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Literature: Lord of The Flies

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Lord of the Flies William Golding uses stylistic devices such as tone, structure
and pace to create drama and immediacy in this passage taken from Lord of the
Flies . Through his word choice, pace changes, structure and other elements
which help create the mood, Golding has produced an intense and climatic piece.
At the beginning of this piece the viewpoint and tense shift. The effect of the
shifting viewpoint is to allow the audience to feel the mounting tension. The
tense also shifts by moving from past to present and back to past. The shifting
tense helps the tension but it also has a dramatic effect on pace; “...Ralph
was looking straight into the savage’s eyes. Don’t scream. You’ll get
back. Now he’s seen you. He’s making sure. A stick sharpened. Ralph
screamed, a scream of...” The large second paragraph assists in building the
tension and adds to the drama of the intense chase. Lengthy sentences also draw
out the tension and help build the climax. “All at once the lights flickering
ahead of him merged together, the roar of the forest rose to thunder and a tall
bush directly in his path burst into a great fan-shaped flame.” This piece
starts with no movement. Reading on, the pace picks up with short sharp
sentences containing alliteration and assonance, ‘A stick sharpened.’
Suspense grabs us, and once again the pace increases. ‘He shot forward, burst
the thicket, was in...’ By the end of the second paragraph the intense climax
has been reached. “He stumbled over a root, and the cry that persued him rose
even higher...... crouching with arm up to ward off, try to cry for mercy.”
Detached language shows the audience that the pace has decreased. At the
introduction of a new character the pace suddenly stops in it’s tracks. “He
staggared to his feet, tensed for more terrors, and looked up at a huge peaked
cap...” Use of assonance, personification, metaphors, similes and alliteration
successfully describe Ralph’s feelings, thoughts and actions and his
desperate, frustrated, exhaused and hopeless state of mind is described in
detail; “...He forgot his wounds, his hunger and thirst, and fear...Spots
jumped before his eyes and turned into red circles...below him someone’s legs
were getting tired...” The language then launches into assonance and
alliteration for example ‘screaming, snarling bloody’ and ‘series of short
sharp cries.’ This has a strong effect on the desperate mood that Golding is
portraying. With dramatic diction Ralph’s movement is described powerfully.
The reader can almost see Ralph staggering, stumbling, ‘...tensed for more
terrors.’ Startling contrasts create intensity as well as helping the mood of
the frightening jungle atmosphere. From the beauty of the island to the sheer
horror and terror of the chase. Dangerous chaos to the safety of order restored
when the naval officer appears, the contrasts are strong are strong and
dramatic. Golding uses this to structure the piece and make it dramatic.
Begining in a short and breathless tempo the mood of sheer terror is presented
in the opening sentences. Written in omniscient third person, Golding uses this
to describe a climatic frenzy that the reader can vividly visualise. “The
seconds lengthened. Ralph was looking straight into the savage’s eyes.”
Ralph rises to see a ‘saviour’. A naval officer, a symbol of order and
civiliation. The mood changes to relief, safety. Ralph is utterly astonished not
only by the ‘hero’ but the majestic aura of the ship behind the naval
officer. Stylistic devices like personification, metaphors and similes make
Goldings prose delightful; “...The desperate ululation advanced like a jagged
fringe of menace...” Golding has written a very dramatic piece. His use of
pace modulations, mood, tense and viewpoint effectively describe the chaos and
disarray of boys turned savages on a picture perfect island. Ralph’s intense
feelings are thoroughly explored and his character well developed even in this
short excerpt.
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