Golding’s Novels: A Glimpse
LORD OF THE FLIES (1954)
Set during World War ll, the story describes the plight of a group of British schoolboys stranded on a Pacific island after their plane was shot down a route to England. Two of the boys, Ralph and Piggy, discover a conch in the lagoon near the beach and use it to call all the other survivors, setting up a mock democratic government with Ralph as leader. Piggy continues to advise and give logic and reason to Ralph’s rule. A signal fire, kindled with the lens of Piggy’s glasses, is established on the mountain to call passing ships to their rescue while shelters are constructed.
However, the school’s choir leader, Jack, soon becomes obsessed with hunting the pigs of the island and loses sight of Ralph’s democratic vision. Further discord results with an increasing fear of a supposed “beast” on the island, stemming particularly from the younger boys dubbed the “littluns.” Jack eventually abandons any thought of being rescued, content instead with hunting and killing pigs with his choir boys turned into hunters. Jack later speaks out of turn during their assembly meetings and eventually leaves the group to start a “tribe.” Other children gradually defect to his side except for Ralph, Piggy, Simon and the twins Samneric (Sam and Eric). One by one these children are eliminated from the opposition.
Upon discovering the beast the boys had all feared on the mountain is only the rotting corpse of a pilot whose plane had been shot down near the island, Simon runs down from the mountain to share this happy news. However the boys (including Ralph, Piggy, and Samneric) are all, following Jack’s example caught up in a primal ritual celebrating the murder of a pig’ they have just eaten and Simon runs into the midst of this. Mistaken to be the beast, Simon is killed by the boys’ spears.
Ralph, Piggy, and Samneric remain resistant to joining Jack’s tribe, They attempt to cling to the democracy they had set up, still using the conch to call an assembly and struggling to keep a signal fire burning on the beach,
Then Jack and his hunters attack the four; and steal Piggy’s glasses to kindle the fire he needs for pig-roasting fires, Angry and blinded, Piggy decides to go to the place on the island called Castle Rock where the
hunters have set up a base. Reluctantly, Ralph and Samneric agree and upon arriving Roger stops them at the gate. Jack emerges from the forest and begins to fight with Ralph while Piggy stands nearby shrieking in fear, wanting only for his sight be restored by retrieving his glasses. Samneric are seized at Jack’s command by the hunters and Roger, Jack’s command, drops boulder on the head of Piggy, killing him and shattering the conch which he holds in his hands. Ralph alone is left to flee, with no friends left to aid him. Samneric have become hunters as well and betray the secret of his hiding place in the forest to Jack. The island is set ablaze and hunters fan out to kill Ralph with their spears, the sole remaining opposition to their tribe, as even now he tries to cling to his old democratic ideas. Running wildly and suddenly becoming savage himself, Ralph stabs with his spear at the hunters pursuing him. He is chased by all until he at last comes to the beach. The shelters he had built with such labour are in flames and, falling at last upon the sand with the sea before him and nowhere left to run, Ralph looks up to see a naval officer. Rescue comes at last to the boys’ aid, seeing the smoke from the mighty blaze set by Jack’s hunters after Ralph’s signal fire had earlier failed to alert anyone of their presence. When the officer expresses disapproval for the savage state and chaos to which the boys have reverted, Ralph breaks down in tears. Soon, all the hunters begin crying at the sight of grown-ups on the beach. Ralph weeps for “the end of innocence” and “the darkness of man’s heart.” With the help of various symbols, Golding presents the allegory of man’s fallen state. Unlike Ballantyne, who is optimistic in his approach?
Golding is pessimistic and disillusioned. He seems to affirm, as Anthony Burgess points out: “Take off the brakes of enforced control, and boys, like men, will choose chaos rather than order. The good intentions of the few are overborne by the innate evil of the many.” Golding’s novel stresses the essential evil residing in man, which be suppressed temporarily under the control of proper institutions and circumstances, but asserts its supremacy Lord of the Flies is a parable showing the harmful effect of the removal of civilized restrains, which results in a complete regression to a brutal and savage state. As Golding himself has admitted, this novel owes its origin to his experiences of brutalities that he had during World War I I, and those he gained as a teacher of small boys for about 13 years.
THE INHERITORS (1955)
The Inheritors is the second novel by the British author William Golding, best known for Lord of the Flies. It was his personal favorite of all his novels and concerns the extinction of the last remaining tribe of Neanderthals* at the hands of the more sophisticated (and malevolent) newly-evolved Homo sapiens.
