Piggy, the advisor behind Ralph’s leadership, gives Ralph a broader and clearer

perspective. It is in this manner that Ralph is able to make good decisions for

the people. Piggy is murdered by Roger on a sadistic whim and Piggy’s

intelligence embodied by the glasses are perverted to serve the savages. The

tribe uses the glasses to make fire � the fire that will soon consume the entire

island in the hunt for Ralph. Though Piggy dies, his influence and his ability

to see the truth continue in Ralph. Completely alone, Ralph is able to draw on

Piggy’s insight and hold on to civilization for strength. Ralph, being the only

remaining person on the island who is willing to face the truth, has to be

eliminated. The glasses, though turned from their original purpose of

maintaining civilization, still retain some of its virtue. The fire the tribe

starts to smoke out Ralph using those glasses also serves to save his life; thus

enabling him to survive the darkness of the island society.

The group of little boys on the island is a microcosm of human society. The

appearance of the naval officer at the end of the novel draws a parallel between

the war waged in the adult world and the boys’ isolated existence. It shows

that even in “civilized” society, darkness permeates human interactions, be it

between countries or countrymen. Only the truth will prevail over the darkness

of human nature.

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