William Goldings Lord of the Flies, is one of the most disturbing and celebrated novel of modern times. Discuss the above statement in the form of reader response essay.
Clearly explain the reasons why the novel can be considered popular in all aspects such as language style, plot, themes, conflicts and issues with an element of suspense, sinister, good and evil, etc.
Support your arguments with contextual evidences, quotations, and facts. Your response will be assessed on the following aspects:
1. Coverage of key ideas
2. Organisation of ideas
3. Originality of thought
4. Critical judgement
Lord of the flies was one of the famous books that you should not be missed. This novel was written by William Gerald Golding, who also wrote Rites of Passage, which had won the Booker Prize. Lord of the flies is about a small group of kids, who had stranded on a deserted island after a plane crash during the World War II. This novel tells the reader that in the worst, human can do anything in order to survive, and that is what happened to those boys. Due to its popularity, it had been adapted into movie twice which is by Peter Brook in 1963 and Harry Hook on 1990. Golding had been knighted in 1988 and he died in 1993.
Lord of The Flies had been considered as one of the most celebrated as well as disturbing novel that had been published. The idea that had been covered by William Golding was unusual for that time, since there is no other author that had ever touch on this subject matter, which is the survival and the savagery in human being. Nevertheless, it was disturbing at the same time, since it was outrageous to think that kids which portray innocent and purity can think or even worst kill others. I as the reader cherished the idea that had been presented through the novel as the most interesting theme.
The idea of survival was rare and fascinating, but still, the brutality that shown by the kids bothering me greatly, for examples the killing of Piggy on chapter 11. Golding shows that no matter, whether it was a kid or an adult, as long as it was human being, there are potentially evil and sadistic traits within them.
There are many reasons why this novel was celebrated and yet controversial at the same time. One of the reasons is, the way Golding presented his story. Golding had used all the elements needed in this novel thoroughly, thus perfected it. Those elements were; language and style, themes, plots, conflicts and issues. Golding had used all this elements efficiently, and despite the controversial comments, it attract readers to read this allegory novel
Golding had used many literary devices in this novel in order to convey his idea to his readers. It makes the readers picture the situation rather than only read it. For examples, the uses of metaphor, (a bowl of heat and light) on page 59 and personification on page 11 (a lump from a poor soil) enhance the meaning thus make it easier to grasp the picture of the situation. William also used hyperbole, for examples, (the booming of a million bees) on page 58 and repetition of Because (because, thought Ralph, because, because) on page 9 to strengthen the meaning that he want to put across. The uses of a simple language that reflects the language of the school boy at that time such as How many of us are there? (Ralph, pg 10) also make it easier to understand. Hence, it is not only suitable for adult to read but it also not too difficult for student to comprehend it. I like this novel because it allows me to expand my imagination beyond the limit. For example, when it describes the island as the Garden of Eden, automatically I began to imagine the beauty of the island. The detailed explanations of certain situation also help me to picture it better. However, there are also some aspects of language that Im not really comfortable with. For example, the usage of sexual language to describe the pig hunts. This shown on Chapter 8, page 149, (sow collapsed under them, and they were heavy and fulfilled upon her) which almost reads like a gang rape. This can be considered disturbing as the sexual element is a taboo especially among children. Sex usually relates to adult, so when he used this element on children, it seems like the nature of the children had been violated.
The theme that had been used in the novel reflects the society at that time. It shows that no matter how good the leadership is, the people or the followers tend to follow those who give benefit upon them. It can be seen through the action of those stranded boys. At first those boys were following Ralph, but they chose Jack over him, when he offers them freedom and meat. That is when the reality hit us. No matter whether Ralph represent democracy which is good and Jack represent dictators/anarchy which is bad, people will keep choosing those who benefit to them. The theme of civilization and order also was brought forth through this novel. Ralph tries to bring civilization and order to the boys by building the settlement and the usage of the conch. This situation is similar with the society at those times since they were also hoping for civilization after the war. This is because due to the war the political and society system at that time were weak and unstable. Because of these similarities between them, the novel is then celebrated by the reader when it was published. Yet the used of the theme of good versus evil was quite alarming. Golding perfected this theme/ ideas by using children who is innocent and sinless as the main characters. It was quite alarming to find that barbarity and savagery can exist amongst even on the smallest form of human beings. Still, however disturbing the theme is, I think that it perfected the messages that Golding wants the reader to grasp.
