Explain how Hill and Golding present death in I’m the King of the Castle and Lord of the Flies respectively? Essay
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Hill and Golding both utilise the techniques of symbolism, varied settings and physical death of the character to present death. Overall I think that Hill generally presents death more effectively than Golding, because she generally provides more development throughout her novel, which ultimately leads to the death of Kingshaw.
Hill and Golding both use the techniques of symbolism dead stating that “the inside of its mouth was scarlet” with the adjective “scarlet” interesting as it has connotations of death and of blood.
I think this description of the crow is also a subtle form of prolepsis as the crow is initially portrayed as a normal crow, but as Hill describes the crow further; it is evidently a symbol of death, much like Warings. What is interesting to note about the crow is that it is also described as having “ragged black wings”- the word ragged could symbolise the aftermath of violence, much like Kingshaw’s exposure to violence later on in the novel and the adjective black is a symbol of death.
Another aspect of symbolism regarding the crow is when the crow “circles over Kingshaw”, symbolically death looms over Kingshaw. This is comparable to the symbolism of death in Lord of the Flies where “The Lord of the Flies” also symbolises death: one example of this is when the Lord of the Flies states “we’re going to have fun”- it is a statement, rather than a question, an imperative. The “fun” that is described refers to evil, ultimately the death of Simon. Another description of the Lord of the Flies describes that is particularly important is when Simon looks at the Lord of the Flies and sees “blackness” within, a “blackness that spread”.
Perhaps this symbolises not only death, but death spreading throughout the island as other characters are killed. I feel this description also has significance because both Hill and Golding use “colours” to symbolise death, the colour black. The authors also differ as Hills descriptions are far more graphical, for example the crow, whereas Golding is far more subtle in his description of The Lord of the Flies. I believe that Hills graphic description is more effective at portraying death, her descriptions are far more explicit but some readers may argue this to be a disadvantage as her symbols are too clichéd. I think Golding is not as effective because his descriptions are a little more implicit, and hence loses some of the value that his symbol provides in portraying death.
Another way in which Hill shows death is through the use of settings. Warings is described as “being in full night” with “the yew branches […] overhanging the windows”. Hills typical gothic description to a modern reader is a clear signal of death, especially the Yew branches which also symbolise death. The “moonlight” suggests a sense of coldness in Warings, like a dead person for example. Warings is also described as “dark” and “damp” which emphasises Hills initial description of Warings. This is comparable to Golding’s description “of the unfriendly side of the island”- a “place of terror”. This is an explicit meaning, terror and death are linked.
Arguably, Castle Rock is the heart of the “unfriendly side of the island”, Castle Rock is described as being “the end of the island”, literally the furthest away from the island once compared to paradise. The word “end” echoes the end of life- supported by the statement “we shan’t dream to much hear” , perhaps Golding implicitly stating that no one dreams in Castle Rock because death is the end of dreams. Once again I feel that Hill has been more successful at portraying death. Whilst her terms are clichéd, she adds a greater degree of subtlety in her descriptions as well, for example the “moonlight”, the implicit means have greater depth to them, unlike Golding’s explicit descriptions.
Finally Hill also presents death in a physical manner as well as through description, through the death of Kingshaw. When Kingshaw dies, it shows death on a physical level, but it may also have a deeper meaning. It was evident from the start of the book, that Kingshaw’s death loomed, however the death signifies the death of the protagonist and victory for the antagonist.
This is arguably the death of “innocence”. This is comparable to Golding’s portrayal of Piggy’s death, describing Piggy’s moments before his death: “he heard it before he saw it”- the verb heard suggests once again Piggy’s death always loomed, rather like Kingshaw’s. Unlike the death of Kingshaw however, Piggy’s death signals the death of rational, not innocence. I think that Hill has been more effective at portraying death because her description of Kingshaw creates far more emotion rather than the death of Piggy, Golding’s descriptions are too dull.
In summary both authors portray death through the use symbolism, settings and physical death. I think that portrayal of death is very effective, especially Hills description. Hill develops her characters throughout her novel, and when Kingshaw dies it is a genuine shock to the reader. Because of Golding’s lack of development, Piggy’s death is not as emotional as Kingshaw’s.