Lord of the Flies Themes

Lord of the Flies Themes

The list and analysis of Lord of the Flies styles and the main disputes of the novel. The crucial occasions that highlight that themes and help the author to present them to audience.

Lord of the Flies is rather a questionable book by a British writer W.Golding which rises the problems that are generally decently omitted– the primal fears and desires that rapidly get rid of the thin layer of civilization. The bunch of preadolescent boys who are marooned to the deserted island– some of them even sung in the church choir– attempts to survive and the island is welcoming enough to do so without much effort. However, with no rules and ethical guidance, the attempts to keep order and some form of democracy stop working and the young boys become a wild, murderous people.

The book wasn’t accepted well initially, but later, after the preliminary shock, it rapidly ended up being a bestseller and was awarded lot of times. The mental issues depicted in it are troubling, but they describe some processes that truly can occur with individuals away from the civilized society, specifically young people.

On the metaphorical and philosophical level, the novel outlines the primal nature of the humankind, like the one described in “Leviathan” by Hobbes– the animalistic, basic advises and desires that are artificially restrained by social agreements, e.g. morals, ethics, government and so on. The kids who used to sing in church– the most innocent people possible– descend into savagery even faster than the others. Their quelched desires and feelings finally discover the way outside.

The religion– both Christian and tribal rituals– plays substantial part in the book. The children transform the tribal searching rituals and war paint, collective war dances and putting up effigies. Among them, the severed pig head, an offering to The Monster, is called Lord of the Flies by among the boys. Lord of the Flies is one of the titles of the Devil– and when this young boy begins to talk with the head in a feverish deception, it gives him a genuinely devilish speech, even forecasting the boy’s death. We do not understand if there are any supernatural forces involved into the moral decay of the boys, but this episode adds the new level of creepiness to the story.

Civilization vs. Savagery

To fully understand this primary Lord of the Flies style and its symbolism we need to describe the dispute between civilization and savagery and begin with the definitions of both. Generally, in mundane sense, the civilized behavior means having good manners and being acceptable in the society– something that isn’t natural for the person and ought to be taught and memorized. At the starting the boys are well-brought-up and know everything to be “civilized” kids, but they rapidly go back to the savage level with searching, event and bloody routines. The author implies that savagery is the natural state of human beings. We never ever get the real answer to the concern if everybody is a savage by nature, or it true just for some people like Roger, while Piggy, Ralph and Simon have a lot more natural resistance.

Another author’s implication is that savagery is straight linked to the primitive lifestyle. Golding doesn’t hide his racist attitude towards the people, considering them a lot of savage individuals who don’t have any morals at all.

We constantly see this dispute of the ideas in the duplicated clashes of Ralph and Jack who represent civilized and savage side respectively. They both have equal authority, however Ralph utilizes it for the sake of everyone, imposing the values and trying to develop democracy. Jack wants power simply for the sake of it, enjoying his superior position and demanding worshipping in the end.

Guidelines and Order

The kids aren’t naturally prone to maintaining order and following rules. They find them frustrating and unnecessary challenges between them and their desires. Even if the rules work, like brushing teeth to avoid future issues or studying at school to get a good job in the future. So, the set of rules, established by the first democratic vote on the island is rather an odd mix of childish desires and the actually needed things. So “having fun” as the point of the Constitution is equally essential regarding maintain a signal fire always, so that the young boys can be observed and saved.

Still, while there is no external authority to keep such an order, the rules start to erode. The long-term goals are forgotten for the sake of pleasing of instant requirements. All the actions of the kids are now committed to hunting, eliminating and worshipping their brand-new leader. They come down to the state where the only guideline is the rule of worry and raw force. They do not see much meaning in the rules, not comprehending that they are the essential thing to keep the society sane and alive.

Golding states that the human beings are corrupted, evil and animalistic even more than the animals are. The rules– any rules– exist to limit the Beast inside us all and if they fail to do so, the society will tear itself apart and immediately regress to the tribal and primitive state, where the only rule is the large strength and charm of its leader.

Individualism vs. Community

Another crucial style W.Golding raises in his Lord of the Flies is the role of a specific in society and in the crowd as the worst form of society. It is a complicated concern, since from the one hand we see that some of the kids take part in the atrocities committed by a part of their group just because they feel as the part of the crowd doing whatever anyone else is doing. But from the other hand, the young boys who are the first to begin doing bad things are brilliant personalities, who put their own egoistic issues above the requirements and rules of community. The brightest contrast of these two approaches is shown in the conflict in between Jack and Ralph. Jack wants to have a good time and follow his desires, lastly delighted that he can live without the supervision of grownups. Ralph wishes to make certain that they will be saved and tries to apply some affordable rules that will benefit the community.

