Lord of the Flies William Golding 1911- 1993
About William Golding • British novelist • Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in literature • Fought in Royal Navy during WWII • Participated in invasion of Normandy on D-Day • At war’s end, returned to teaching and writing
Lord of the Flies • “It was simply what seemed sensible for me to write after the war when everyone was thanking God they weren’t Nazi’s. I’d seen enough to realize that every single one of us could be Nazi’s.” • Lord of the Flies was “an attempt to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature.” (Evil as a force within each of us.) William Golding on his novel, Lord of the Flies
About the Novel • Set in mid 1940’s during WWII. • A plane carrying British school boys is mistaken for a military craft and shot down. • Only the boys survive the crash, and try to form a society and govern themselves. • Free from the rules and structures of civilization and society, the boys descend into savagery. • Paints a broader portrait of the struggle between the civilizing instinct—the impulse to obey rules, behave morally, and act lawfully—and the savage instinct—the impulse to seek brute power over others, act selfishly, scorn moral rules, and indulge in violence. • Island is a microcosm of society, politics, and human psychology
Ralph Jack • Ralph is the most charismatic of the group. He is initially chosen as leader due to his many positive qualities. He maintains a conflict with Jack throughout the entire novel, attempting to keep order whereas Jack isn't concerned with it. Ralph and Piggy together represent the struggle for order and democracy. • Jack is about Ralph's age, with a skinnier build and red hair. From the very beginning, he seems to harbor emotions of anger and savagery. At first, he is the leader of his choir group, who become hunters as the book progresses. He eventually overtakes Ralph as chief/leader.
Piggy Simon Piggy is a short and overweight boy who wears glasses and represents order and democracy. He tries to cling to civilization, and tries his best to keep peace. While probably the smartest boy on the island, he lacks any social skills whatsoever, and has trouble communicating or fitting in with the others. His glasses are a very important part of the book, as they are used over and over to start fires. • Simon is younger than the three previous boys, but older than other littluns. He is very good and pure, and has the most positive outlook. Simon often travels into his tranquil spot in the jungle, but also tries to help out when it is needed. He meets up with a pig's head skewered on a stick which leads him to an epileptic episode.
Themes in the Novel • Civilization vs. Savagery • Loss of Innocence • Original Sin • Fear that separates one from God • Nature of Good and Evil • Goodness is rare and fleeting
Symbols in the Novel • The Beast- The fear that separates man from God • Piggy’s Glasses- Reason, science and insight • Lord of the Flies- Evil • Fire Signal- Hope, salvation
The Conch • Symbolizes power and order • Boy with the conch has the right to speak at meetings • What if something were to happen to the shell? Significance?
Modern Day Allusions • Allusion- (n.) an indirect reference to something There are many, many modern day allusions to Lord of the Flies in popular culture. For example….
The Simpson’s episode titled Das Bus is a parody of Lord of the Flies. Mark Burnett’s CBS island show is said to have been inspired by LOTF.
Bands such as Taking Back Sunday, Nine Inch Nails, AFI, Iron Maiden, and Pink Floyd have written songs about or have alluded to LOTF in their music The episode Club Spongebob is a spoof of LOTF.
Popular Music • Bands such as Taking Back Sunday, Nine Inch Nails, AFI, Iron Maiden, and Pink Floyd have written songs about or have alluded to LOTF in their music.
Allegory • Any type of fiction that has multiple levels of meaning in this way is called an allegory.