The book I am currently studying is called Lord of the Flies by William Golding. The book is about a group of young boys who are trapped on an island alone whilst a war happens.
The group selects a chief named Ralph who tries to keep everyone in order and uses many connections to civilization to do so. How ever throughout the book he struggles for leadership against another boy named Jack who gives in to his primal instincts and delves into savagery taking the rest of the group with him. Through many ups and downs good and evil fight each other throughout the whole novel.Ralphs first connection to civilization that he uses to help control the group is creating something that can be viewed as a symbol for it. He finds a conch shell and uses it as a horn to round the boys up. Ralph also uses the conch like one might use a ball in a classroom “I’ll give the conch to the next person to speak .
.. he won’t be interrupted” (31). In a classroom teachers will occasionally use a ball to symbolize who can speak. The children will proceed to pass the ball around and who ever has it is the only one who is aloud to speak. The children mimic this creating a sense of civilization.
When Ralph blows the conch all the children know to come to the sound and have a meeting. This also shows that they listen to it and think it a symbol of civilization. One might come to believe that the boys are now grasping on to any connection to civilization they can remember and recreate it on the island. The conch’s paradox is the beast, the conch symbolizes law, and order, and the beast causes the boys to slowly spiral into madness. The beastie first makes its appearance in the boys mind as a large snake like being. However as the novel progresses the beast evolves into the Lord of the Flies. Simon has a vision of the beast where it talks to him “You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you? Close, close, close!”(158).
Simon realises his suspicions were true and that the boys themselves are the beast. In this vision Simons subconscious is speaking with him, so really he’s talking to himself. This is a big indicator of madness. Everyone’s paranoia eventually lead to them subconsciously creating a beast like character that was only in their heads.
Eventually driving them all mad with constant fear and suspicions. This also might have been a way to release evil that they held inside of themselves.Another instance where a sense of civilization is stripped away from the boys is when Piggy’s glasses are broken. Over time throughout the story Piggy’s specs come to be a symbol of civilization and power. In chapter 4 Jacks anger and primal instincts get the best of himing making him strike Piggy. “Jack smacked Piggy’s head. Piggy’s glasses flew off and tinkled on the rocks.”(75).
This seems to push Jack over the edge and down the road of insanity. Jack intentions may not have been to break the glasses, however once he does he has no regret. Jack knows that the glasses are their only was to make a fire and be saved yet he does not care. Jacks madness is reflecting onto the rest of the group, as jack danced around Piggy they all laughed hysterically. Finally a group mentality starts to form around the subject of madness.
In the novel there are many accounts of things being related or referenced to the bible. This is not a direct representation but with specific evidence from the story there’s a hinted similarity to the bible. Right at the start of the novel when they first crash Ralph takes off all his clothes “kicked his shoes off fiercely and ripped of each stocking with its elastic garter in a single movement. Then he leapt back on the terrace, pulled off his shirt, and stood there among the skull-like coco-nuts”(4). This can be referenced to Adam and Eve. Not only did he rid himself of his clothes he then proceeded to bathe. This could be viewed as an act of baptism. This could also symbolize him cleansing himself from his past life and starting anew sin free.
This is only one of many bible references. Later on in the novel the boys come to encounter the snake thing, or beastie. A small boy describes it to Piggy who then tells the group “A snake-thing.
Ever so big. He saw it”. In the story of Adam and Eve the Devil disguises himself as a snake trying to tempt them to eat the apple. Once the apple was eaten they were driven mad with shame and regret.
In the novel Lord of the Flies the beastie ends up driving the boys mad. In Adam and Eve the snake is an external force that’s visible. In this novel the beast is merely created in the minds of the boys In conclusion the boys spiraled into savagery due to many reasons. Ralph did his best to try and stop it but with no avail. Jack and a few others drove the whole group to madness.
Letting animal instincts surface and even subconsciously creating a monster that hunts them causing constant fear and paranoia. The boys couldn’t recognize the evil inside themselves and ended up projecting it onto an external source. Even with Ralph introducing numerous ways to complete tasks that would prove more civilized and orderly in the end the boys retreated to a group mentality of savagery. In the end evil prevailed.
Not the evil from the island, but the evil the boys already had inside themselves that they just haven’t discovered yet.