This novel is an imaginative reconstruction of the life of a band of Neanderthals. It is written in such a way that the reader might assume the group to be full Homo sapiens* * as they gesture simply to one Other, not seeming to speak, and bury their dead with heartfelt, solemn rituals, A male and female pair witnesses the disappearance or outright death of members of their group, culminating in the kidnapping of their young daughter. The male and female Neanderthal infiltrate and observe the humans’ encampment on a river island, and there, witness what is to them an incomprehensible series of quasi-religious rituals which center around a matriarch-priestess figure. (The Neanderthal, unable to swim, are terribly afraid of crossing the water to reach their daughter.) The priestess desires to keep the young Neanderthal as a sort of pet, whose red hair and infantile features catch her fancy. In one of the book’s many humorous scenes, (the
* A group of late archaic humans from Europe, the Neai East, and central Asia that immediately preceded the first modern humans in those regions, the first recognized Neanderthal remains were found in the Neander Valley near
Düsseldorf, Germany, in 1856, since then the remains of several hundred Neanderthals have been ‘discovered. Since the Neanderthals were the first humans to bury their dead, a number of largely complete skeletons are preserved, providing detailed knowledge of their biology. In the early twentieth century, when Neanderthals were the only archaic humans known, they were reconstructed as semi-human, dull-witted, and brutish. Hence their popular image was that of the archetypical cavemen. They are now recognized as relatively recent members Of the human lineage; they lived between about 125,000 and 36,000 years ago (and as late as 30,000 years ago in certain isolated regions), as compared with earlier members of the genus Homo who extend back more than 2 million years. The Neanderthals share many features with modern humans both anatomically and behaviorally, yet, a number of important contrasts between them and more recent humans are recognized.
** Species to which all modern human beings belong. The oldest known fossil remains date to c. 120,000 years ago—or much earlier (c. 400,000 years ago) if evidence of certain archaic varieties is included. Homo sapiens is distinguished from earlier hominin species by characteristics and habits such as bipedal stance and gait, brain capacity averaging about 1,350 cc, high forehead, small teeth and jaw, defined chin, construction and use of tools, and ability to use symbols. Most scholars believe that modern humans developed in Africa c. 150,000 years ago and spread to the Middle East c. 100,000 years ago and to other parts of Eurasia c. 40,000-50,000 years ago (this is known as the “single-origin” model). Others contend that modern humans developed from various regional populations of archaic H. sapiens or even other species of Homo in Eurasia beginning c: 250,000 years ago (the “multiregional” model). In the first model the genetic differences that exist between the peoples of the world would not be very old; in the second model they would be significantly older.
Neanderthals discover a pot of honey fermented by the humans and become drunk.
All save the last chapter of the novel are written in a stark, simple style, reflecting the humble perspective of the Neanderthal group. Their observations of early human behavior serve as a filter for Golding’s exercise in paleoanthropology, in which modern readers will recognize prefigurations of later human spirituality and culture. In the final chapter, after the conclusive showdown between humans and Neanderthals over the young kidnapped girl, the humans ultimately flee the area in their boats.
This last chapter is the only one written from the humans’ vantage, and here Golding’s style assumes full depth in the humans’ ability to describe and comprehend what has happened. Interestingly, the humans see the furry, reddish creatures by whom they are beset as a type of forest demon whom they regard with fearful superstition. The corruption of the innocent primitive men through contact with intelligent but vicious and corrupt civilized Homo sapiens forms the theme of the novel. Golding’s imaginative powers are noticed in his depiction of the Neanderthal man through his won speech and behavior. According to
Walter Allen, “The Inheritors is a remarkable imaginative feat. The task Golding has set himself is all but impossible one of showing us Neanderthal man in his own terms, in a language that is an approximation to his own thoughts, which are almost entirely non-verbal. Golding succeeds, well enough at least to give us a notion of Neanderthal man that is at once plausible and moving. And through his innocent anthropoids he shows us man as cruel, as evil, as he is inventive. It is as though evil is equated with knowledge, indeed with being human.” In an effective manner, Golding shows the dominance of evil over good. As Anthony Burgess remarks,
“The Inheritors (perhaps his best novel) is a devastating subversion of HG well’s view of Homo sapiens as a maker, hero, liberal conqueror. The world of Neanderthal man approaches a golden dream of innocence; homo sapiens come along to disrupt it—-evil is built in him, part Of his nature; he is led instinctively to worship of Beelzebub,” As in his Lord of the Flies, in The Inheritors too Golding presents his view on the essential darkness and evil in human nature, which is a pessimistic view of course, and does not conform to the view held by Christianity,
PINCHER MARTIN (1956)
Pincher Martin (1956) is the third novel by William Golding (author of Lord of the Flies). When it was originally published in the United States, its title was changed to the two Deaths of Christopher Martin, but later it was returned to its British name. It develops the themes introduced in Lord of the Flies concerning the cruelty at the basic nature of mankind underneath the thin veneer of civilization,
The novel is set during World War ll, on a remote islet (possibly Rockall) in the North Atlantic and charts Martin’s attempt to stay alive there, after he is shipwrecked. He finds small pools of water, eats sea plants, and, as the weather worsens, thinks about his past deeds and misdeeds. This part of the book ends with what appears to be a large sea storm, with ‘black lightning’, in which Martin becomes convinced that supernatural forces are trying to end his life, and rails against them.
