Analytical Essay: Lord of the Flies
Since the beginning of time and recorded history, humans have had constant strife with the concept of morality. With transcendental skill, the ongoing struggles of the human race are addressed in the novel Lord of the Flies, which chronicles the survival of a group of castaways, their lasting hardships, and the ever present internal battle between good and evil. In the masterpiece Lord of the Flies, William Golding uses a combination of characterization and symbolism to convey the existence of righteousness and malevolence in the world.
Foremost Golding employs various devices in the characterization of the principals in the novel, to assert their specific role in the plot. Golding, on several occasions throughout the text, alludes to the Bible, to characterize Simon and portray his savior-like role. For example, when Simon pulled off the choicest [fruit] from the foliage and passed them back down to the endless outstretched hands (Golding 56), Golding is alluding to the Bible to directly connect Simon to Jesus Christ in the Miracle of the Five Loaves and Two Fish, in which Jesus feeds five thousand needy vagabonds. The juxtaposition of Simon and Jesus Christ in this specific allusion suggests the charitable and compassionate nature of Simon. The aforementioned allusion makes an acute appeal to the reader to ascertain that Simon is the islands only parallel to peace, and ultimately rectitude. In addition, Golding alludes to the Bible, to give Simon a prophet-like role. During the heat of discussion about the islands infamous beastie, Simon became inarticulate in his effort to express mankinds essential illnessWhat I mean isWhat if its [The Beast] only us! (Golding 89). Here, the author has made Simon internalize certain qualities of his probable names sake, Simon Peter, an apostle to Jesus Christ. Simon Peter was best known for his prophesy and the continuation of Jesus Christs ministry for several decades after his crucifixion. The comparison of the two is manifest when Simon tries his hand at prophecy. Simon Peter was persecuted for preaching similar messages, which lead to his incarceration. Goldings emphasis of Simons role as the didactic savior figure, and the aforesaid, conjointly foreshadows the death of Simon later in the work. Golding uses his characterization of Simon and both prior mentioned allusions to suggest Simon is the only innocent principal remaining, to sharply contrast his explicitly evil characterization, Jack.
In a like manner, William Golding, uses imagery to characterize and develop Jacks uniquely animalistic and morbidly dark role in this novel. For instance, while hunting, Jack came alive in the austere ominousness of the forest and jumped off the page, making every violent and vigorous movement almost instinctively. Jack was bent double with his nose only a few inches from the humid earth[he] breathed gently with flared nostrilsopened his eyes, that with frustration, seemed bolting and nearly mad (Golding 48). Jack had become, uncannily, one with nature. This image evokes in the reader, the adjacency of the newly evolved Jack and a primitive almost pre-human creature. At this point, Golding has developed Jack as a proselytistic character who has converted into the forest life. With this illustration of Jack, Golding has established that Jacks role in the plot is his rapid evolution into a culpable and stolid monstrosity. Golding, sparing no detail, limns the pinnacle of heinousness of Jacks character during the scene when he and his adherents are hunting down their prey in a trance. After they had struck down the sow Jack was on top of the sow stabbing downward with his knifeand the [sows] terrified squealing became a high pitched scream (Golding 135). The author continues, only belaboring the point by depicting Jacks lassitude, Jack stood up holding out his hands LookHe giggled while the boys laughed at his reeking palms (Golding 135). This imagery underscores Goldings intentional reiteration to depict Jacks character as a universal example of quintessential deplorableness and elaborate the existence of transgressors.
Not only has Golding manipulated characterization to aggrandize the role of the principals character in expressing the existence of good and evil, but he has also utilized symbolism to allow the principals to connote themes such as atrocity. The most compelling evidence occurs when Jack and the boys were hunting along the pig trails in the damp darkness of the forest, that Golding said Jack wore like his old clothes (Golding133-134). They had chased the prey down and in the same moment Jack, maliciously punctured the sows throat with his make-shift spear and hot blood spouted over his hands (Golding 135). Golding continues with the red symbol blood, [then] Jack grabbed Maurice and rubbed the stuff [blood] over his cheeks (Golding 135). Not only has Jack committed the pernicious undertake, but symbolically he has showered or immersed himself and Maurice in red blood. This red symbol archetypically signifies the boys venture into the adult world of violence, deception, and inevitable calamity. In particular Golding is suggesting the boys have reached the point of no return. In addition to the red bloods significance in this scene, Golding writes that Jack figuratively wore the damp darkness of the forest (Golding 133-134). This suggests that Jack is wearing the green of the forest to archetypically signify that he is just as comfortable with his new beastly adult persona as he was with his old image, Jack the choir boy. Another key piece of symbolism appears during the same hunt involving the boys and Jack. When their prey finally collapsed from exhaustion, bleeding and mad (Golding 135), she endures a symbolic rape that offers insight into just how virulent the boys have become. Golding uses unhackneyed imagery in the symbolism to enjoin the readers commiseration of the sow. The sow fell and the hunters hurled themselves at her Roger ran around the heap and prodded with his spear whenever pig flesh appearedRoger found a lodgment for his point and pushed until he was leaning with his whole weightthe spear moved forward inch by inch andthe sow collapsed under them and they were heavy and fulfilled upon her(Golding 135). This just further illustrates Goldings usage of symbolism to emphasize the boys venture into the adult world of violence and unforeseeable catastrophe that includes: killing each other.
In conclusion, William Goldings Lord of the Flies accurately chronicles the human races ever present trials with morality, and the internal conflict between virtuousness and transgression. Golding manipulates both characterization and symbolism to convey the existence of good and evil in this world. Though evil will always be the subject of the human races internal conflict, as in Lord of the flies, good will always triumph and prevail through the ages.
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies: a Novel. [New York?]: Wideview/Perigee, 1954. Print.