Lord of Flies by William Golding is an award-winning novel from the 20th century that depicts savagery and loss of innocence in the society. It is an expository illustration that relates the young children in the story to how leaders in society today behave. It is a book that was well received by many.
In our literary essay on Lord of the Flies, we shall focus on the summary of Golding’s story and discuss the main themes. Some of the topics of discussion that arise from the novel include loss of purity of children and how fear breeds insanity.
A plane evacuating young British boys from an unnamed war in England crashed near an island in the Pacific Ocean, leaving them stranded. Ralph and Piggy, find a conch that they use to draw attention from the rest boys. For this, Ralph gained some authority among them and proposed that during their meetings, one can only speak if he holds the conch. They agreed.Order now
He organizes them into subgroups to hunt and keep the fire that was lit using Piggy’s spectacles ablaze. This fire was used as a signal to call for help. The group was so excited about the fire that they lit a huge one and ended up burning some trees. The youngest boy disappeared at this scene; it is presumed that he died.
Jack was unhappy with Ralph being the leader, but Ralph liked him and let him lead the boys’ choir in hunting. On Jack’s first kill, he was exhilarated and invites other kids to hunt and play. They forget to keep an eye on the signal fire and miss their first chance to rescue as a ship had passed by at that time. Jack slaps Piggy when he confronts him about the issue.
Ralph blows the conch to reprimand all the boys for their actions. They talked for a while, and the younger children ended up conversing about monsters and ghosts. This notion stuck in the minds of many, and they believe there are monsters in that environment. Ralph dismisses this as fear of the unknown, but Jack insists that beasts exist.
While sleeping, an airplane explodes, and a dead man on a parachute gets trapped in the trees at fire signal’s mountain. The twins, Sam and Eric, notice the silhouette figure and rush to the group about ‘the beast.’ Ralph and Jack go and see the figure from afar. They tell the group about it, and Jack incites them to demote Ralph, a coward. The boys declined.
Annoyed Jack leaves and swears to form his tribe. His close friend, Roger who was a sociopath, follows him. Most of the group members later join him secretly. They would hunt for fun and dance around ‘the lord of the flies’, which was a pig’s head mounted on a stick surrounded by flies.
Simon was playing in isolation in the woods when he saw that the purported beast. He rushed to tell the group that it was just a dead man, but Jack saw him and shouted that the beast was coming and that they should kill it. Ralph and his confidant had joined the group on this day, and they took part in killing ‘the beast.’ They felt guilty the following day for helping kill Simon.
Jack and his crew decide to steal specs from Piggy and use them in making fire. Annoyed, Piggy carries the conch and goes to confront them at alongside Ralph and the twins. Since he understands the importance of the conch, he blows it to speak to the boys, but they jeer at him. Roger pushes a huge stone that crashes the conch and kills Piggy. The twins are captured, and Ralph is left friendless.
The twins inform Ralph that the group plots to kill him, so he hides in the bush. Jack tells the boys to burn the forest. Ralph runs to the beach to await his death. He gets there are finds a British naval officer, who has just arrived to investigate why there is a fire. He cries for help from to the officer. When the other kids get there, they stop and cry too, like the kids they were.
Themes in the Lord of Flies
Loss of Innocence
- Roger pushes a huge rock and kills Piggy. He lost his innocence and is depicted as a sociopath in the story.
- When the boys in Lord of the Fliesbecame hunters, they had lost the innocence of a child and introduced themselves into the harsh world. They later regain their childhood identity when they cry before the naval officer.
- Jacks lead the group it trying to kill Ralph.
- They killed Simon.
Civilization vs. Savagery
- Ralph and Jack represented civilization and savagery respectively. Ralph understands the importance of organization and divides roles among the boys. He lets them hunt pigs for food.
- Jack, on the other hand, allowed them to hunt for the fun of it and wanted to kill Ralph to eliminate leadership competition. He also let them kill Simon, ‘a beast.’
- Piggy represents civilization in the society when he confronts the group about his spectacles and prompts them to respect the conch, the symbol of civilization and order.
- Ralph and Jack led the boys and commanded respect from them at in separate instances in Lord of the Flies. Jack’s way is an example of lousy leadership whereas Ralph is the good leadership exemplary.
- Piggy represents the brave and wise advisers of leaders, whereas Roger represents the misleading fanatics.
- The boys convinced themselves that a beast was after them and lived in fear. Eventually, this cost a life.
- Ralph is seen running for his life when the boys set the place on fire wanting to kill him.
From our analysis of Lord of the Flies, it is clear that civilization is the right form of leadership. The irony comes in when people support savage administration blindly, just like the young lads in the story did, yet it is the worst form of rule. It leads to loss of lives, rowdiness, and loss of innocence as describe in this thesis.