However the novel features a twist ending which makes it clear that Martin has, in the real world, been dead since very early in the book, and this changes the work into one of religious allegory of purgatory and damnation.
John Peter observes: “The new novel, which appeared as Pincher Martin in 1956, is again a species of fable, though its thesis is much more difficult to infer than those of its predecessors. This obscurity is partly stylistic; the outcome of a prose which has grown progressively cryptic through the three books, but it is also a result of the book’s construction, the unprecedented obliquity with which the author’s drift appears. Christopher Martin, precariously afloat in the sea after being torpedoed, is able to clamber exhaustedly on to Rockhall, the bare tooth of a rock in the North Atlantic, and there he keeps himself alive for six days while memory, and in time delirium, gradually gnaw away his consciousness. Unlike Crusoe, he is never rescued. Unlike Crusoe also, he is also by human standards despicable. As his memories unfold we learn that he is a vain poseur, obsessively’ selfish, a thief, a cheat in examinations and in personal relationships, an adulterer, a rapist, and (in intention at least) a murder too. The bleakness of his solitude offers no security against introspection and, as his selfishness comes to comprehend the self it serves, his personality disintegrates. Inexorably, as he has eaten others, the rocky teeth in the sea eat him. He goes mad and dies during an apocalyptic storm, his vision tormented by the hallucinations engendered by fever and self-disgust … The essential point is that this is a story about a dead man. It is about a consciousness so self-centered and so terrified of the infinite that it creates for itself, even in death, a fantasy existence which, however arduous and painful, nevertheless still permits it the luxury of personal identity.”
FREE FALL (1959)
Golding’s fourth novel Free Fall is ‘his first attempt in the field of social fiction. With its scene of Inquisition and the atmosphere of torture in Nazi concentration camp, it may be said to belong to the Gothic tradition in novel. As its title indicates, it narrates the story of the fall of the central character Sammy Mount joy, from a state of innocence and grace, which is free or deliberate. In the words of Ernest A. Baker, “It is a leisurely, reflective book narrated in the first person by a presumably ordinary individual, chronicling his career in a rambling sequence of free- associational flash-backs,” The theme of the conflict between Original Sin and human choice has been treated in the novel.
Free Fall is not as prominently a parable as other novels of Golding happen to be. It narrates the story of the rise of protagonist, Mount joy, from the slums, and his fall into pit of evil through his guilt of sensuality. The time the action of the novel is twenty years before the World War Il. Its central character, Sammy Mount joy, born in a Kentish slum, and adopted by a clergyman, grows into an eccentric artist. He covets and seduces a girl, Beatrice, who is his model, but marries another girl. He joins the Communist Party, but later quits it, and joins the army. Beatrice in whom he. Had seen elements of divinity, like those of Dante’s Beatrice, goes mad and is sent to a lunatic asylum, He has to decide in his heart as to how far he is responsible for her insanity. During his imprisonment by the Nazis, and awaiting torture at their hands, he recollects the past events of his life, narrates his story in a series of flash backs from the viewpoint of a man being interrogated by the Nazis. He tries to ascertain at what point and moment he committed his first sin, and had a fall from grace.
Free Fall, like Pincher Martin deals with Golding’s favorite theme of guilt and retribution in the manner of a confession by the central figure. He tells us about his fall and his fruitless quest, through memory, for his lost innocence. He muses of his ‘loveless evasive life, which has been full of wrong choices and failures to understand’ (Anthony Burgess). Christened as Christopher, he moves away from a Christ-like state and heads towards an amoral world of rationality that is devoid of the touch of religiosity. His fall is a matter of deliberate choice made by a rational and amoral human being, and the novel seems to trace the various stages of his
Free Fall is regarded as the most elusive and difficult of Golding’s novels. It is difficult of Golding’s novels. It is difficult for Golding is here questioning the nature of understanding itself. There is a central obscurity in this novel but this obscurity has been called noble, heroic, and beautiful.