Ralph’s method is sensible, however it requires self-restricting, something that the kids are not good at. So, very soon they start ignoring their responsibilities, delighting in “having fun”. Finally, they forget their main goal– to be saved– to the level that they let the signal fire be snuffed out while slaughtering pigs and “having a good time”.

The majority of young boys sign up with Jack’s people that symbolizes no responsibilities for everybody, and the main thing Jack seduces them with is the total freedom from any rules. The society based upon individual desires stops being a society, however still it is incredibly tempting. Still, as the readers soon find out, the freedom is an illusion, provided by Jack. His reign is even more limiting than Ralph’s method of ruling where everybody has the right of voice and vote.

Wisdom and Understanding

Wisdom and knowledge are not just the same thing– sometimes they are completely opposite to each other. Understanding is something that is taught– and there is a lot of understanding from school they utilize to endure. For instance, Piggy uses his glasses to focus the sun rays and spark fire. However wisdom is something natural, that some characters possess, the characteristic that assists them make it through … or dooms them.

Wise characters, like Simon, have something that can’t be explained by the knowledge they got in school or during their previous duration of life. It is something much more primal and mystical, practically spiritual. When left in the darkness, some young boys go nuts, as most of us would do, but a few of them feel comfortable in the darkness as if they currently remained in such conditions and are much more savvy.

Simon goes further than others. He has a moment of a trance-like state, when he speaks to the Lord of the Flies and gets the answers that are too complex and philosophical to be simply the product of the creativity of a kid. Even if the entire dialog is simply Simon’s fantasy, it can’t discuss the reality that the Lord of the Flies predicted Simon’s death from the hands of his fellow survivors.

Simon represents knowledge while Piggy represents intelligence. They are completely various from each other, however they both share the same fate– to be eliminated, sacrificed to the primal desires and fears. The irony is that the 2 of the brightest characters are murdered for relatively the extremely characteristics that differ them from the rest of the tribe.


The question of identity is raised by William Golding very frequently in the book. The uniqueness of the boys plays a major part in the story: some of them are more scheduled, some end up being unhinged, a few of them are shy, spirited or odd. The character of each of them shines when they take the shell to speak on their gatherings. This makes their turning into the mindless crowd much more scary.

When the young boys sign up with Jack’s people, they compromise their identities, accepting the will of Jack and becoming the administrators of his will. They cover their confront with war paint, turning them into similar clay masks. The useful meaning of it is to prevent the pigs from seeing their white skin while the boys hunt. However the painting also has both historical and psychological significance: from the one hand, the tribal war paint unifies the people, making it the single pack that collaborates. But from the other hand the young boys consequently discard their identities to feel much better with all the atrocities they dedicate. They reject their characters, becoming the nameless beings who do not have “selves” to manage and restrict.

Another thing that is essential is the phenomenon that is called the psychology of the crowd. When individuals collect and are agitated by something or somebody, like a charismatic leader, their identities and critical thinking melt together into the single entity driven by the primal desires and managed by the leaders. This collective entity, a hive mind of sort, is the Beast the boys fear so much– if we can think the Lord of the Flies who speaks to Simon.

The Nature of Evil

One of the essential styles of Lord of the Flies meaning and message is the nature of evil. Are the courteous and well-behaving young boys are simply naturally evil and damaged like every person? Or just a few of them, like Jack, are ethically unhinged and charismatic sufficient to lead the others to the evil side? Or perhaps does the Lord of the Flies significance mean it is the manifestation of Satan himself, as we can presume from his discussion with Simon?

It is really tempting to believe that the kids were tainted by some supernatural entity, the Beast. But the author’s attitude, though still leaving us the space for creativity, is clear: there is no Monster, no Satan, no damaging force. The worry of the Beast is just the forecast of kids’ own harmful impulses, put onto a fictional predator in the forest– just as the kids in the house give the types of monsters under the bed to their unrequited concerns and fears.

So, according to William Golding, the difference is not in capability or failure to do evil, however in the ability to control this evil and utilizing the destructive energy for something useful. We see Jack and Roger who enjoy cruelty for the sake of ruthlessness, and Ralph and Simon, who are continuously battling with their inner Monster.

