Lord of the Flies Themes
The list and analysis of Lord of the Flies styles and the primary conflicts of the novel. The key events that illustrate that themes and assist the author to present them to audience.
Lord of the Flies is quite a questionable book by a British author W.Golding which rises the problems that are usually decently left out– the primal fears and desires that rapidly remove 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– tries to survive and the island is inviting enough to do so without much effort. However, with no rules and moral assistance, the attempts to keep order and some type of democracy fail and the kids become a wild, murderous people.
The book wasn’t accepted well at first, however later on, after the initial shock, it quickly became a bestseller and was granted often times. The psychological problems depicted in it are disturbing, but they discuss some processes that truly can occur with the people far from the civilized society, specifically youths.
On the metaphorical and philosophical level, the unique outlines the primal nature of the humankind, like the one explained in “Leviathan” by Hobbes– the animalistic, basic prompts and desires that are synthetically limited by social agreements, e.g. morals, ethics, federal government and so on. The kids who used to sing in church– the most innocent humans possible– descend into savagery even faster than the others. Their repressed desires and feelings finally find the way outside.
The religion– both Christian and tribal rituals– plays substantial part in the book. The kids transform the tribal hunting rituals and war paint, cumulative war dances and setting up effigies. One of them, the severed pig head, an offering to The Beast, is called Lord of the Flies by among the kids. Lord of the Flies is one of the titles of the Devil– and when this young boy begins to talk to the head in a feverish misconception, it offers him a truly devilish speech, even forecasting the kid’s death. We don’t know if there are any supernatural forces included into the ethical decay of the kids, 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 importance we ought to describe the conflict between civilization and savagery and start from the definitions of both. Generally, in mundane sense, the civilized habits implies having great manners and being acceptable in the society– something that isn’t natural for the human being and must be taught and remembered. At the starting the boys are well-brought-up and know everything to be “civilized” kids, however they rapidly go back to the savage level with searching, event and bloody rituals. The author suggests that savagery is the natural state of humans. We never ever get the genuine response to the concern if everyone is a savage by nature, or it real just for some people like Roger, while Piggy, Ralph and Simon have much more natural resistance.
Another author’s ramification is that savagery is directly connected to the primitive way of life. Golding doesn’t conceal his racist mindset towards the people, considering them a lot of savage people who don’t have any morals at all.
We continuously see this conflict of the principles in the duplicated clashes of Ralph and Jack who represent civilized and savage side respectively. They both have equal authority, however Ralph uses it for the sake of everybody, imposing the moral code and trying to develop democracy. Jack wants power simply for the sake of it, enjoying his remarkable position and demanding worshipping in the end.
Guidelines and Order
The kids aren’t naturally vulnerable to maintaining order and following guidelines. They discover them bothersome and unneeded challenges in between them and their desires. Even if the guidelines work, like brushing teeth to avoid future problems or studying at school to get a great job in the future. So, the set of rules, established by the very first democratic vote on the island is rather a strange mix of childish dreams and the really required things. So “having fun” as the point of the Constitution is similarly crucial as to maintain a signal fire constantly, so that the boys can be discovered and rescued.
Still, while there is no external authority to preserve such an order, the guidelines start to wear down. The long-lasting goals are forgotten for the sake of satisfying of immediate requirements. All the actions of the young boys are now devoted to searching, eliminating and worshipping their brand-new leader. They descend to the state where the only rule is the rule of fear and raw force. They don’t see much significance in the rules, not understanding that they are the necessary thing to keep the society sane and alive.
Golding states that the humans are damaged, wicked and animalistic even more than the animals are. The rules– any rules– exist to restrict the Monster inside us all and if they stop working to do so, the society will tear itself apart and instantly regress to the tribal and primitive state, where the only rule is the large strength and charm of its leader.