Although this novel differs in many respects from Pincher Martin, it also resembles that novel in certain other respects. We recognize in Free Fall some of the characters whom we met in Pincher Martin. Mary of Pincher Martin becomes Beatrice in Free Fall; Sammy is a sublimed Pincher. The love-affair which Pincher Martin was only one set of stills among many is in Free Fall, the central tragedy that challenges our understanding. The flashback world in this novel has increased in scope and complexity as to
THE SPIRE (1964)
Golding’s next novel, The Spire, is a serious one. But it has not been as successful and appealing as the novels that preceded. The Spire lays emphasis on the dominance of evil as well as the unintelligibility of the ultimate forces for man. The novel tells the story of the erection of tall spire at the insistence of the Dean of a medieval cathedral, Jocelin, amid opposition from several quarters. The Dean has had a vision of four- hundred-foot-tall steeple erected to the divine glory. Disregarding all opposition, he proceeds with the task of erecting the steeple on unsafe shallow foundations. As the spire rises higher and higher, there is an increase in people’s dread that it may surely topple down.
The project of erecting the spire is a holy one, and seems to involve an act of worship. But, gradually it leads to the committing of evil acts that out of all proportion to its holiness. The spire looks like a phallic symbol and inspires the performance of sexual acts and pagan rites in the church. The Dean himself becomes a victim to the sin of lust. The money required for the erection of the spire is provided by corrupt means. The spire is completed, but it seems to stand on the foundations of corruption, sin and evil, and not those of religious faith or holy ideals. The novel thus presents like Golding’s earlier novels, the triumph of evil and sinfulness over good and innocence. It shows how even the most innocently planned projects many be followed, and polluted, by evil. The Dean seems to realize this fact when he confesses: “There is no innocent work.” The destruction of innocence at the hands of evil and guilt forms the central theme of the novel, which has been treated symbolically and mystically. As
M. Zinde observes, “The novel cannot be accused of being top-heavy with symbolism, but each symbol is highly expressive—especially the main symbol: the spire, which is made almost human and has a soul of its own, repeating the personality of the main character in architectural structure. The spire is a miracle of human will and technical skill, but it is built on a foundation of moral imperfection. Having demanded human sacrifices, it becomes terrifying, an embodiment of the struggle between lofty strivings and man’s sensual nature.”
The Spire is a complex study in human willfulness. It is based on the actual history of the construction of a spire at Salisbury Cathedral. It goes back to the fourteenth century and contains a portrayal of Jocelin, a Dean who is obsessed with a desire to erect a spire in defiance of architectural feasibilities, Jocelin’s passion for the spire is at once a vocation served with zeal and dedication, and an expression of Willful personal desire to stamp his phallic image against the sky. This dual motivation behind Jocelin’s Undertaking brings angel and demon into conflict for his soul,
THE PYRAMID (1967)
The Pyramid is a psychological study of life mind of Oliver who achieve worldly success but who fails as a hero. The Pyramid is a departure for Golding. It is a turn to realism, a development similar to H.G.
Wells’ career, when Wells moved from sheer fabulousness towards earnest dissections Of the Condition of England. There is a marked increase in plot as Golding’s first-person narrator; Oliver recounts three thematically overlapping episodes from his life between the ages of 18 and 50 in his home village Of Still Bourne, England. Much of the characterization is very English; but Golding is not one to rely on color and dialogue. There is plenty of comedy in the novel and there are varieties of sexual activities like incest*, flagellation* * and transvestitm. And there is one character,
Evie Babbacombe, whose biography fascinates.
Evie is the daughter of the town crier, and her voluptuous adolescence attracts men of all ages, classes and sexual proclivities. She is also Golding’s first major female character, and he shapes her complexly. She is good and bad, capable of bizarre charity, and equally capable of listed falsehood, such as unfairly accusing Oliver, the only man who ever treats her decently, of being cause of her _hatred of men: “It all began when you raped me.” Wells if full of steamy females like Evie, profound, unforgettable, and in The Pyramid Golding matched the master of British allegory. Golding returns to his genius with Evie in his next novel, Darkness Visible. So far, Golding has been more interested in presenting ideas than in P portraying characters. The Pyramid reveals a shift of his interest from ideas to people. Discarding mythic pretensions, he presents and understanding study of recollected’ village life. He adopts more traditional means of story-telling to create and depict three social and psychological episodes from this life. Without building up a rigid plot- structure and presenting spiritual crisis, he shows the influence of milieu on man, and indulges in satirical treatment of class-distinctions prevailing in English society. The novel also deals with the problem of evil or the ‘darkness of man’s heart. ‘
DARKNESS VISIBLE (1979)
Darkness Visible reflects the influence of World War ll on Golding’s mind more vividly than any of his other novels. The dominance of evil in
* Sexual intercourse of near relations.
