Literary Essay Example: Lord of the Flies Essay

Published: 2018-03-21
Literary Essay Example: Lord of the Flies Essay
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  English literature Lord of The Flies
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1575 words
14 min read

Lord of the Flies symbolism essay

William Golding’s Lord of the Flies reveals the alternative of the standard definition of morality that society continuously. The novel redefines morality and makes us question any prior definition of the same that we had. The book’s storyline revolves around a group of boys from British origin who are left stranded on an island. The island is uninhabitable at best and scaring, to say the least. The novel takes us through the various attempts of the boys to rule and govern themselves but ends up failing each time miserably. They are, therefore, forced to act quickly and make decisions that they never thought they would need to make. Too much on desperate times calling for desperate measures. An old saying goes, a drowning man will clutch at a straw; Golding’s novel shows how the human body in adverse natural conditions would do anything to overcome the obstacles and survive. Survival is any person’s highest calling, and they would prioritize it over anything any day, and the novel depicts exactly that (Francis, Robert and Martin J Walker).

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Upon being trapped on the island, the boys go through a series of obstacles and challenges, one after the other. As a result, they are emotional, physically, and mentally challenged throughout the novel. It is at this point that they begin to transition as characters. Overall, the raw need and struggle to survive has a first impact on the behavior and rationalization of the human body because as the boys’ challenges perpetually become involved, their priorities shift positions and their animal-like characteristics are exposed. They key theme that Golding builds this novel on is the raw need and struggle to survive and the impact that this need has on the behavior and rationalization of the human body. Golding employs the stylistic device of imagery and symbolism. For instance, the boys are symbolic of the human population whereas the disastrous island symbolizes the adversity that people face. Imagery is used in the transitioning of the boys into various characters, and this is symbolic of the extents that people would go to ensure survival (Francis, Robert and Martin J Walker).

Lord of the Flies argumentative essay

Golding tries to allude the difficulties that the boys are going through in the desert island to the trials and tribulations that human beings go through. Adversity brings the true colors of people. They say that character is who you are when nobody is watching. People can be all cute and sweet when life is treating them just fine. However, when problems kick in, that is when you will know their actual characters. Different people have different reactions to problems. Some will withdraw from people and keep to themselves; some may choose to take it out on people through complaints and even wars whereas the faint at heart will cry themselves to sleep. These are just but a few of the responses. It is for this reason that people’s character is determined not by what happens to them but by their reaction to the same. One cannot blame it on life, it happens to us all, and some things are beyond our control. However, how you choose to respond to this stuff ultimately tells us so much about you. During trying times, some may turn to God for help or lose faith in God to alleviate them from their suffering. Religion is man’s fortress during distress, and when the suffering is beyond their handling level, some implode and turn into vicious beasts who are willing to do just about anything to survive.

The novel also warns us against having too many expectations. Sometimes it is not the situation that is wrong but rather how we had it fore-played in our minds of how it should or will be. In the novel, the boys initially thought that the desert island would be paradise, but they were met with a rude shock. Things went terribly wrong and their little society crumbled. Friends turned on each other, and they gave meaning to the saying, “every man for himself and God for us all.” Each of the boys felt the need for self-preservation and the next person’s needs were not of concern. The theme of aggression is also evident here (Reiff, Raychel Haugrud). Naturally, bonding of boys is not romanticized and merry as their counterparts; the girls. Boys bonding is punctuated with play fights, name calling, arguments, and the like. In one scenario of the novel, two boys were fighting, and the rest cheered on. From the nature of the fight, it was hard to tell whether it was the usual play fight or they were settling a score using fists. Instead of the other boys trying to stop them from fighting and reconcile, all they did was cheer on. When one boy by the name Piggy tried to cut in and talk some sense into them, he was booed and asked to let the fighting continue. Piggy was not the type to give up easily, and he went on with his speech regardless of the intimidation from his peers. For the love of violence and aggression, one boy hit Piggy with a large stone ending his life (George, Jose and R. L. N. Raju).

Lord of the Flies Character Analysis

Piggy is not the only boy who is killed on the island, Simon too. It seems that Piggy and Simon are sacrificed with a purpose. The dominant theme here is original sin, and it is now clear that the human body must make animal-like decisions and actions when put in this situation. Golding depicts people not so different from animals, and all their virtues, ethics and sense of morality are in place because nature has not required otherwise. It is so sad, shameful even, to know that we are not so far from animals and that when push comes to show, we will behave in a similar manner as beasts. The biggest privilege that the Almighty accords humans is the power to speak and understand one another. This fact alone should be enough to help people solve whatever challenge they are facing amicably. It is what distinguishes us from the beasts. It is better to agree on how to live with some set rules as opposed to hunting and killing because the law will peace will always prevail war (George, Jose and R. L. N. Raju).

Humans have always got to have rules and obey them. The spirit of rebellion is hell-bent and affiliated with so many damages. Even in the present day world, most of the problems we face stem from resistance and self-preservation; terrorism, corruption, and robbery among others. Police, the courts, and the judicial system, in general, are in place to ensure that the law is upheld and that rules are followed to the letter. The reason they exist is that we are people, not savages. It is our duty to protect the law. At no point should we let the world that is understandable and lawful slip away from us. Ignorance is no defense, and from the novel, we can see that Simon and Piggy were sacrificed out of ignorance. The claims and reasoning that Piggy was trying to impart of his friends were very viable in a normal world. However, in the adverse situation where survival was the priority of every boy, his advice did not seem like much (Olsen, Kirsten).

Lord of the Flies Analysis

In the context of religion, the Almighty expects us to stay loyal to Him and abide by His laws regardless of the situation that we are in. A similar story is told of Job from the Bible who was intentionally put through trials and temptations to test his faith. The devil was so confident that in a difficult situation, he would renounce his faith and deny the religion. The Lord allowed the devil to test his faith and Job came out victorious. Comparing Job from the Bible and the boys from the island, it is clear that they are both subjected to some hard times. However, how each reacts to the adverse situation tells us a lot about his character. Whereas Job persevered having in mind that it was all going to pass, these boys decided to take matters into their hands, and this led them to act like savages (Olsen, Kirsten).

In conclusion, regardless of the situation we are in, we should always act rationally. Laws are in place to make our life easier and not worsen it. Therefore, at all times, the law should be followed. If the law had been practiced and the principles of morality held dear by the boys, two live needn’t be lost. Challenges should be faced with an open mind knowing that tough times don’t last but tough people do.

Works Cited

Francis, Robert and Martin J Walker. Lord of the Flies. 1st ed., Deddington, Philip Allan Updates, 2010.

George, Jose and R. L. N. Raju. "Personal Accountability to Evil in William Golding's Lord of the Flies". Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 2015, Mediterranean Center of Social And Educational Research, doi:10.5901/mjss.2015.v6n6s2p174.

Olsen, Kirsten. Understanding Lord of the Flies: A Student's Casebook to Issues, Sources and Historical Documents. 1st ed., London, Greenwood Press, 2000.

Reiff, Raychel Haugrud. William Golding. 1st ed., New York, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, 2010.

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