Individualism vs. Community
Another essential 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 complex question, because from the one hand we see that a few of the kids take part in the atrocities committed by a part of their group even if they feel as the part of the crowd doing whatever anyone else is doing. However from the other hand, the kids who are the first to start doing bad things are brilliant personalities, who put their own egoistic concerns above the requirements and guidelines of neighborhood. The brightest contrast of these two approaches is displayed in the conflict between Jack and Ralph. Jack wishes to have fun and follow his desires, lastly happy that he can live without the guidance of grownups. Ralph wants to make certain that they will be rescued and attempts to use some reasonable rules that will benefit the neighborhood.
Ralph’s way is sensible, however it needs self-restricting, something that the kids are bad at. So, very soon they begin neglecting their tasks, indulging in “having fun”. Finally, they forget their primary objective– to be rescued– to the degree that they let the signal fire be extinguished while slaughtering pigs and “having a good time”.
Most of young boys sign up with Jack’s people that represents no duties for everybody, and the main thing Jack seduces them with is the overall flexibility from any guidelines. The society based on private desires stops being a society, however still it is exceptionally appealing. Still, as the readers quickly learn, the liberty is an illusion, offered by Jack. His reign is far more limiting than Ralph’s way of judgment where everybody has the right of voice and vote.
Wisdom and Understanding
Knowledge and knowledge are not just the same thing– in some cases they are entirely opposite to each other. Knowledge is something that is taught– and there is a great deal of knowledge from school they utilize to endure. For instance, Piggy utilizes his glasses to focus the sun rays and spark fire. But wisdom is something inherent, that some characters have, the trait that assists them survive … or dooms them.
Wise characters, like Simon, have something that can’t be explained by the understanding they got in school or throughout their previous duration of life. It is something much more primal and strange, nearly spiritual. When left in the darkness, some young boys go nuts, as the majority of us would do, however a few of them feel comfy in the darkness as if they currently remained in such conditions and are far more savvy.
Simon goes further than others. He has a minute of a trance-like state, when he speaks with 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 just Simon’s fantasy, it can’t discuss the reality that the Lord of the Flies anticipated Simon’s death from the hands of his fellow survivors.
Simon represents knowledge while Piggy represents intelligence. They are entirely various from each other, however they both share the exact same fate– to be killed, compromised to the primal desires and worries. The irony is that the two of the brightest characters are killed for seemingly the extremely characteristics that vary them from the remainder of the people.
The concern of identity is raised by William Golding very often in the book. The uniqueness of the young boys plays a huge part in the story: some of them are more scheduled, some end up being unhinged, a few of them are shy, lively or weird. The personality of each of them shines when they take the shell to speak on their gatherings. This makes their developing into the mindless crowd much more scary.
When the kids join Jack’s people, they compromise their identities, yielding to the will of Jack and becoming the executors of his will. They cover their confront with war paint, turning them into similar clay masks. The useful significance of it is to avoid the pigs from seeing their white skin while the boys hunt. But the painting likewise has both historic and psychological significance: from the one hand, the tribal war paint unifies the people, making it the single pack that works together. But from the other hand the young boys subsequently discard their identities to feel better with all the atrocities they devote. They deny their personalities, turning into the anonymous beings who do not have “selves” to control and limit.
Another thing that is very important is the phenomenon that is called the psychology of the crowd. When individuals gather and are upset by something or someone, like a charming leader, their identities and important believing melt together into the single entity driven by the primal desires and managed by the leaders. This cumulative entity, a hive mind of sort, is the Monster the kids fear so much– if we can think the Lord of the Flies who speaks with Simon.
The Nature of Evil
Among the essential styles of Lord of the Flies symbolism and message is the nature of evil. Are the polite and well-behaving kids are simply naturally evil and damaged like every human being? Or just a few of them, like Jack, are ethically unhinged and charming adequate 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 extremely appealing to think that the young boys were tainted by some supernatural entity, the Beast. But the author’s mindset, though still leaving us the space for imagination, is clear: there is no Beast, no Satan, no damaging force. The fear of the Beast is just the projection of kids’ own harmful impulses, put onto a fictional predator in the forest– simply as the kids at home offer the forms of beasts under the bed to their unrequited concerns and worries.
So, according to William Golding, the distinction is not in capability or inability to do wicked, but in the ability to control this evil and using the harmful energy for something helpful. We see Jack and Roger who delight in ruthlessness for the sake of ruthlessness, and Ralph and Simon, who are constantly combating with their inner Beast.
