Lord of the Flies Main Essay

  • Length: 9 pages
  • Sources: 1
  • Subject: Literature
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #33604262

Excerpt from Essay :

Piggy even blamed Simon. Piggy said, "It was an accident…that what it was, an accident. Coming in the dark -- he hadn't no business crawling like that out of the dark. He was batty. He asked for it… We was on the outside. We never done nothing, we never seen nothing" (220-221).

Piggy dies during a fight between Ralph and Jack, which had been brewing the whole time they are on the island. Piggy berates the two fighting members for acting like savages, and for not cooperating to make the survival of the group an assured thing. A boulder crashes down after Roger pulls the lever and it knocks Piggy off the rock bridge and he plummets to the rocks below. The boulder hits Piggy and the conch is smashed as well. Since Piggy was the rational, intelligent one among the group, his death marks the end of any hope of rationality and sanity.

"The rock struck Piggy a glancing blow from chin to knee; the conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist. Piggy, saying nothing, with no time for even a grunt, traveled through the air sideways from the rock… Piggy fell forth feet and landed on his back across the square red rock in the sea. His head opened and stuff came out that turned red… his arms and legs twitched a bit, like a pig's after it has been killed…" (255-56).

FOUR: Is this a religious allegory? Is Simon portrayed as a Christ figure?

This novel is most certainly allegorical albeit not every allegorical link is based on religion. There are evidences of allegory and hints of religious tones throughout the story. One can easily put the pieces together given the timing of the novel and the setting and the plot as well. A naval officer, an officer who is heavily involved in a bloody and savage world war, rescues the protagonist, Ralph, and the island serves the novelist as a microcosm of that violent world at war. The island the boys arrive on is compared to Eden. Golding writes:

"Beyond the platform there was more enchantment. Some act of God -- a typhoon perhaps, or the storm that can accompanied his own arrival (9)… the ground beneath them was a bank covered with coarse grass, torn everywhere by the upheaval of fallen trees, scattered with decaying coconuts and palm saplings" (5).

Simon certainly stands out as a religious character (could be that Golding used the name Simon after "Simon Peter" in the New Testament of the Bible). But moreover Simon is the one character that has saintly qualities even in the wild environment the boys were part of. Jack, too, has a name that could be an offshoot of the Gospel According to John, a disciple of Christ; if Golding was using Jack as a reference to John, it was an ironic distortion but that is common in literature and so it is altogether possible that is what Golding was doing.

Given that Simon is the spiritual one, and that the island is (for some, not for Simon or Ralph) a frightful place at night with a beast out there, the juxtaposition of Simon and the savagery, the hostility and irrational fears that other have, makes this something of an allegory of Christ facing demons. Additionally, when Ralph first blows on the couch shell, with a loud statement that the boys have survived miraculously after the crash, the blowing of the shell could have been allegorically linked to Gabriel blowing his horn, announcing good news.

Simon, meanwhile, helps the little boys like Christ helped the children, and Simon meditates and goes up to the mountain, which seems a parallel to Jesus Christ, and to Biblical concepts in general. Moses went up the mountain and came back down with the Ten Commandments. In fact Christ came to earth, the Biblical story goes, to save humans from their sins. In Lord of the Flies, there is a need for a moral order, and there is a need to stop the boys from deteriorating into savages; of course, Simon doesn't save them but he is crucified, if you will, by those who didn't really know whom they were killing. "Father forgive them for they know not what they do," Christ said on the cross at Calvary. The boys who killed Simon did not know whom they were murdering, and hence, Simon was a martyr.

FIVE: symbolism of conch, glasses, fire, etc.

The conch shell is a symbol of order, or of the need for order. It was blown when there was to be a meeting among the boys. It is also a symbol of how delicate life on the island could be, and its deep sound would echo back from the pink granite of the mountain, proving that it had resilience in terms of its role in the story. In the end of the story it is smashed; this is a symbol of sadness and since it was such a beautiful shell, when any object so delicate and lovely is smashed, that symbolized the inability of society to protect and cherish beauty and meaning.

Piggy's glasses symbolized the ability to create and the need for fire. Fire symbolized hope for rescue; for Piggy the glasses also symbolized his need to see the world as it was for them. Fire (as was indicated previously) was the symbol of potential freedom; it also symbolized the boys' need for sustenance (they cooked meat over the fire). Lord of the Flies symbolizes the hostile environment and the cynicism of society.

The mask Jack painted on himself symbolized how he enjoyed changing his identity and releasing the beast inside. He could be anyone he wanted to be, and in his desire to have more power than Ralph, he liked having the mask as a kind of shield from what he is perceived as. The beast is clearly a symbol that the boys had. They tried to be brave but at nighttime it got very spooky on the island and their flagging courage wasn't enough to prevent them from feeling fear; hence, the beast was the symbol of fear. The darkness -- symbolizing the unknown and the fearful on the island -- was what made the thought of the beast real enough to scare the boys. The mountain symbolized the challenges that were ahead for the boys. They had a mountain of problems for sure, and just ascending the mountain would not free them; the mountain and the forest were symbol of the forces of nature, the natural world's barriers that have to be overcome by anyone, and in particular the young boys on this island had to overcome these natural world challenges.

The beach in the novel symbolized the desolation of their situation; a few steps off the beach was death in deep water. Also, the beach is a symbol of their survival, because others in the plane crash were not fortunate enough to reach the beach, and they drowned. Castle Rock is where Jack chose to be a headquarters for his group after he split off from Ralph's group. Castle Rock symbolizes hell on earth, because that is what Jack has chosen as his last stand and there will no longer be any rules to follow, so all hell can break loose when Jack decides it's time. The dead pilot symbolizes the misery of war in the real world. The world has gone crazy, and death is part of the madness in the outside world, just as it is on the island. The scar symbolizes the way in which the boys arrived on the island. The symbol of course relates to the scar on the island itself as the plane crashed, and the scar in the lives and emotions of the boys.

SIX: The evil, barbaric side of man

There are numerous evil symbols in this book, including the dogfight high in the air above the island in Chapter 6. The device that Golding used was understatement. "…Not even a faint popping came down from the battle fought at ten miles' eight. But a sign came down from the world of grown-ups, though at the time there was no child awake to read it. There was a sudden bright explosion and corkscrew trail across the sky; then darkness again and stars." This was the scene as a soldier fell. The breeze hauled the "figure" through the blue flowers, over the boulders and red stones. Golding paints his narrative with evil but in soft tones; understatement and irony are the literary devices at work in this passage. A dead body falling from the sky due to an evil war -- the writing almost seems like it is an angel descending instead of a dead soldier.

It was pure evil that Jack stole Piggy's glasses and that Jack became such a negative, dark person. It was part of Golding's brilliance in using characterization…

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