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Lord Of The Flies: Analysis Of Themes And Its Relevance To Today’s Society

2559 words - 11 pages


Lord of the flies was William Golding’s first published novel and since its appearance in 1954, it has become one of his best known works. Golding was forty-three years old when he wrote the novel with the aid of his experience serving in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. Thus his experience in world war has influenced him to produce such a masterpiece that earned him Nobel Prize in 1983 (Johnston, 1980, p.54). In many works Golding has revealed the dark places of human heart, when isolated individuals or small groups are pushed into extreme situations. His work is characterized by exploration of 'the ...view middle of the document...

First and foremost, the major theme of the novel is civilization overpowered by savagery. The book depicts how mankind’s natural savagery can tackle even the most civilized people. This theme is further supported by James Stern (1955) in his review for The New York Times Book Review who said that “Lord of the Flies is an allegory on human society today, the novel’s primary implication being that what we have come to call civilization is at best no more than skin deep”. Under certain circumstances we human may loose our civilization which in turn overpowered by savagery and this is what Golding creatively illustrated in his novel. The transition from civilized society into a savage tribe is explained thoroughly through the characters in the novel. At the opening of the novel everything was extremely fine; the boys have their functioning governing system and conch as their symbol of powerful democratic society. Both Ralph and Jack share their burden and there was an invisible light of friendship between them while sustaining civilized way of life. Golding is the master of his own when he creatively manipulate literary elements to convey his message of civilization. For example he used conch shell as the symbolism of democracy, law and order and a civilized governing system. Whoever holds the conch will able to speak in the meeting and that’s what Ralph meant when he said “That’s what this shell’s called. I’ll give the conch to the next person to speak. He can hold it when he’s speaking.” (Golding, 1954, p.43). Besides that, Golding even created the setting of the novel in a way to represents civilization. The island was explained as “It was roughly boat-shaped: humped near this end with behind them the jumbled descent to the shore” (Golding, 1954, p.38). The boat shape of the island is the ancient symbol of civilization.
As the story further developed, the civilization is fading away; savagery and fear took over in a form of Jack. He neglected the conch and said, “Bollocks to the rules!” Jack elected himself as the leader of savage tribe and manipulates the fear of beast to influence the boys to create such a huge tribe leaving aside Ralph, Piggy, Simon, and Samneric who are still upholding the civilization. Civilization is totally overpowered by savagery when the conch, symbol of democracy smashed into pieces. Golding again developed his two main characters to represent the conflict between civilization and savagery. Ralph the protagonist is the democratic leader who represents law and order, instinct to live by rules and value the good which are the elements of civilization. While in the other had, Jack the antagonist is the savage leader who represents desire for power, act violently to obtain supremacy over others, and enforce evilness which is the elements of savagery. Golding has made the two boys’ act similar at the beginning of the novel to show us how ‘normal’ they are. Moreover, Golding also used repetition to show the savagery of the...

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