The irony of the novel is the reality that the grownups, represented by the naval officer, are very little better. The officer acts like adult Jack, and the war in between the kids is the distorted reflection of the war in the remainder of the world. We’ll never known how much the war and the war propaganda affected the kids and made them who they become on the island.
Dehumanization of Relationships
The most crucial indication of dehumanization is the boys’ attitude to the hunt. Golding plainly shows that slowly they stop making difference between them and the pigs they eliminate, they end up being anonymous predators, working as a pack. This feeling grows more powerful when they begin to show their hunt in the routine dance, using among the young boys as the pig alternative. We see that the less mankind they have, the closer they pertain to actually eliminating the “victim” in the routine. For the first time, Maurice is unscarred, but Robert is practically killed, when the rest of them end up being not able to manage their destructive impulses.
We see that the boys start splitting really dark jokes, like recommending to massacre one of the little ones if they won’t hunt adequate pigs. Their goals are decreased to satisfying the basic desires and they are unable to see each other in the other way than tools to get what they desire.
The dark irony is that the kids reflect the dehumanization that happens in the war zones. Their world is swallowed up by war and they only copy the behaviour of the adult soldiers, just in an overstated way.
Dehumanization reaches its pinnacle, when 2 young boys are eliminated, since the rest declines to see them as people. Piggy’s label makes him a laughingstock initially and the victim in the end, since he becomes a really comfortable alternative to a pig. Simon is misinterpreted for the Monster, or simply made a substitute for the Monster for the rest of the kids to kill him, symbolically killing their fears with him.
The fear is one of the major driving forces of the plot. Piggy, with his clumsy statement: “I know there isn’t no fear” summarize it all. The worry itself, on a perfectly safe island, creates the fictional Monster the young boys attempt to protect themselves from. Monster is the forecast of their specific worries, natural for the kids who are left alone with a very thin chance to be saved.
The Monster could be exceptionally unsafe if it ever existed. However the worry of the Monster itself does much more damage than any predator can do. The boys start to eliminate each other by themselves, there are no predators that hunt them. To conquer their worry they become increasingly more violent, killing and mutilating the pigs simply for sport, amusement and venting their anger. In the end, they themselves develop into the cumulative Beast, the thing they were so afraid of.
This is a really common catastrophe of the mankind: some wars begin even if of worry that the opposite would strike first. Both sides build up their military power, pump the residents with propaganda, to the point when everyone is so agitated that the war ends up being an unavoidable, self-fulfilling prophecy.
Male vs. Nature
The young boys get into a preferably virgin environment with no trace of humankind. Their mindset to the island is extremely various. For example, Jack is a normal colonist, who wants to track and hunt pigs, seeing the island simply as a source of crucial resources. He even sets a forest fire later, revealing his negligence and absence of understanding of the nature and the damage done to it. He is violent, militaristic and believes that people are above anything else. His total opposite is Simon, who likes the island immediately and finds peace resting in the isolated glade inside the dense forest. He delights in the unity with nature and it appears that the island loves him too. Ralph remains somewhere 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 messing up with the nature without an alarming need. His mindset is the most 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 crucial Lord of the Flies themes, that is raised by William Golding in the end of the novel. The young boys begin their journey totally innocent, however do it in the best age, when the impressions about the perfectly kind and simply world are generally shattered. The book ends with Ralph, weeping for the “end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart”. Such adult and embittered ideas show how quickly they all needed to grow up on the island. The boys in the end are less like kids, but more like the adult soldiers, strangely reflecting the behaviour of the marine officer– among the couple of adults in the novel.
The spiritual parallels are likewise extremely clear: the island is described like paradise, completely inviting and safe. However the first “version” of the Beast is a “snake-thing” the tiniest ones are scared of. A snake is the sign of Satan who triggered the exile of Adam and Eve from heaven. We see that, as the kids descend to the primal and wild state, the environment responds accordingly, turning from tranquil Paradise to Hell, throwing a storm and big waves at the killers of Simon.