The lord of the flies is a novel, which highlights the frailties of humanity, and how if law and order are taken from the community then civilised society is lost and all that is left is savagery.
At the beginning of the novel, we see the first example of “survival of the fittest” when a boy with a physical weakness a “mulberry coloured birth mark” on the side of his face disappears and is never seen again. He was also the first boy to mention “the beast” “…he said it was a beastie” this symbolises him being the first one to admit his fears and phobias, and on the island the children’s fears are emphasised more on the island than in normal society because in civilised society codes and conventions prevent fears and phobias from becoming personified.
As he is the first one to admit to his fears and let his weakness out he is the first one to go “him that talked about the snakes…where is he know?” After the boy disappears, the boys start to think and worry that maybe the beast is not such an absurd idea as they thought.
They try to make life on the island as normal as possible, they choose Ralph as chief and their number one priorities are rescue and survival. Ralph organises jobs to try and make the island feel like a community but when he tries to make huts and shelter Simon is the only one who helps Ralph the rest of the boys just want to have fun.
This symbolises how Ralph and Simon are the only ones who realise how important the huts are for survival and rescue as the huts represent protection from the beast and their fears.
This shows how the rest of the boys have already started losing their grip on reality. The example of the boys losing grip on civilised life and what is right and wrong is when jack starts to get obsessed with hunting and killing “he tried to convey the compulsion to track down and kill that was swallowing him up”. This quote symbolises the point when jacks will to hunt becomes more than fun and he starts to turn into a savage. This symbolises the need for codes and conventions as a constant reminder of what is right and wrong because when law and order is taken you can lose sight of morality.
Ralph also has many human frailties, but he still has a grip on reality, morality and what is right and wrong. For example when Ralph has the chance to join jacks tribe, he is tempted. Jacks tribe is all about pleasure, he would get to eat meat and have lots of fun but he still has a grip on reality and knows what is right and wrong so he declines and tries to keep the fire alight and be responsible so they can be rescued. However, Ralph is caught up in the heat of the moment and for a short while joins jack as a savage and this results in Simon’s death.
Simon’s death is very symbolic of how far they took the savagery, and the fact that when he was being murdered he was described as the beast “kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!” this is very ironic as Simon was the only one who was in no way evil and the only boy on the island who had kept a tight hold on reality and civilised society. This is also represented when “the parachute took the figure…out to sea” as this symbolises Simon taking the evil with him. Once he is gone golding described Simon floating out to sea as though Simon is moving on to heaven “…itself a silver shape…” this quote symbolises how Simon is turning into some thing heavenly and how he was always at one with the earth.
Later on in the story when piggy is killed, the conch was smashed at the same time. This symbolises how the conch and piggy were linked, as they were the two things that held the law, order and civilisation on the island. It represents how without piggy to guide them all civilisation is lost. This is proved when jacks tribe try to hunt down Ralph and kill him; this is symbolic of how far jack is willing to take the savagery. He is prepared to openly murder he has totally lost any grip on reality, civilisation or what is right or wrong. This is also very symbolic of how the island is a microcosm of the real world as at the time the novel was set there world war two was taking place and on the island jack and Ralph are having their own war. Jack even represents Hitler, as he is the one who starts the war he is obsessed with killing and drunk with power.
We have discovered that the novel is very allegorical and every event that happens in the book has a hidden, deeper meaning and should not be taken at face value. Therefore, I think Golding’s message is how easy it is to lose grip on reality when put in a situation with no codes and conventions. The boys were left so long on the island that all civilisation was gone Glding used this to symbolise how anyone can lose grip on morality if put in that situation. I think his message to society is that law and order are a necessity in civilised society codes and conventions are the key to civilisation and survival.
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