** Whipping or flogging of oneself as sexual stimulus.
* The practice of adopting the clothes or the manner or the sexual role of the’ opposite sex,
this world is again the message that Golding wishes to convey to us through this novel, A long period of 12 years elapsed before Golding published his novel, Darkness Visible. As its title indicates, this novel deals with his favorite themes and problems, such as the innate darkness of the heart of man that he had treated in his earlier novels. It treats the subject of entropy concerning the tendency of the universe to move towards increasing disorder. The darkness and evil of this sickly world is presented in a personified form through the vicious character, Pedigree, a teacher who regards man’s inclination towards evil as natural, and seduces boys in public toilets. The novel presents a sharp moral conflict through the opposite character of the villainous Sophie Stanhope who falls a victim to her baser instincts, and the saintly Matty Windrive who makes sacrifices for the salvation of others from evil. The writer seems to be aiming to show the triumph of religious and moral values on the visible darkness of the worlds the novel abounds in symbolism of episodes, and in allusions to biblical characters like Christ, St Matthewt and others. It deals with social and psychological problem with an occational touch of mysticism. The influence of World War ll on Golding’s mind is clearly noticed in the very opening of the novel. It presents an innocent child Matty, walking out of the fiery center of war in the London blitz, as if ‘born from the sheer agony of a burning city’. One half of Matty’s face is light, while the other
halt is burnt dark. The novel shows him going on to enter a strange, universal struggle between the powers of good and the powers of evil, a struggle which is partly spiritual and partly mundane.
Part Il of the novel entitled “Sophy”, examines evil, sometimes envisaged on a cosmic scale in terms of “the voice of the darkness between the stars, between the galaxies, the toneless voice of the great skein unraveling The main character in this part is Sophy, a girl who feels that the whole world seems to be cooperating with the darkness towards which everything is “running-down” Part lll of the novel is entitled “One is One”. Here we are shown “the world of spirit” of the novel’s Part I entering and informing the everyday life of Part IL Matty dies as he was born in life, miraculously rescuing first a child from Sophy and her terrorists, and then returning to save the soul Of the shabbiest character in the novel. This connection of spiritual with secular is central to the novel’s vision: evil and general “running-down” are a matter “of course” in contemporary life. As contemporary life is too debased and dispirited to redeem itself, a revitalizing influence from the spirit-world symbolized by Matty is essential.
RITES OF PASSAGE (1980)
Winner of Booker Prize, Golding’s novel Rites of Passage is a complicated allegory which lends itself to several interpretations, sand readings on several levels. Close Quarters (1987) is a sequel to the novel.
In Rites of Passage, the action takes place on a ship sailing to Australia. Confinement to a ship provides the novel with a separate world, a universe in miniature. The world of the ship is inhabited by “men at sea who live too close to each other and too close thereby to all that is monstrous under the sun and moon.” The narrative is further confined to the point of view of a man called Edmund Talbot, who is maintaining a journal wherein he records all his experiences. Talbot, however, confesses that his maintaining a journal has its limitations. These limitations are dramatically illustrated by the journal’s decline from cheerful orderliness to confused uncertainty and persistent disparity with other versions. Of events record: for example, in Parson Colley’s letter to his sister. Talbot’s journal also reveals a foolish simplicity and a short-sighted conceit both of which make him incompetent to understand or communicate things “monstrous under the sun and moon.” Talbot is innocently unaware, for example, of the true nature of Parson Colley’s decline into disgrace and death. Rites of Passage, is a journey for reader and character into a less optimistic assessment of man’s nature. In the limitations of Talbot’s journal, Golding also illustrates how conventional assumptions interfere with truth. Eventually, when Talbot becomes a little more mature in moral stature, he admits that his letter of condolence to Colley’s sister. “Will be. Lies from beginning to end.”
This final, misleading letter recalls a similar lying version of a character’s death in Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness. Both in its general vision of “the darkness of a man’s heart,” and especially in the sea- story of Rites of Passage, Golding’s novels often resemble those y of Conrad. Golding like Conrad is concerned with the frailty of man’s morality, of man’s understanding, and of man’s control of self and environment. Golding asks what purpose philosophy and religion can serve in the face of the stormy winds and the rising waves. Golding is at his best when like Conrad, he approaches such questions in distant settings, and shows men struggling to survive at moments when their imaginations are isolated from the support of society. Golding is ‘a representative of the realities of our time, with his vision made more sharply challenging by the memories of Nazism and the German concentration camps. Although
Golding has been accused of offering only a depressing view of the primary evil which he thinks to be ineradicable, yet Darkness Visible indicates “hope struggling with a natural pessimism.” This novel depicts the spirit of Good as well as evil surrounding and superintending mankind and its confused affairs
THE PAPER MEN (1984)
The Paper Men is a highly symbolic novel revolving on Barclay, a famous novelist, and Tucker, a professor researching his life. They are the paper men of the title. As the foundations of their lives were paper, their existences were precarious.
