The day you forget to pack your umbrella just happens to be the one and only day that the weathermen had not expected the torrential downpours that have just made you look like a bedraggled water rat. Do you full and well accept the fact that, that would have happened and you continue to berate yourself for forgetting your umbrella¦or do you continue on the day with the thought that nothing could have been worse and the fact that rain is only just a bit of water?
I am a natural born pessimistic who always expects the worse in any situation, no matter how positive the horizon may look. I look at life as if it were just an amalgamation of wires all leading to the negative terminal. Any positive ray of hope is instantaneously hosed down into a scorched mark on the ground. Therefore, when I first read through the novel the Lord of the Flies in my own spare time, I found that I was compelled by the fascinating slant that William Golding had taken on society in general. To have the sheer courage to produce, what was considered to be nearly blasphemous at the time, deserves to be congratulated. If I wore a hat, then yes, I would indeed take my hat off to Golding, as he is truly worthy of such merits.
Coral Island. Law and Order. Lord of the Flies. War and riot.
Imagine being stranded on an island. No one to disapprove your behaviour, no one to dictate your life. Too much freedom can be a great sin. This example of free will and no discipline is clearly defined through the novel, the Lord of the Flies. A third of the way in, William Golding demonstrates the preliminary stages of human transformation, from the well-educated man to the savage beast. The first four chapters stage the development of Jack, Ralph, Roger and Piggy, who strive to find a new way of life after being abandoned on a desert island.
Them fruit. This is the first example of how the children have lost control of their eating habits. Instead of sticking to the traditional three meals a day they ate until they were full or they ate as soon as they caught sight of food. Piggy in this case, has severe diarrhoea symptoms, as he has simply stuffed himself with fruit. Therefore, he has to constantly relieve the pain and concentration that contorted his rounded face when he had diarrhoea.
As Ralph became conscious of the weight of his clothes he threw them off fiercely. So the well-dressed English School Boy disregarded his relation back to the real world and he felt as if he was finally in control of his life, yet he did not realise that the law and order was slowly receding into the misty horizon. The distinction between the mild-mouthed boys to the brutal fiend became clearer and clearer. To the other boys, a reminder of civilisation troubled them, however to Piggy, the grey shirt was pleasing. The distant reminder of control and security of the adult world calmed his worries. In spite of that, it was Piggy who had been bitterly let down by the adult world, in which he had so much faith. Nonetheless, for Jack, uniform resembled leadership, a thing that he kept close to his heart.
Jack and the other bigguns were introduced as some kind of creature, walking in formation behind their leader: Jack. To get his hands on authority, Jack transformed his angelic black-cloaked choirboys into his hunters. The intimidating sinister black-bird look imposed on the rest of the group was already daunting, and it slowly began to change. The wearily obedient choir simply changed one uniform for another. Their black caps slid over like berets, they had mad buzzing eyes, they had painted faces and long hair and they were camouflaged. Jacks sense of wrong and right spiralled out of control as he donned his new mask, which liberated him from shame and self-consciousness, which enhanced his urge to hunt.
Piggy first saw the conch as a hope for rules and a way of forming a small council of leadership. His superior intellect allowed him to think and make rational decisions. However, his ungainly and unattractive appearance meant that he was shunted out from all the little groups, and all his ideas were dismissed without a concern. Unlike Coral Island, Lord of the Flies shows that a band of stranded boys will no longer remain civilised in the face of hunger, but will progressively turn rude and unruly. His eminent and sensible nature outclassed every being on the island and therefore led to him being shunted out like the runt. Before summoning everybody in front of the conch, Piggy had one clear aim: to get rescued. He would do everything that his podgy hands would allow him to do, and if all the boys were to comply with his plans, they would be on the first ship back home. However, due to the lack of control and fight for leadership, any hope of going home grew faint.
The embossed and delicate shell steadily grew dark and dirty as Jacks sooty hands clasped and unclasped it. The conch was a thing of beauty that Piggy caressed and carried safely under his arms. It brought the boys together and seemingly formed a civilised society. However, it was also the destruction of reality and life outside the island. Piggy felt that his thoughts could finally be voiced and that responsibility could be taken seriously, yet Jack whom believed that Piggy talked too much always undermined him. Jack was the one who wanted rules, leaders and hunters; nevertheless, he was the first one to break them. During the course of the four chapters, his perspectives changed as he longed to hunt and kill a pig: Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood.
