Throughout the novel Lord of the Flies, various views and motifs are portrayed. Of these views and motifs, the main message which is illustrated is one that questions society. It is clear from the very beginning that is a message conveyed in this novel. On the whole, Golding is portraying a good versus evil which are represented by Jack and Ralph. In Lord of the Flies a variety of ideas can be extracted on what the message Golding is trying to show. Golding wrote this novel in order to show the basic contrast of good and evil in society and how things can get out of hand if your primal urges are left uncontrolled.
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Throughout this novel, a great deal of contrasts are portrayed, one major one being good versus evil. To fully understand why Golding chose to write this book based on a good and bad motif, we have to look at the time period it was written in. During the time period this book was written in, the cold war was a major concern in everyday life. Golding, just as many other writers chose to write about the wrongs of communism in a subtle way, using children as a vehicle. In Lord of the Flies Golding uses Ralph, the leader of the tribe, to portray good and society (and probably democracy – with the conch, everyone had an opinion), Jack on the other hand represents evil and what can happen if let uncontrolled (and perhaps in a way communism). All through the novel, Jack and Ralph quarrel to see who gets control of the tribe. Eventually of course, evil wins.
In Lord of the Flies, there are many characters, but the most noticeable ones are of course Ralph and Jack, along with a handful of others I will describe the role they play in the book and how they all show either good or evil.
– Ralph – Ralph is definitely the novel’s main character. He is elected as leader of the group mainly because he is in possession of the conch shell. He shows the good that there can be on the world. He is committed to keeping to society and following the example which was set by the elders.
– Jack – Jack is the character that co-exists with the main character. He is not elected as the leader of the tribe. This leaves him in a jealous rage which continues throughout the book. He illustrates the evil that exists in society and how people can get dragged into it, sometimes against their own will. Jack continually makes life difficult for Ralph and does not follow the right example.
– Piggy – Piggy is the wise intellectual boy in the novel. He is introduced very early on along with Ralph. Piggy represents society’s “brains” and his cries for order go unheard, just like they do in real life. He is good in the way he does nothing wrong, but too weak of word to do anything just.
– Simon – Simon is perhaps the only really good person in the novel. By the way Golding describes his character, there seem to be no flaws in it. He represents the natural goodness in people, but he is to weak to do anything about the evil.
There are a significant amount of props, or scenery used in the Book Lord of the Flies, many of them with a meaning. At the very start of the book we are introduced to a very important one which also has a sociological meaning to it. The Conch shell is used to summon the boys at the beginning and impresses many of them making them think of him as a natural leader. Seeing there is nothing left of the plane wreckage the conch shell is one of the only things they have which is linked to society and therefore becomes a powerful symbol of civilization. It is used throughout the book effectively by Ralph but when it is flattened it symbolizes the complete downfall of civilization and the loss of control. Another important symbol in the novel is the beast. It stands for the fear which all of the boys have and the savagery they all have. All of the boys, especially the littleuns are afraid of the beast but only Simon recognizes that the fear is within the boys themselves. Because the beast lies within the boys, more savage they act, the more apparent the beast is.
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The loss of power is one very remarkable problem Ralph seems to have from the very start. As soon as Jack comes into the scene, there is a sense of rebellion. Jack protests in some of the very first chapters that he should be leader instead, but it led to nothing. Ralph seems to be on top of things on the whole, but as soon as Jack started trying Ralph’s leadership, things went on a downhill slope.
In Lord of the Flies, something called Id and Superego are subconsciously integrated, forming a contrasted point of view. Id and Superego are a ideas of Sigmund Freud, a professor of psychology. Id is the primal urges you have, while your Superego is where you respond to what you think society expects of you. In the novel, these two types of personalities are both applied, leaving a very contrasted set of characters. The Superego in Lord of the Flies is definitely Piggy. He is the one who is always questioning whatever he or someone else is doing is right. He compares all of his experiences to what “his auntie says”. Someone with a Superego usually is concerned with what society thinks of them, just like Piggy is afraid of other people judging him. The Id on the other hand is nearly the complete opposite of the Superego. In this book, Jack and his tribe exhibit the Id in every human being. His tribe follows what they like doing, or in other words their primal urges. This can mean hunting, feasting, killing etc. It is possible that Golding chose to show these two very different types of personalities on purpose, but without an answer, we are not quite sure.
In the above I have explored just one of the dozens of arguments there are to make about Lord of the Flies. Good versus evil are both very clearly portrayed in this novel making it easy to distinguish which one is which. In the book, political views are subtly illustrated in the form of children, one Jack, one Ralph. In a mÐ¹lange with other characters, Golding created a modern day society on a small scale where good an evil exist simultaneously and in which the Id is let loose.
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