As Barclay felt himself pursued by Tucker, his mental suffering manifested itself in pain in his hands and feet, which became so acute that he felt that he was experiencing the stigmata*. He linked this experience with the stigmata of Padre Pio**, but experienced four of the five wounds of his stigmata and never the fifth wound in his side, which he came to believe would kill him. At his wife’s funeral, he revealed his sufferings to Reverend Douglas, who wisely pointed out that there had been three crosses. Barclay was very much relieved that he was no longer faced with the prospect of being holy or the responsibility of potential goodness. He was happy to accept that he bore the pain, though not the mark, of the wounds of one of the thieves, crucified with Christ—for he was a thief: he had robbed Liz of a happy marriage, Emmy of the chance of knowing and loving her father, Emmy of her childhood, Tucker of-his livelihood, his sanity, the contract and therefore the opportunity of writing his biography.
Having accepted this and experienced happiness through the relief that his self-knowledge brought him, the symbolic fifth wound of .the stigmata, although not explicitly explained in the text, provides a neat and not wholly unexpected conclusion.
Tucker’s shotgun brought the fifth wound of the stigmata to Barclay providing the balance for Barclay’s Shot in the opening chapter of the novel. In the interim, the two paper men have destroyed each other. As Barclay is shot, symbolically their world of paper is abruptly destroyed, not merely mid-paragraph, or mid-sentence, but mid-word; the symbolic impact made even greater, because it is a monosyllabic word. “How the devil did Rick L. Tucker manage to get hold of a gun?” Thus, Tucker’s shot destroys the peroration of the novel, symbolizing the destruction of the paper belonging to all paper men.
* Marks resembling the wounds on the crucified body of Christ
** Padre Pio: (born May 25, 1887, Pietreclina, Italy—died Sept. 23, 1968, San Giovanni Rotondo) Italian priest. Born into a devout Catholic family, he consecrated himself to Jesus at 5. At 15 he joined the Capuchins and took the name, Pio; in 1910 he became a priest. That same year he received the stigmata for the first time. They were healed, but he received them again in 1918; this time they remained with him until his death. This and other signs of his holiness (perfume and, reportedly; the ability to be in two places *at once), drew growing numbers of pilgrims to him. He was canonized in 2002, Note: “Padre” means “Father” ‘Father is a term of address for priests in some churches (especially the Roman Catholic Church or the Orthodox Catholic Church).
Golding faced the harshest criticism with the publication of this novel some reviewers called The Paper Men unworthy of Nobel Prize winner. Incidentally, Golding has received the award just months prior to the publication of the novel.
CLOSE QUARTERS (1987)
Close Quarters is a sequel to Rites of Passage and the second in the trilogy. As in many of Golding’s previous novels, the title provides a clue to one of the main strands of symbolism running the novel. Close Quarters investigates the complete, but isolated, world of life on board of a ship, lived at close quarters, and in particular the effect that this has on Edmund Talbot, through whose eyes everything is seen, as he continues his journal for his godfather. The events surrounding the death of Reverend James Colley, in Rites of Passage, had left their mark on Talbot, calming down from the pompous adolescent he had been at the start of the voyage to the Antipodes are reached, Talbot’s life must symbolically be turned upside down. The novel symbolizes man’s struggle for survival against natural elements, symbolized by the weed, the sea and the wind; against enemies of war, symbolized by the anxiety about the Alcyone; against personal accident, symbolized by Talbot’s blow to the head and his struggles to recover; against fortunes of love, symbolized by the haunting presence of Colley. Thus the novel becomes a symbol for man’s survival at close quarters.
FIRE DOWN BELOW (1989)
Fire down below is the third novel of Golding’s Tarpaulin trilogy, following Rites of Passage and Close Quarters. Packed with moments of tension, insight and dry humor, it provides a fitting climactic conclusion.
Fire down below, the final novel of the sea Trilogy brings its hero Edmund Talbot to Australia. It is an unmistakably a Golding novel that like the trilogy it completes, increasingly explores and rejoices in the resources of the comic, not as a refutation but as a kind of final extension Of the Euripi dean irony that has informed all his work. Near the end of the book, Edmund Talbot, the callow, Regency-era narrator, expresses his embarrassment for the novels of and Fielding and such “moderns” as Jane Austen, “who feel that despite all the evidence from the daily life around them, a story to be veridical should have a happy then proceeds to narrate a happy ending to -his own tale that, for its suddenness and completeness, would embarrass not only Jane Austen, but the writer of any Astaire-Roger film.
The year is 1815, and a ship is sailing from England to New South Wales with a cargo of colonists: failures, convicts, social visionaries and talented young men desirous of advancement. This is, of course, a microcosm of society, a living, floating (and sometimes foundering) parable of the human condition.