The responsibility that came attached with headship was an added extra that Jack hadnt bargained for. When he could no longer resist the urge to hunt, he left his duty of keeping the fire going, to rope more boys into his army and war-like chant. He only held respect for the conch because it held a purpose for him, he needed it to become leader and without it, Ralph would be in control. Many dictators mirror his thoughts, while Piggy and the conch represent democracy. The rash and impulsive manner which clouds Jacks judgement is evident when he orders everyone to build a fire, but only then does he realise that he has no means of lighting it.
Spontaneous behaviour patterns suggested that the emotions of some boys would run wild, happy would become ecstatic and angry would become infuriated. So, with the joy of seeing lavish light and feeling the burning heat, the hunters lost their senses and did not even to stop to listen to Piggy. Nonetheless, Piggy received his silent pleasure when the fact dawned on everyone in the company, that the fire had destructively burnt the rest of the firewood like a jaguar. They had lost their first chance of rescue and it dawned to many that they might not ever see that chance again. Due to Jacks impulsive behaviour, the fire was let out and their means of rescue dwindled.
Coral Island. Group and leader. Lord of the Flies. Savages and Chief.
Rogers eyelids fluttered as he felt the exhilarating satisfaction of trying to inflict pain on another human being (Henry). Rogers nature hardly changes through the book, but it becomes more and more apparent that Roger is an evil and malicious boy. The odd few times that Roger is mentioned, his presence leaves a foggy gloom over the rest of the group of boys. Roger smiled unwillingly and nodded gravely. His solemn and daring looks give him an air of mystery.
His true temperament is revealed when he starts to throw stones at Henry, but the taboo of his old life refrained him actually harming Henry. This shows that law and order still lingers around the island, but not for very long. Rogers vindictive pleasure might overtake any sense of guilt or common sense. At the end of the fourth chapter, the crossed purposes of the main characters are clearly defined. Jack wants to hunt, Ralph wants to be rescued, Roger wants to hurt someone and Piggy wants to keep everything civilised. There is this air of joylessness about him as he smiles unwillingly and looks gravely. All his actions denote a sombre and deathly person who seems to have no warmth or emotion inside him.
Samneric symbolise the wavering in-betweens of everyday society. They are what the majority of the boys thought during the entire course of the book. Instead of needing to describe how every boy felt, Golding used Samneric as a means of describing and portraying the general atmosphere. As they were able to be influenced, it is obvious that they would follow anyone who seemed particularly strong in the leadership contest.
At the beginning, due to the conch, they stayed closer to law and order. Nevertheless, as everything began to digress into mayhem, they turned to the side on which they thought they would win. Their ultimate goal was to survive through the whole ordeal and if that meant siding with the more savage party, then that is what they would have had to do win. Unlike Piggy, they were willing to give up in their beliefs in the hope of coming out on top. Yet, characters like Simon and Piggy always had faith in the outside world, and both rallied to help everyone find the truth.
The beacon of light represents many things in the beginning of the novel. It symbolises jurisdiction and as it disappears, things start to fall apart. Simon, shown as a Christ-like figure resembles the peace and well fare of the Christian nature. Piggy uses his understanding to try and make sure that everyone is safe and functional. Ralph wants to use the conch to unite everybody. However, Roger and Jack are shadowing the light of the creamy pink conch. Their guilty conscience and malevolence cover the right path shown by the conch and expose the depths of hell. Their only hope of civilisation without an adult is slowly retreating into the darkness of the opaque and mud-spattered conch.
Furthermore, the chapter titles are an indication of how themes transform, not for the best, but in fact take a turn for the worse. There is a trace of hope with the beginning of the story being entitled The Sound of the Shell. It seems to portray that there is still a sense of civil obedience and if given the chance, the boys could lead life of structure. Yet, what we learn is that civilisation is only skin deep, and even though this scenario is set in the 1950s, its concept is ageless. Golding shows that when there is no adult-like figure or one of authority, patterns of behaviour will change. The deviation away from society was symbolised by the ominous chapter tiles: Painted Faces and Long hair, A View to Death, and finally the Cry of the Hunters. Ultimately, the novel had climaxed into a random state of sheer pandemonium.
