Belonging, is the feeling of contentment with ones surroundings due to a bond or connection to virtually anything within that environment, and is necessary to a sane human psyche. The ability to belong is measured by a persons versatility in different environments, and is governed by either their alterations of character that are appropriate to each context, or an ability to change ones surroundings to an attuned environment. These conflicting methods of belonging are context sensitive and if used in the wrong situation, may be detrimental. Lord of the flies, by Peter Golding, explores these notions of belonging through the effective use of language techniques; symbolism, and in-depth characterization.
The novel entails a band of schoolboys marooned on an island following the crash of their plane. Upon arrival to the island, a conch shell is discovered. This shell becomes a powerful symbol of civilization and order in the novel; the shell effectively governs the boys meetings, as whoever holds it has the indisputable right to speak, I have the conch shell! This vessel of political legitimacy portrays the boys connection to societal values and traditions, and bares naked their attempt to belong. The boys immediate effort to alter an unfamiliar environment, by attributing great political significance to an inanimate object, highlights the human necessity to belong.
Peter Goldings in-depth characterization of the main characters Ralph, Simon, Roger and Jack, allows his audience to perceive the different methods of belonging. Ralph tries to superimpose his idea of western society onto the boys in his attempt to civilize his surroundings. This is in direct contrast with Jack and Roger, who allow their identity to be shaped by their savage environment, and in turn become corrupted. It becomes apparent that the relationships drawn between the older boys and the little ones emphasize the connection to either the civilized or the savage instinct: civilized boys like Ralph and Simon use their power to protect the younger boys, whilst savage boys like Jack and Roger treat them as objects for their own amusement. Although Ralph displays commendable adherence to his moral upbringing, he eventually succumbs to the savage majority, when he partakes in killing Simon, again highlighting the human necessity to belong.
Through Goldings use of symbolism and in-depth characterization, this novel highlights the different methods to belong in an unfamiliar environment, and the consequences that may ensue. The boys constant attempts to make a more palatable reality also divulge the human necessity to belong.