Essay, Research Paper: Lord Of Flies

Literature: Lord of The Flies

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This was one of the most interesting books I have ever read. It is very
addictive and very well written. Though I am a slow reader, it did not take long
for me to finish it. I spent four days reading this book and on weekends I put
it down during meals. Lord of the Flies kept my interest with very little slow
moving dialogue and lots of vivid description. The thing I probably liked the
most about Lord of the flies was the theme of the story. This topic was very
intriguing. It dealt with many flaws and desires of human nature, and how
devastating these factors van be to a culture with no directions or rules to
follow. I enjoyed how the story showed that even the youngest and most innocent
of humans strive for power over everything and will stop at nothing until he
achieves that power. The theme shows the greed that has been bred into all
humans. The characters were probably the second most interesting element in Lord
of the Flies. All British boys in this story portray a savagery and sadistic
nature to which all but a few succumb. The other boys are the only symbol of
sanity on the island. There is also a very interesting conflict between Ralph
and Jack. Actually I might say it was a struggle between good and evil. The
beginning of their struggle stems from the very start of the novel when Ralph is
elected chief over Jack. Jack and his hunters eventually form their own group
apart from the others. Uncivilized to say the least, his savages are totally
stripped of what society has impressed upon them. Ralph demands peace on the
island but to no avail. The turning point of the novel occurs when Jack and his
hunters have a feast to celebrate breaking away from Ralph and forming their own
tribe. During the sadistic event, the boys are invited to join Jack and many
accept. Everyone begins to dance and lose touch with reality and all
civilization, and when Simon crawls out of te forest with his message about the
beast, he himself is mistaken for it and is torn apart by the frenzied children.
At this point Ralph loses most of his control over almost all the kids, and Jack
begins to take over. After the feast, things get worse for Ralph and his
remaining followers. Jack and his warriors attack them one night and steal their
source of fire – Piggy’s glasses. The next day Ralph, Piggy and Samneric
journey to Castle Rock to try to talk some sense into the savages, but they
don’t succeed. Piggy still holding to the conch, desperately tries to be heard
over the scuffle but Roger, the most evil of all the hunters, heaves an immense
boulder upon him, crushing both Piggy and the symbol of sanity and order – the
conch. The next day Jack organizes a manhunt for Ralph. The leader of the
savages sets the bushes on fire in an attempt to flush him put. The fugitive is
chased across most of the island and finally collapses at the feet of a naval
office who was attracted by the smoke. William Golding stated that the theme of
Lord of the Flies as “an attempt to trace the defeats of society back to the
defects of human nature”. The only thing I disliked about this book is that
sometimes Golding’s writing style was a little hard to follow. The main
problem was that the boy’s talk was hard to understand. This problem appeared
in few spots, however, and for the most part the book was easy to read. There
are many themes in the novel: the aspects of social activities, basic needs of
society, ecological balance and use of resources, the problem of evil in man.
These all themes were very well revealed. Especially the problem of evil in man
and the basic needs of society are very well showed. He 3 main characters of the
novel to my mind are: Ralph, Jack and Piggy. Ralph is an attractive boy and a
natural leader, the sort of intelligent, well-adjusted, athletic boy who easily
might become the idol of his schoolmates. We meet him in the first chapter as he
leads the way out of the jungle while Piggy lumbers after him. That he is
fair-haired suggests that he is a child of fortune, one who is blessed by nature
with grace, strength, and luck. There is recklessness to his manner. He seems
happy at the prospect of living on a deserted island, away from the influence of
adults. The setting fosters dreams of heroic adventure in which he is the
protagonist. He will overcome all of the difficulties present in his
surroundings, lead a joyously exciting jungle life, then optimistically await a
glamorous rescue by his naval-officer father. Unfortunately, his dreams are
frustrated when nature and his fellow youths refuse to cooperate with his
romantic vision. And, as his dream becomes more difficult of attainment, he
loses confidence and calmness and begins to indulge himself in escape fantasies
and dreams of the past. Gradually, he forfeits the respect of the other boys. A
contrasting characteristic to his tendency to dream is his common sense. He is
quick to assess the situation of the boys in realistic terms. He sees what must
be done for their survival and rescue and sets about arranging parliamentary
meetings, building a signal fire, and constructing huts. He appraises the advice
of Piggy according to its practicality. He fights against the superstition and
terror of the boys as being detrimental to the organized progress of their
society. Ralph is by no means a perfect character. He is often mean to those
weaker than himself, particularly the faithful Piggy. Occasionally he performs
rash and foolish actions. He even joins in the murder of Simon. He shares in the
universal guilt of man. But he does show a clear sightedness that none of the
others possess in the same way. It is his common-sense view that prevails at the
end of the novel when he graduates from his experience on the island with a more
mature knowledge of himself and the world around him. He recognizes the
universal presence of evil as a condition of life. He is capable of appreciating
the tragedy of the loss of innocence that is the common heritage of man. More
than any other character, Ralph represents the outlook of the author-and the