Having analysed the main characters so far in the novel, it is evident each of the different characters represents a different part of society, thus showing that the island as a whole is a microcosm of the world. It portrays how society functions with different elements causing its downfall, or for those who are optimistic among us, causing its upbringing. The boys are allegorical as they convey a symbolic significance.
So far it seems that everything has begun to turn sour and the typical 1950s English audience would have been very disapproving of these changes. Jacks continual submission from his opaque mad look made him even more sinister. As the eyes are typically thought of as the mirrors of the soul in literature, it is right to see that Jack had mad eyes, compared to the mild-mouthed Ralph. However, the thing that struck me most was the fact that nobody cared to notice the disappearance of the boy with the mulberry birthmark, until Piggy happened to mention it. This is one of the first factors that portray how no law and order had been established to keep a check of all those who were present in the surrounding local community.
Enormity of the downward stroke. Jack could not possibly bring himself to kill the pig when he first had the chance; consequently he made sure that at the next opportunity, he did what he thought was necessary. He killed the pig not only out of the urge to hunt, but out of the risk of being humiliated; he didnt want to seem soft like Piggy. Jacks mask liberated him from shame and self consciousness and thus he was able to lead his pack (his former choirboys) in a march. As he progresses towards the murky depths of evil, Jack, like Roger shows no love or feeling. Everything he does is filled with vengeance and hatred, especially the way he venomously says shut up to Piggy. This antipathy is continued when he usurps Piggys glasses and then mocks Piggys impairing vision. The use of language to depict Jack is always climatic, heated vibrant and imposing. He distances himself from the rest of society and also contributes to the deaths of Simon and Piggy.
At the beginning of Chapter Five Beast from Water Ralph knows that everyone must remain together is there is any hope of survival. Yet, nearing the end of the chapter, ambitions start to diverge and the group splits. Ralph simply cannot trust Jack any longer as he let the fire out; therefore Ralph has to resort to keeping the fire going. This initial distinction between hunt and rescue is shown by the line: two continents of experience and feeling unable to communicate. Ralph and Jack are so close, yet so far apart. They may be physically no more than a mile apart, but they are estranged in two completely different perspectives.
Apart from the glimmering conch, another whiteness in the gloom was Simon. With an uncertain future waiting on the horizon, Simon had a perilous necessity to speak out and his greater natural understanding allowed him to look outside the box. He was able to see the world outside the microcosm of the island. The mystic and magical essence of his ability to see into a different dimension meant he was scorned by everyone, including Piggy. Simons heightened sense of awareness permitted him to see the beast for what it really was. Piggys contradictory rational nature meant that he found Simon slightly batty to say the least. Nevertheless, Simon knew what mankinds essential illness was and he tried to everything in his power to show the rest of the boys.
Coral Island. Friendship and warmth. Lord of the Flies. Blood lust and temptation.
Imagine being stranded on an island which had been taken over by a wave of friendly fire. Oxymoronic as it may be, the fire used to be friendly, once, until it was used as an instrument of vengeance. The recurrent vicissitudes lead to the destruction of the island and some of the people on it. Jack was engulfed by the notion of doing a dance and making sacrifices to solve his apparent problems, disparate to Piggy who knew of the imminent frenzy. As the basic elements of law and order break down, Roger tests the limits of leadership and friendship by standing against Jack. Even though he was in his element, when he started to act as the pig in the centre of the circle, he knew that he had to wait to reach his ultimate goal: power.
The moment of Simons death is a significant point in the novel, and perhaps is the most important. If there had been any optimism on the island, it was in the form of Simon. His ethereality, reassurance and hushed tone of voice even made the pragmatic Piggy calm down. Coincidentally, the second Simon died; the dead parachutist leaves the island from across the mountain top. The phosphorescence gave a wraithlike message to the rest of islanders. As it ebbed away in the receding waters, the storm seemed like the lyrical death of an innocent and saintly being. The halo effect created by the minuscule flies sent out a feeling of true quintessence and integrity.