Along its interminable voyage southward, it is plagued by dissension among the passengers, incompetence among the crew, suicides, violence and intrigues, and natural disasters—-culminating, in Fire Down Below, in a near-collision with an iceberg that is surely one of the most successfully apocalyptic passages in English sea fiction. Further the ship is dominated—by the time of the third novel—by three emblematic characters: the sullen, unapproachable Capt. Anderson (the absence of God familiar to all Golding readers), the pious, earnest and practical 1st Lt. Summers, and his countertype, the brilliant romantic and suspiciously French Lt. Benet. While these three attempt to complete the disaster-prone voyage, their metaphysical antics and those of the other voyagers are observed and recorded, years after the event—by Edmund Fitz Henry Talbot, a young man of noble blood on his mother’s side who hopes the administration of the colony will be a steppingstone to a seat in Parliament, who is a hopeless snob, a hopeless British chauvinist, a hopeless victim of Byronic ideas of romantic love and who also tends to trip over his own feet a lot—really, he seems almost always falling down, usually into someone.
THE DOUBLE TONGUE (1995)
The Double Tongue is Gelding’s last novel. It was published two years after his death. He had finished two drafts of the novel before he died on June 19, 1993. This is Golding at his gentlest. As with The Inheritors, Golding goes into the ancient past for his material, choosing as his protagonist the reluctant Oracle* at Delphi in a time when Greek culture
* An aged prophetess at Delphi; the most sacred. oracle in ancient Greece, looks back on her strange life as the Pythia, the First Lady and voice of the god Apollo. As a young virgin with disturbing psychic powers, Arieka was handed over to the service of the Shrine by her parents. She has now spent sixty years as the medium, the torn mouthpiece, of equivocal sayings from the bronze tripod in the Sanctuary beneath the temple. Over a lifetime at the mercy of god and priest and People, she has watched the decay of Delphi’s fortunes and its influence in the World. Her reflections on the mysteries of the oracle which her own weird gifts have embodied are matched by her feminine insight into the human frailties of the High Priest himself, a true Athenian, whose intriguing against the Romans brings about humiliation and disaster. This extraordinary short novel, left unfinished at the authors sudden death in 1993 is a psychological and historical triumph. A convincing portrait of a woman’s life, Arieka the Pythia is one if his finest creations.
and political power were waning, and Roman influence under Julius Caesar was fast becoming a juggernaut. Her agon* is the nature of her faith in Greek religious tradition, caught as she is between the economics ethics, and metaphysics of religious and priestly praxis* *. Golding has freed himself from the constraints of his earnest and often spellbinding Christianity here: the Oracle is a Greek Matty Windrover/Pincher Martin in some ways, though not as intensely immersed in the spiritual. But Golding also Christianizes his subject in subtle and, for Christian readers at any rate, engaging ways. Paul’s statue “to the unknown god” figures here, as does the Apollo/Christ connection so often discussed in myth criticism and anthropology. That Christ may not be easily recognizable, however. He has more akin with Donne’s “three-personed God”t—at least as Donne would want Him—than he does with the persona of the New Testament. The novel is too short. It lacks a substantial middle, in Aristotelian terms, so that the rising action feels a bit malformed and hurried. Had Golding lived, he would have shaped and expanded it considerably. But overall, the premise is interesting, and the text works aesthetically. Golding had lost none of his ability to “see through to the heart of things” and represent those experiences in language in intense and ultimately rewarding ways.
* Dramatic conflict.
** Praxis is the key in meditation and spirituality, where emphasis is placed on gaining first-hand experience of concepts and certain areas, such as union with the Divine, can only be explored through praxis due to the inability of the finite mind (and its tool, language) to comprehend or express the infinite.
Refers to Donne’s concept of considering the holy Trinity-God the Father.
Chapter-wise Summaries and Comments
Chapter 1: The Sound of the Shell
Ralph and Piggy meet up with each other in a dense jungle and make their way to the beach. From their conversation we make out that a group of children were being sent by air when their plane was attacked and crashed into a jungle, walking along the beach they discover a conch shell. Piggy tells Ralph that they could blow the conch shell like a trumpet and summon all the children to the beach for a meeting. A large number of boys ranging from five to twelve years of age gather together on the beach. Piggy learns everyone’s names. A choir, dressed in black cloaks and caps, and led by Jack Merridew comes to the meeting.
The boys discuss their situation and decide that since no adults are present it is necessary to choose a leader, Ralph is chosen, primarily because he had taken the initiative to call the
Meeting. Jack is disappointed to have been left out big Ralph assuages his feelings by making him and choir the soldiers and hunters for the group. Jack is not quite reconciled and vents his frustration by teasing Piggy. After telling the younger boys to stay on the beach, kalph
Sets off with Jack and Simon to explore the island and to find out whether there were people living on it. They climb a mountain, telling each other stories to come to know each Other better. They come across a wild pig caught in the bushes and Jack tries to kill it with a knife but does not succeed in doing so. He covers up his failure by saying that the reason
Why he failed was because he did not know where to stab the
Pig but next time he would not fail.
