Lord of the Flies – Visual appeal versus intense description Essay
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Both the Lord of the Flies novel and the 1963 Peter Brook film were amazing pieces of prose. Both mediums truly depicted the theme that savagery exists in everyone if one was given the chance to show it. Throughout both mediums the civilized boys that landed on the “island paradise” slowly became uncivilized and barbaric since they were not under the strict power and rule of their elders. They blamed their savagery on a pretend fearsome creature, when the evil that was contained within them was brought on by themselves.
The movie left a stronger impression than the novel due to the fact that its story line was far more obvious and overblown. Both mediums were extremely alike with some minor exceptions.
The 1963 Peter Brook film was more effective than the novel. This was so because it gave a visual depiction of what was actually being portrayed. Due to its obvious structure it gave an expected and intended result. In both mediums the plot was that small boys crash into a tropical island.
In the beginning they are all ecstatic that they are without rules and restrictions on this tropical island. From their on the problem was their struggle against the brutal forms of savagery which possesses the quality of evil. They all slowly become uncivilized and barbaric causing chaos and tumult among the island. The movie vividly showed the tropical island they lived upon and portrays the layout of the island; which was shown often in a confusing way throughout the novel.
The turning of events and the outcome of the whole story was far more understandable in the film. The setting was during WW2. The boys were from England. England at this time was very conservative and civilized. Upon arrival the boys showed this civilization through their behavior, attire, and thinking. Although explained in the novel the movie showed this to its viewers in a visual and far more interesting viewing. “Roger’s arm was conditioned by a civilization that knew nothing of him and was in ruins.”- This quote from the book conveys an underlying meaning that Roger was not able to throw stones directly at Henry because he was taught that is was bad from his elders. The film showed the attachment of civilization to the boys in a more outright manner. The character development of the characters was yet another factor that the film showed more effectively. In the film characters were shown better through their expressions and body language.
The book did also convey this but not as vividly. The protagonist Ralph changed immensely. He was a “regular joe” and tried to keep the boys focused on domestic order and the rules of civilization. “We’re going to have fun on this island! So don’t try it on… or else.” This was said by Ralph at the beginning when he had the power of chiefdom. In a short time this idea had diminished and his 12 year old mindset changed into an adult mindset with responsibility and structure. Piggy, the intellectual who lacked physical stamina also held on to civilization and was killed by Jack’s tribe. Jack Merridew was a dramatic character. He went from a civilized choir leader to an uncivilized hunter and savage who was responsible for much of the savagery that overtook the boys. Simon was the visionary of the group and was killed before he could tell everyone the true nature of the beast that they all feared. He was an artistic and sensible mystic and remained civilized throughout the story.
The symbols of the story were conveyed better in the movie because they were not shown in an underlying and subtle way like in the novel but were conveyed very outright and in an obvious form. The main symbols were the fire, which represented means of rescue, hope, and civilization; Piggy’s glasses which represented civilization and intelligence; and the conch which represented authority and civil debate. All of these symbols were treasured by Ralph and Piggy because they all had means of civilization which they wanted. The film outright displayed in a visual appearance what was going on. Nothing was hidden or subtle like in the novel that Golding created. The plot, setting, character development, and symbolism were conveyed to viewers in a far more easier and accessible way in the film than in the novel.
The elements of drama were more conducive in the film than in the novel. Foreshadowing was one of the main elements of drama that was shown. The novel foreshadowed chaos and tumult but did not allow the reader to know who was to be killed. On the contrary the movie allowed this to be know through obvious foreshadowing. An example of this is when Piggy was about to be killed. In the film for a straight five minutes, the rock which was to crush Piggy, was being moved by Roger. It was known for quite sometime that his death was approaching at a rapid pace. The foreshadowing of Ralph being left alone was immense. It was known from the start that Jack would gain all power and all would join his tribe since more appealing. “the air was ready to explode…a brassy glare had taken the place of clear daylight.”
This opened chapter 9 in the novel foreshadowing that something bad was on its way; Simon’s death. The movies foreshadowing of this was far more effective because one could visually see the tension and chaos aroused by the brutal thunderstorm. Irony was also displayed more conducively in the film. An example of this is when Simon was killed. This was very ironic because it was not expected for Simon “the quiet one” to die. The movie left a bigger dent on viewers with this ironic event by the visual appearance of poor Simon’s death and his frail body floating in the ocean. Other elements of drama shown in the movie such as facial expressions and body language lead to specific results a lot better than descriptive sections in the book. Being able to see with your own two eyes and not imagine within your mind allowed the film’s drama elements to be better than those of the book.
Some sacrifices were made to preserve the story and the medium. In the film the pig’s head was not ever labeled as the Lord of the flies like in the novel. It never talked. If the pig talked the film would have been extremely odd since the effects that would have made it talk would have been unrealistic. In both the movie and film sacrifices such as Ralph, the protagonist, not dying and the story ending with them getting saved were needed to preserve the story.
The story of Lord of the Flies in both movie and book form were amazing pieces of art. The underlying meaning and point made in both mediums was that there is a dark side of human nature and that each member of humankind has this dark side. The island paradise conveyed was not only a symbol of Utopia but the Garden of Eden. In the beginning life could not have been better for all the small boys inhabiting the island but due to their young age, outside influences, and no adult intervention this paradise turned into a living hell inhabited by numerous evil beasts. The story shows how without a civilized influence(adult) small children can go wild. At age 12 and younger children need guidance and structure. The corrupted savages of the island paradise are perfect examples of independence for young children.