The irony of the book is the fact that the adults, represented by the naval officer, are not much better. The officer acts like adult Jack, and the war in between the young boys is the distorted reflection of the war in the remainder of the world. We’ll never ever known just how much the war and the war propaganda influenced the young boys and made them who they become on the island.

Dehumanization of Relationships

The most essential indication of dehumanization is the young boys’ attitude to the hunt. Golding plainly reveals that gradually they stop making distinction in between them and the pigs they kill, they end up being anonymous predators, working as a pack. This sensation grows more powerful when they begin to show their hunt in the ritual dance, utilizing among the boys as the pig alternative. We see that the less humankind they have, the closer they come to in fact killing the “prey” in the routine. For the very first time, Maurice is unscarred, however Robert is almost killed, when the rest of them become unable to control their destructive impulses.

We see that the boys start cracking very dark jokes, like suggesting to slaughter one of the children if they will not hunt enough pigs. Their objectives are minimized to satisfying the standard desires and they are not able to see each other in the other method than tools to get what they want.
The dark irony is that the kids reflect the dehumanization that takes place in the battle zone. Their world is swallowed up by war and they just copy the behaviour of the adult soldiers, just in an exaggerated way.

Dehumanization reaches its pinnacle, when 2 boys are killed, due to the fact that the rest declines to see them as human beings. Piggy’s nickname makes him a laughingstock at first and the victim in the end, due to the fact that he becomes an extremely comfortable replacement for a pig. Simon is misinterpreted for the Monster, or simply made an alternative to the Monster for the remainder of the kids to kill him, symbolically eliminating their worries with him.


The fear is among the significant driving forces of the plot. Piggy, with his awkward statement: “I understand there isn’t no worry” sums up all of it. The fear itself, on a completely safe island, develops the imaginary Monster the kids try to secure themselves from. Beast is the projection of their individual fears, natural for the kids who are left alone with a really thin possibility to be conserved.

The Monster could be exceptionally harmful if it ever existed. But the fear of the Monster itself does far more harm than any predator can do. The boys start to kill each other on their own, there are no predators that hunt them. To conquer their worry they end up being a growing number of violent, killing and mutilating the pigs simply for sport, amusement and venting their anger. In the end, they themselves turn into the cumulative Monster, the thing they were so scared of.

This is an extremely common catastrophe of the humankind: some wars start even if of fear that the other side would strike first. Both sides develop their military power, pump the residents with propaganda, to the point when everybody is so upset that the war ends up being an unavoidable, self-fulfilling prophecy.

Man vs. Nature

The boys get into a preferably virgin environment with no trace of mankind. Their attitude to the island is extremely various. For example, Jack is a common colonist, who wishes to track and hunt pigs, seeing the island simply as a source of important resources. He even sets a forest fire later on, revealing his recklessness and lack of understanding of the nature and the damage done to it. He is violent, militaristic and believes that human beings are above anything else. His total opposite is Simon, who enjoys the island immediately and finds peace resting in the isolated glade inside the dense forest. He takes pleasure in the unity with nature and it seems that the island loves him too. Ralph stays someplace in between: he isn’t fond of violent hunts or Simon’s journeys to the forest. He prefers to remain on the beach– their own “civilized” location– and work for the enhancement of the settlement, not screwing up with the nature without a dire requirement. His mindset is the most well balanced and civilized, when Simon’s and Jack’s ones represent the 2 sides of human primal nature.

The Loss of Innocence

The loss of innocence is one of the most important Lord of the Flies styles, that is raised by William Golding in the end of the novel. The boys start their journey totally innocent, but do it in the right age, when the impressions about the completely kind and just world are typically shattered. The book ends with Ralph, weeping for the “end of innocence, the darkness of guy’s heart”. Such adult and embittered ideas demonstrate how fast they all had to grow up on the island. The young boys in the end are less like kids, but more like the adult soldiers, weirdly showing the behaviour of the naval officer– one of the couple of adults in the book.

The religious parallels are also extremely clear: the island is described like paradise, completely welcoming and safe. But the first “incarnation” of the Beast is a “snake-thing” the smallest ones are frightened of. A snake is the sign of Satan who triggered the exile of Adam and Eve from heaven. We see that, as the young boys come down to the primal and wild state, the environment reacts appropriately, turning from peaceful Heaven to Hell, tossing a storm and big waves at the killers of Simon.

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