June 12, 2017
The Hidden Nature - Literary Analysis of Lord of The Flies
All books are written with a purpose - and that is to illuminate a path one hopes or fears humanity will take. However, what differentiates between a compelling book and a terrible one is the delivery of the message. An effective novel should have an overarching theme that speaks volumes, accompanied with dynamic characters to capture the reader. William Golding’s Lord of The Flies combines a strong theme it delivers about the savage nature of humans, empowered with the use of symbols, and its unique characters to create a compelling novel.
The words of Golding deliver a profound theme— the true nature of humans, is savagery, and moral behaviour is imposed by the spoken and unspoken rules of society. Throughout the story, an evident conflict is present- the instinct to live by rules, following moral commands and to value everyone’s benefits, versus the instinct to gratify one’s immediate desires by enforcing one’s will over everyone else, or in short, to obtain supremacy. At the very beginning of the book, the children are on a deserted island, given the power to build their own society. Their first instinct is to follow the examples adults have set, which is to create rules and regulations, to maintain order in chaos. This point is supported as Ralph says ‘“We can’t have everybody talking at once. We’ll have to have ’Hands up’ like at school.”’ (Golding 44). In this case, Ralph immediately decides to create rules, simply because it is what he has experienced in society thus far, prompting him to believe this is the most suitable solution. Further examples of moral behaviour imposed by the rules of society include the hesitation of the boys when they first attempt killing a pig, as Golding narrates “They knew very well why he hadn’t: because of the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh; because of the unbearable blood” (Golding 29) and when Roger throws stones at Henry, intentionally missing, as he feels “the taboo of the old life” (Golding 86). Golding further explains this “taboo” by narrating “Round the squatting child was the protection of parents and school and policemen and the law. Roger’s arm was conditioned by a civilization that knew nothing of him and was in ruins.” (Golding 87). From these examples, it is clear to see that the boys are ashamed to use brute force to hurt others as it violates the rules they so closely grew up with. However, as the story progresses, the boys become desperate to live, causing them to disregard their morals in order to survive. For instance, they start to chant “Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood” (Golding, 96) whilst hunting, showing the transition from feeling uneasy in hurting a living animal into mercilessly killing it in order to live. Slowly, this savagery manifests in the boys, most evidently in Jack. Jack’s bloodlust and thirst for power results in irrational thinking,...