Had there been a slight sliver of hope, it was diminished by the demise of the Piggy in the following chapters. Although Ralph sacrificed Piggys dignity by telling Jack his nickname, Ralph needed Piggy as he had the brains. Piggy was thinker and Ralph was essentially the doer. Without Piggy, Ralph would have not had the ideas, and without Ralph, Piggy could not have led a group of rowdy school boys. When first lighting the fire, Ralph to thinks of Piggy as a mere tool, but he soon realises how important Piggy us as he knows his own limitations Only, decided Ralph as he faced the chiefs seat, I cant think. Not like Piggy. When Ralph loses his grip in sanity, something flittered there in front of his mind like a bats wing, obscuring his idea; he was highly dependent on Piggys comfort. Piggy had an obscene importance to Ralph, as whenever he was without Piggy, Ralph would hear Piggy calling him a kid.
Ralph showed he cared for Piggy by accompanying him to get his glasses back. He returns the warmth and confidence by telling Piggy: you keep right close to me. His immense shock when Piggy died was portrayed by the thought that the silence was complete and Ralphs lips formed a word but no sound came. He even felt the alone in Piggys absence There was no Piggy to talk sense. The final resentment of hatred towards the adult world was portrayed when Ralph wept for the end of innocence and he mourned for the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy.
Connected with Piggys death is the demise of the conch. Piggys life ends with the conch clutched in his hands, meaning when Piggy is destroyed, law and order is destroyed as well. Piggy was the first person to see the conch, and was associated with it from start to finish. Always holding it in high regard, he was the only boy on the island who actually realised how important it was, so protecting it from Jack and Roger. He knew that it was the only thing keeping him sae from Jacks savages. Unseemingly so, Ralph also felt a kind of affectionate reverence with the conch after Simons death. He found comfort as he took the shell caressingly with both hands and knelt, leaning against the trunk.
Beast from Water. Beast from Air.
There was always that little beastie that would creep up from the shadows when your mummy had finished tucking you into bed and left you alone to face the death-defying journey through the night, every night. Every child has his or her own fear and William Golding used the Beast to execute an intense feeling of doubt and trepidation into the minds of the boys. The darkness of mans heart is the evil that everyone will have to overcome, yet, the consternation will differ from person to person. There was the literal beast, which Jack and his savages made ritualistic sacrifices to, in an attempt to keep it pleased. This shows that the tribe believed in the materialistic values and rites the out ancestors used to believe in. The dead parachutist symbolises how, if not given the time to think, man would return to their basic animal instincts.
On the other hand, more scientific and pragmatic boys like Simon and Piggy saw through this fa¯¿½ade. Even though he had been ostracised because of he was in the centre of the social derision. Piggys supreme intellect would simply not allow him accept the ideas of beasties. Simons numinous temperament means that he isnt subjugated by the Beast, like the littluns. The Beast is the root of all evil, and the crescendo at the beginning of the chapter showed us (by personification) that an inanimate object was taking on a human form. Simon is like the Bringer of Truth, and after he has found out who the beast really is, he tried to enlighten the whole tribe, as the personal inconvenience means nothing to him. His motivation to tell to the truth as soon as possible led him to his death.
The reason the boys have been stranded on the island is because the have been evacuated from the supposed dangers of war in the adult world. It was only by fluke that the officer happened to land on the island just in time to save Ralph from being brutally murdered. Our imagination need not be let loose to imagine the horrific events that would have followed, had the officer not whistled in embarrassment at the sight before him. The memories of ages ago would not have returned to the savages, had they not seen a sign of authority.
Being only fifteen when writing this essay, I cannot say that I have had all the experience, but I consistently find that people around me try to shelter my knowledge and push me deeper into the confinements of safety. Yet, surely there has to be a limit to how far you can ground a child and hide them from the truth? As adults are able to corrupt the world in which we live in, they try to blindfold us, in the name of protection. So, arent you just teaching us to blindly blunder into life?
I am sure that you will agree with me in saying that William Golding wasnt a pessimist. Though the people of his time may have branded him with innumerate foul names, you must believe that he only showed the virulent realities of the human nature. So if everything in the Lord of the Flies was written by William Golding, his ideas must have a shred of credible reality. The worsening, mood, weather and scenery all contributed to the hazardous conclusion. These aspects werent pessimistic to say the least; they were just showing the veritable truth. Unpalatable as it may be, the truth has to be adhered to and novels like Coral Island only seem to be handing out sugar-filled table spoons of hope. Hope in a whimsical world that simply does not exist.
Coral Island. Optimism, definitely, and fantasy. Lord of the Flies. Pessimism, maybe, but reality.