Thoughts on The Lord of the Flies
The novel The Lord of the Flies takes the reader on an emotional, stunning journey as we see what actually might happen to a group of boys fighting for survival on a deserted island. The boy’s backgrounds are not clearly described at the beginning of the novel, but Golding’s slight descriptions of what it might be gives the reader the ability to have imagination while not going too out of hand. The Lord of the Flies is the perfect novel for a partner, or group, reading as the element of communication will help to unveil the hidden symbols Golding has placed in each character and object in the novel. While including a sort of slang-like, silly aspect, The Lord of the Flies addresses much more bigger topics in our world like war, racism, self-confidence, and self-identity. These hidden major topics make the novel an entertaining read and, finally, an amazing piece of literature.
Golding’s characters throughout the story represent more than just teenage boys. In the beginning of the story we are introduced to a fair-haired boy named Ralph. Ralph is initially a sort of cocky, risk-taking boy with no regard for his safety or well being. However, as the story intensifies, we see Ralph start to mature and resent the savagery that is occurring on the island. This new, mature Ralph represents many things in the real world, the civil side to human nature, the goodness capable in every human, and, ultimately, the resentment of savagery.
Completely opposite to Ralph, Golding’s character Jack represents all the evil and savagery humans are capable of. Initially, we learn that Jack is an impetuous teenager, wanting full power over the rest of the boys, no matter the cost. This need for power only increases on the island as the stay grows. As the bonds between the boys intensify, we see Jack’s need for power start to take over the once innocent boy, and by the end of the story, Jack is completely savage. This complete takeover of Jack’s once civilized self represents many things in the real world: the savagery all humans are capable of, the evil side to everything in our world, and one’s need for power over others.
Golding’s characters throughout the novel represent more than just teenage boys. At the beginning of the story, we are introduced to a chubby, short boy with thick spectacles named Piggy. Piggy is initially characterized as an intelligent, loyal friend to Ralph. As the story intensifies, Piggy seems to stay mostly the same person, unlike his companions on the island. These unchanged qualities in Piggy represents the perfect split between the goodness seen in Ralph contradicted with the evil seen in Jack. Furthermore, Piggy’s characteristics represent many things in the real world: the unbreaking of loyalty in a relationship, the scientific reasoning behind every occurrence, and the civil side all human beings are capable of.
Golding depicts major aspects of war throughout his famed novel. Fragments of war are built into the characters’ backgrounds, and where they came from. The Lord of the Flies begins with the crash landing of the boys’ plane. Though it is not clearly stated, we can assume that the boys were running away from the notorious Nazis due to the setting and timeline of the story. This assumption is important to the rest of the story, for the novel’s main antagonist, “the beast,” is in a way connected to war. In addition, other forms of war that can be seen in the novel are the dead parachutist’s body, the naval warship, and the officer. These represent forms of war because if there was no war, then none of them would have ever existed at that point. These aspects of war can be further related to the current events happening in our world. With all the savagery, bitterness, and cruelty humans face in everyday life through television, movies, and social media, the aspects of war described in the famed novel are close to the same. In both occurrences, people face the cruelty of the human condition. While the occurrences in our real world may not be in the physical form like in the novel, we still feel the same pain.
Golding’s novel also touches on some aspects of racism throughout the story. Small forms of racism and a sense of superiority in favor of the English can be noticed throughout the dialogue between the boys. The Lord of the Flies begins with the crash landing of the boys’ plane on the deserted island. The boys, however, aren’t afraid of their ability to survive, for they are “English.” Though their belief might seem like childish nonsense, this mindset is important for the rest of the story, for it is this mindset that helped create the boys’ first society. In addition, other forms of racism and superiority over others can be seen in the dialogue of the naval officer near the end of the book. The naval officer’s dialogue represents racism and superiority over others because the officer frequently questions the boys’ inability to stick together, for they are British. These aspects of racism and superiority over others can be reflected further onto the happenings in our world currently. Our world is still facing the effects of racism between ethnicities through jokes, rumors, or even television. Furthermore, our world faces the problem of the human need to have superiority over others. Our world faces the action of bullying, or the action of harming another to put them down, every day. Though the forms of racism and superiority over others are different in our world than they are in the novel, the effects between the two are the same.
Golding depicts major aspects of self-identity and self-confidence throughout the famed novel. Fragments of self-identity and self-confidence are seen to be expressed in the character Ralph near the end of the story. When we are introduced to Ralph he is a cocky, fair-haired boy with lots of charisma. Ralph soon is elected to be their small society’s chief after the boys realize that he holds the conch and looks “appealing.” Ralph has trouble leading the society, however, and can’t take Jack’s harsh criticism, which starts to break down his confidence. Near the end of the story, however, with the arrival of the naval officer, we see a glimpse of his once confident self as he stands up and takes responsibility of all the wrong that occurred on the island. This burst of confidence can be reflected further onto the occurrences in our world today. With all of the styles of music, literature, and media trending in our world today, it is hard to have one’s own unique style. Ralph’s burst of confidence is similar to this because he was forced to choose between being savage like the rest of the boys left on the island or being civil, which he knew was “right.” These occurrences are different throughout our own world and theirs, but the struggle is the same.
The novel The Lord of the Flies takes the reader on a stunning, emotional journey of what it really means to be “civil” or “savage,” as we see the boys on the island attempting to survive against each other. Golding leaves parts of the boys’ backgrounds hidden for the purpose of releasing the reader’s creativity and imagination. Furthermore, it is this imagination and creativity that helps to unveil the hidden symbols found in every character portrayed in the book. This slang-like, silly aspect the book begins with is in major contrast with the book’s intended topics of war, racism, self-confidence, and self-identity. For it is these topics that make the novel a great book and overall an amazing piece of literature to read. So if you are looking for a stunning, amazing book to read, read The Lord of the Flies.