“Show how Golding creates a world of increasing violence in the novel
Lord of the Flies is an allegorical novel, written shortly after the Second World War. It tells a story of school boys deserted on a island , and their struggle to manage, by an omniscient narrator who comments on setting and movement. This is similar to the story of Coral Island, however Golding is challenging the ideas in this, instead of the boys resorting to team work and success like expected, they resort to activism and create a environment of “increasing violence”.
By purposely setting the novel on a isolated island Golding can show his impression of the true nature of humans, and that he believes they would act sadistically and slowly become more and more distant from any means of civilisation. Golding manages to create a small world and community filled with violence by the end of the novel through a number of aspects; the settings, the characters and their behaviour, events, and general themes that run through the novel.
Golding purposely sets his novel Lord of the flies on an isolated island so the boy’s natural behaviour can emerge when taken away from rules or boundaries. This setting creates a small community, and the island is like a microcosm of the world. The first setting we are introduced to when reading Lord of the Flies is the lagoon along with when we meet Piggy and Ralph. This setting is peaceful, “Dazzling beach” this is an idealistic setting which is parallel to the boy’s behaviour at this point. The first aspect of any violence in the novel is when Ralph pretended to be a fighter plane and “machine gunned Piggy” this in contrast to the behaviour in the final chapters emphasizes Golding’s point and shows the huge difference in the boy’s actions and the amount of violence.
The protagonist Ralph is not a violent character, his main aspect whilst on the island is being rescued. Whilst being the leader in the beginning of the novel he tries to maintain civilisation and a sense of democracy however
Jessica Johnson 10h
violence, activism and sadism takes over any sense of development. An example of this is when a group of boys including Jack where told to keep the fire alight; instead of keeping it alight so they could be rescued the boys decide to hunt, they use violence instead. This is where it first becomes clear the boys are starting to lose interest in being rescued and are more engrossed by the power from using violence and hurting other living beings. Ralph doesn’t represent savagery or violence he represents democracy, courage and is associated with the conch, he “clutches” it.
The conch is also a symbol of civilisation. Furthermore the conch in Greek mythology was used by Triton the sea god, to raise or calm the oceans; this is exactly what it does in Lord of the Flies with the boys during the meetings. The boys increasingly lose their moral values and innocence in the novel, this is shadowed by the way the conch loses it’s colour.
The antagonist Jack could be seen as Golding’s main tool that increases the boy’s use of violence in the microcosm setting. Jack is first described as wearing black and having “red” hair, these colours could be symbolic of the devil and relevant to Golding’s themes of evil. He becomes the chief after Ralph and leads the boys to act savage like and use violence towards each other, and to hunt.
Jack is shown to have a lust for hunting as it gives him a sense of power, and pleasure, it becomes clear through his character the evil that can be latent within man kinds character. Because of the literal period that Lord of the Flies was written in, Jack could be seen as a representative of Hitler as he constantly uses violence and increases the use of it in others; this makes him essential to Golding’s increasing of violence in the novel for example his first prime instinct in the novel was to hunt.
The use of hunting, violence and unkindness the boys use continues to grow through out the novel, by chapter nine all the boys are involved in a ritual dance which results in the “accidental” killing of Simon. This death is foreshadowed by Golding’s use of pathetic fallacy, “storm clouds built up over the island” , “thunder roars” and Piggy- the wise, intelligent character also predicts trouble. After Simon’s meeting with the “beast” he returns to talk to the boys however they are involved in the ritual dance and they mistake him for the beast, chanting and shrieking they beat him to death. Here is a obvious turning point in the novel, as the first “murder” is committed, and that is notified by Piggy, the boys are losing innocence and use of violence is clearly increasing.
Jessica Johnson 10h
In Chapter eleven the violence has increased so much it becomes out of hand, and whilst Ralph and Piggy try to negotiate with Jack’s tribe Roger kills Piggy and breaks the conch. In the beginning of the novel Roger through rocks, however “he aimed to miss” because he still considered rules, morals and society. Now the violence has clearly increased in the world the boys are living in as Roger is now enabled by the current environment to push a balder onto Piggy’s head and kill him. It has also become clear here that Roger has become mindlessly atavistic.
Piggy’s death is not as personal as Simon’s is described. When Piggy is killed he lands “on his back across that red square, red rock in the sea” this positioning and description is highly symbolic along with the colour imagery Golding uses, of possibly a sacrifice on a primitive altar. After his death nature’s indifference is described similar to after Simon’s death, “the sea breathed again”, this may change a reader’s response to Piggy’s death perhaps adding more sympathy as it makes it seem like it is insignificant.
This scene and the final Chapter where Ralph is betrayed and is being viciously hunted by all the boys are obvious increasing of the boy’s use of violence. In the final chapter the boys are finally rescued, ironically it isn’t by the signal fire as the aspect of that was taken over by savagery and violence. However it is a fire that is symbolic of violence as the use of it was meant to help kill Ralph. However it summons a ship, when the boys are met once again with a well groomed civilised human, they are described by the omniscient narrator as little boys and their use of violence disappears. Heightened by the character Percival who at the beginning of the novel could say his name and address, however by the end has completely forgotten his true identity.
“Ralph wept for the end of innocence” the tears that Ralph weeps could be symbolic of his realisation of failure to fight the evil within man kind. Ralph can no longer see the world as a secure safe place where violence won’t be used against him, as he has seen it increase and the pleasure from it overtake people. When looking at the full grown groomed adult compared to the dirty “little boys” in front of him, it is ironic that the little boys now have more knowledge about the innate desire within all man kind.