LORD OF THE FLIES. By William Golding. LORD OF THE FLIES. Introduction; Stylistic features: Key messages Key characters Ralph, Jack, Piggy, Roger, Simon Key symbols The conch, the beast, glasses, fire, light and dark Order v Savagery The Island.
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By William Golding
Introduction; Stylistic features: Key messages
Ralph, Jack, Piggy, Roger, Simon
The conch, the beast, glasses, fire, light and dark
Order v Savagery
In The Lord of the Flies there is the look at different methods of government, the democratic government and the dictatorship, which was relevant at the time the novel was written after the end of the second world war, with Hitler’s dictatorship as well as those of Mussolini and Stalin.
The story is meant to give a lesson to its readers, which is the quality of a fable. One of the messages could be that there is a dark side to all of us which, given the right circumstances, could come out. Evil lurks in all of us.
Ralph is the original leader of the boys on the island.
Golding presents him as a fair leader, allowing votes and he is caring for the other boys as he wants to run the group in a democratic way.
He has a loyal group of supporters initially, but gradually his support dwindles until he is alone being hunted by the others at the end.
Ralph is presented as a thinker and a sensitive character.
He learns a lot from his time on the island and is the one most affected by the change from innocence to knowledge.
Jack is Ralph’s rival and opposite.
Along with Ralph he is the oldest boy on the island and he already has a loyal group of followers when they arrive on the island in the form of the choir.
He is a strong and violent figure who commands fear from his followers.
He rules by force, which can be linked to Hitler’s dictatorship in Germany and he forces his supporters to do as he says.
He is a physical character and gradually becomes more violent as the novel progresses.
The intellectual of the island.
Serious, he often objects to the silliness of the other boys’ games.
Physically weak (he needs glasses, has asthma and is fat).
An adult figure, he comes up with a lot of sensible ideas such as how to use the conch and what to use it for.
Clear sighted, he can see what is happening to the boys, but is powerless to do anything about it.
Cruel, violent shown by his enjoyment of throwing stones.
Sadistic attitude, he is in charge of all the physical punishments.
Jack’s right hand man, as all dictators need close supporters.
The mystic, he sees into the future and often goes into trances.
A Christ like figure, he is compassionate, but a victim of the savagery of the others.
A deep thinker.
Colour changes to show a loss of innocence in the boys.
Loses its importance as the novel progresses as Jack and his ‘Tribe’ take over.
Smashed into a thousand pieces at the end to show loss of order and civilisation.
The beast is different for different boys
It is represented as the dead parachutist, snakes, the pig’s head and noises heard in the night.
The real beast is our deep, dark primeval urges.
The boys invent the beast as a fear for them to focus on rather than the darkness in themselves.
Piggy’s glasses represent intelligence and clear thinking.
They are useful for the boys to get the fire started both to attract rescuers and for cooking the meat.
When one lense is smashed it represents the lack of clear thinking of the others.
The glasses are completely destroyed when Piggy dies and this is Golding’s way of representing the further fall of the boys into chaos and darkness.
The fire has good and bad uses. It is useful for attracting rescue, gives warmth and can be used for cooking, but it can be very destructive as we see at the end of the novel.
Fire is used in ritual and is the backdrop to Simon’s frantic death.
Light represents freedom and innocence.
Darkness shows fear and uncertainty.