outlook that he expects his reader to share. He is not as intellectual as Piggy
and he is not as religious as Simon, but he dreams the dreams of freedom and
adventure that enliven the progress of western society. He is the most complete,
most human, and most heroic of the characters in the novel, and the one with
whom readers most readily identify. Jack Merridew: "He was tall, thin, and
bony, and his hair was red beneath the black cap. His face was crumpled and
freckled, and ugly without silliness." A cruel and ugly bully, he early
develops a taste for violence. He is a leader of the choir at first, and then of
the hunters. His leadership resides in his ability to threaten and frighten
those under him. He is always ready for a fight. His victory over Piggy
represents the triumph of violence over intellect, as he smashes one of the
lenses of the fat boy's glasses. The knife that he carries is a symbol of the
death and destruction that accompany his every act. He does have some attractive
qualities-bravery and resourcefulness. But these are easily obscured by his
wrath, envy, pride, hatred, and lust for blood. He is constantly attempting to
weaken Ralph's hold on the boys. He suggests opposite measures, he shouts
abusively, he threatens, he is constantly demanding to be made chief. In all, he
is a complete stranger to polite behavior. In his constant rivalry with Ralph,
and in his constant preoccupation with killing, whether it be pigs or fellow
human beings, he is a diabolical force, plunging the boys into a chaos of brute
activities. His egotistical outbursts and his temper tantrums suggest that he is
immature in his social development. But as hunter and killer he is extremely
precocious. The readiness with which he throws himself into the existence of a
savage, as he pauses to sniff the air for scent, or falls to his knees to
inspect the pig droppings, or runs naked and painted through the forest,
suggests the flimsiness of the restraints and patterns of civilization in a
personality in which the destructive passions flow strongly. If the novel is
read as religious allegory, Jack emerges as an envoy of the Devil, enticing the
other boys to sin. If the novel is read as a representation of Freudian
principles, Jack represents the primitive urges of the id. In the symbolic
representation of the processes of life and death, Jack suggests, both in the
black cloaks which he and his followers wear and in his association with
darkness, the power of death. In his first appearance, coming out of the
"darkness of the forest" to face Ralph, whom he cannot see because his
back is to the sun, Jack represents the Satanic and deathly force coming to
confront the divine and life giving man of light. The blood that he wallows in
is a further representation of deathliness. When, after his first kill,
"Jack transferred the knife to his left hand and smudged blood over his
forehead as he pushed down the plastered hair," he unconsciously imitates
the ritual of the tribal initiation of the hunter, whose face is covered with
the blood of his first kill. Finally, if the novel is read as the story of human
civilization, Jack represents the influences of unreason and confusion and
violence as they operate counter to the progress of human virtues and social
institutions. Piggy: This intellectual is an outsider. He manages for a time to
have some influence on the group through Ralph, who recognizes his brilliance
and puts into effect several of his suggestions. But, generally, the boys are
quick to ridicule him for his fatness, asthma, and lack of physical skill. An
orphan brought up under the care of an aunt, he has developed into a sissy. He
cannot do anything for himself, whether it be to gather fruit, blow the conch
shell, or build huts. He always tries to hide when the other boys are involved
in manual labor. At home, presumably, his favorite pastime would be sitting in a
chair, reading. His frequent appeals to the adult world, and his attempt to
model his behavior on that of teachers and other grown-ups evokes the contempt
of the boys. Further, he makes the mistake of pressing too hard for acceptance.
In his first appearance in Chapter 1, he attempts so diligently to win the favor
or Ralph that he only alienates Ralph at the same time that he gives him
personal information about himself that Ralph can then use to hurt him. His life
on the island is a series of unhappy embarrassments, including being taunted by
the boys, being beaten, and having his glasses broken and stolen. Finally, at
the instigation of Jack, he is killed by Roger. He represents an attitude of
mind that is conservative and civilized. His eyeglasses, which are constantly
steamed, and that he absolutely needs to see anything, separate him from the
world of activity and adventure in which he cannot participate as freely as the
other boys, and confine him to the realm of his own mind. Possibly because he is
the bookish member of the group, he tends to be more scientific than the rest,
and also more skeptical. His knowledge of science is shown in his plan to build
sundials. His skepticism keeps him from participating in the superstitions of
the other boys. He knows that the world of adults and books would not abide the
legend of the "beastie." Piggy is necessarily more civilized than
anyone else because, with his meager physical equipment, only in the most
civilized of societies could he survive. Ironically, with his build, his
nickname "Piggy," and his squealing, he resembles the sacrificial pig.
When he dies, his "arms and legs twitched a bit, like a pig's after it has
been killed." His superior intellect is of little use to him in the later
stages of the novel. In the increasingly more degenerate society of the boys,
the intellectual is lowered to the status of the beast. Then he is sacrificed
and symbolically eaten. I think these three characters are the most
characteristic to the kids of nowadays. We can divide them into Ralphs, Jacks
and Piggies. In conclusion I would like to say that I think this book is a must
to read for every person to understand the essence of a human being.

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