The flow of the story was really interesting and captures the audience. Golding successfully show how capable the aspect of violence and evil in human. Its shown through Jack and Roger characters. Both of them are cunning. Jack wants to kill Ralph and become the leader. Meanwhile Roger kills Piggy. Golding manages to put this trait on them successfully although it hard to believe that a small kid could think such things like murdering other. I think the most interesting aspect in this story is the age of it character. It is because for such a strong theme, Golding uses kids as its character instead of using a teenager or an adult. One thing that interest me is that Golding presents his story in a slow pace (one by one) which help me to decipher what is the message he want to convey to the readers easily.
The conflict that had been occurred through out this novel is not only between the characters but also between the character and its environment. For examples; it occurs between Ralph and Jack (Jack feels that he is more qualified to be a leader), Boys and the Beastie (Their desire to kill the beastie who symbolise the Devil), and Boys and the Nature (The boy killed the sow in order to survive). The conflicts that occur in this novel make us understand the characters better. This is because, through the conflicts, we can see how the characters react to a different situations and how they overcome them. Thus, it provides more info about the novel and makes the reader which is me, eager to finish it. However some of the consequences of the conflicts were quite alarming to me, for example, the confrontation between Ralph and Jack. Jack tends to turn nasty especially when they are trying to burn down the bushes in order to capture Ralph. He also gives order for his savages to kill Ralph.
The issues that been raised by Golding also make me thinks more about the reality of this world. For example, the issue of the loss of innocence in those stranded boys. As the story progress we can see the changes in the personalities and their behaviour from the well-behaved, orderly children to cruel, blood thirsty savages. It is hard to imagine that the painted savages on the chapter 12 who had hunter, tortured and killed animal and human being were the same boys who had been swimming guilelessly at the lagoon on chapter 3. I was amazed how a little change of environment to those boys could bring the worst in them. Another example is the forest glade in which Simon sits in Chapter 3. At first, it is a place of natural beauty and peace, but when Simon returns later in the novel, he discovers the bloody sows head impales upon a stake in the middle of the clearing. Golding does not portray this loss of innocence as something that is done to the children but as a result from their increasing openness to the innate evil and savagery that has always existed within them. That is why it considered disturbing as well as controversial. Another issue is survival. Despite the entire problems that they had too faced, they manage to survive till the rescue came. Although they had changed to savages, but that was for their survivor to continue to live. This situation is same between the society in the novel and the society in America once the novel became popular in 1960s. In American society, young adults in urban environments must often survive the rugged life of the streets. Those make this novel appeal to the readers. The use of eerie and threatening manner enrich the evil spirit of Lord of The Flies is particularly effective to make the readers feel more excited and overwhelmed. For example during the tribal dance, the boys fearfully described. Kill the beast! Cut the throat! Spill his blood! (pg171). And this gives the thrill to us; the reader to read further. Another suspense that we can find is during Jack pursuits of Ralph. Although it was disturbing to imagine they act as a savages but at the same time as a reader I was overwhelmed with excitement to know what happen next and thus it makes this novel as one of the celebrated book in the world.
As the conclusion, based on the facts and opinions that I had stated before, Lord of The Flies was truly a celebrated book although some of it contents was disturbing. Golding is giving us a warning about the evil in us. Human had some dark quality in them which could alter with slightest changes on the environment and this had been proved by Golding from the novel Lord of the Flies. This showed that Golding has given us the pre warning about the evil in every human being. This novel had teach me and make me realised the reality of life which is not always goes by what we meant it to be like what happen to those savages. None of them realised that what had been a happy or rather quite good beginning could end in such ugly way, which is the death of Piggy and Simon. I agree that this novel should be considered popular because it was unique and exciting and I really recommend others to read it.
Foster, A.W (2002) York notes, Lord of The Flies: Pearson
Educated Asia Limited