Allegory • A fictional work with two levels of meaning: literal and symbolic. • Characters, objects or events in a story or poem represent or symbolize ideas and concepts. • The underlying meaning has moral, social, religious, or political significance.
William Golding (1911-1993) • English novelist, playwright, poet. • Won Nobel Prize for Literature; Knighted in 1988. • Fought with Royal Navy during WWII; involved with sinking of Bismarck and D-Day on Normandy beach.
Lord of the Flies • Published in 1954. • Can be read as an allegory of WWII. • Struggle against war and savagery; moral ambiguity and fragility of civilization.
Language & Style • Simile: comparison using “like” or “as.” • This last piece of shop brought sniggers from the choir, who perched like black birds on the criss-cross trunks.” (19). • Metaphor: implied comparison between two things that appear different but share similar characteristics. • “A storm of laughter arose and even the tiniest child joined in.” (20). • Personification: giving human qualities to inanimate objects. • “The great rock loitered, poised on one toe, decided not to return, fell, struck, turned over, leapt droning through the air and smashed a deep hole in the canopy of the forest.” (26).
Asyndeton (“unconnected”): literary device in which conjunctions [and, or, but, nor] are omitted; creates emphasis: • “We saw no houses, no smoke, no footprints, no boats, no people.” (30). • Polysyndeton (“bound together”): literary device in which conjunctions are used where they might have been omitted; creates emphasis: • “Here the beach was interrupted abruptly by the square motif of the landscape; a great platform of pink granite thrust up uncompromisingly through the forest and terrace and sand and lagoon to make a jetty four feet high.” (11).
Hyperbole (“over-casting”): exaggeration of ideas for the sake of emphasis; creates contrast between what is ordinary and exceptional. • “They walked along, two continents of experience and feeling, unable to communicate.” (50). • Verisimilitude: likeness to truth; resemblance of real event in fiction; sensory detail helps create sense of reality. • “The droppings were war. They piled among turned earth. They were olive green, smooth and steamed a little.” (45).
Language and Style (cont.) • Synecdoche: a literary device in which a part of something represents the whole or the whole of something is used to represent a part. • “He began to dance and his laughter became a bloodthirsty snarling. He capered toward Bill, and the mask was a thing on its own, behind which Jack hid, liberated from shame and self-consciousness.” (58).
Symbols • Conch • Signal fire • Piggy’s glasses • Island • Beast
Symbols • Conch: authority; order; power • Signal fire: hope for rescue • Piggy’s glasses: hope for rescue, technology, human intelligence • Island: adventure, paradise • Beast: danger/evil
Characters As Symbols • Ralph • Piggy • Jack • Simon
Characters As Symbols • Ralph: authority; law and order • Piggy: reason; human intelligence; adult world • Jack: savagery; anarchy; violence • Simon: kindness; compassion; nature
Allusions in LOTF • Allusion: A reference toa famous person, historical or religious figure, historical event, or another literary work. • Literary Allusions in LOTF: Coral Island & Treasure Island: adventure novels about boys trapped on islands but are rescued in the end.
Biblical Allusions (cont.) • The island: Garden of Eden (starts as a paradise) • Lord of the Flies: Beelzebub (demon in Hell); references to beast speaking, rising out of sea; being worshiped because it cannot be defeated • Christ figure: • Performs miracles • Has divine or mystical qualities • Heals/helps others • Displays kindness and forgiveness • Fights for justice; faces evil • Dies and is resurrected • Martyr: sacrifices himself/herself for a cause larger than self
Simon as Christ figure • Kindness/helps others: builds huts, defends Piggy, feeds littluns. • Mystical qualities: boys recognize him as different; goes to his secret place to be alone and think; seems to know Ralph will go home.
Simon (cont.) • Faces evil: confrontation with Lord of the Flies • Martyr: Understands the truth about evil, fear, and human nature; is killed for trying to reveal it. • Dies and is Resurrected: Body “disappears.”
Symbol & Theme • Symbol: Lord of the Flies is symbolic of the innate evil in human beings. • Theme: Under the right circumstances (the breakdown of civilization), the innate evil in human beings will prevail.
Question • If a theme of Lord of the Flies is the realization of innate evil in mankind, why does Golding introduce a savior figure?