The first chapter which runs into 30 pages should be read carefully because it raises all the questions that Golding wants to discuss in the novel. Some of these questions are:
l. The boys find themselves on an island with no grown. Ups to control them. They are free to do what they like but the question is: Is absolute permissiveness a good thing? Initially, the boys enjoy themselves but soon realized that a leader has to be chosen to bring some order and discipline in their lives. What this means is that man must curb his freedom if he has to survive; otherwise he
Would turn into a beast.
2. It is necessary to have some kind of institutional authority and the conch shell is that symbol because it summoned all the boys to a meeting on the beach. Hereafter the person who possesses the shell becomes the arbiter of authority.
3. As the novel deals with the natural maliciousness of marl’ we find traces of it in the reactions of Jack Merridew: when he is not chosen leader and accepts the leadership of the choirboys as hunters and soldiers with reluctance; if he had his own way, he would have fought for the leadership there and then. Second, his sense of frustration and hence his hunger for power is revealed when he fails
To kill the pig. He does not accept the situation gracefully but boasts that next time round, he will be able to kill
4. One of the fundamental questions that Golding asks is what keeps human society together. Is it a common need? Or a common fear against which people have to unite if they have to survive? Or a common desire which can be expressed in many different ways like love for the good things of life, a lust for power, and so on? But can the baser instincts of man be kept in check?
Chapter 2: Fire on the Mountain
When Ralph, Jack and Simon return, a meeting is called. Ralph tells the boys that the island is uninhabited and all that was required of them was to remain calm and disciplined until they were rescued. The island had enough to keep them fed and healthy to which Jack said that he and his army would keep them supplied with meat, but, unlike the earlier meeting there is an underlying tension as Jack tries to dominate the proceedings. Here is an extract of the meeting,
Ralph cleared his throat
We’re on an island. We’ve been on the mountain-top and seen water all round. We saw no houses, no smoke, no footprints, no boats, and no people. We’re on. An uninhabited island with no people on it.”
Jack broke in.
“AII the same you need an army–for hunting. Hunting i
“Yes. There are pigs on the island.”
All three of them tried to convey the sense of the pink
Live things struggling in the creepers.
“It broke away—
“Before I could kill it—but—next time!”
Jack slammed his knife into a trunk and looked round challengingly.
The meeting settled down again.
“So you see,” said Ralph, “we need hunters to get us meat. And another thing.”
He lifted the shell on his knees and looked round the sun-splashed faces.
“There aren’t any grown-ups. We shall have to look after
Ourselves.” The meeting hummed and was silent.
“And another thing. We can’t have everybody talking at once. We’ll have to have ‘Hands up’ like at school.” A semblance of order had to be maintained and some basic rules had to be established for the good of all. To begin with, there was just one rule: anyone holding the conch shell would be permitted to speak at meetings. S’ and he won’t be interrupted. Except by me,” Ralph said. To which Jack added,
“We’ll have rules! Lots of rules! Then when anyone breaks ’em,” he said ominously, “there would be hell to pay,” Piggy was listening carefully to all that was happening around him and ‘lectured the boys to be more serious and attentive to the problems they were facing and how important it was to be rescued. “The plane was shot down in flames nobody knows where we are. We may be here for a long time,” he told the boys.
‘The silence was so complete that they could hear the fetch and miss of Piggy’s breathing. The sun stained in and lay golden over half the platform. …Ralph pushed back the tangle of fair hair that hung on his forehead.
“So we may be here for a long time,”
‘Nobody said anything. He grinned suddenly,’
“But this is a good island. We—Jack, Simon and me—we climbed the mountain. It’s wizard. There’s food and drink, and”
Piggy, partly recovered, pointed to the conch in Ralph’s hands, and Jack and Simon fell silent. Ralph fell silent.
“While we are waiting we can have a good time on the island.”
The meeting continues with great deal of banter but nobody pays any attention to Piggy’s advice. One of the youngest boys
“He was a shrimp of a boy, almost six years old, and one side of his face was blotted out by a mulberry-colored birthmark “– asks for the conch and talks about a beast, a snake-thing, he saw the night before. The older boys assure the boy that it must have been just a nightmare but the seeds of doubt and fear had been sown.
“Something he (Ralph) had not known was there rose in him and compelled him to make. The point, loudly and again.
‘But I tell there isn’t a beast!’
The assembly was’ silent.
Ralph lifted the conch again and his good humor came. Back as he thought of what he had to say next.
“Now we come to the most important thing. Live been thinking. I was thinking while we were climbing the mountain…And on the beach just now. This is what I thought.
We want to have fun. And we want to be rescued.”
The passionate noise of agreement from the assembly hit him like a wave and he lost his thread. He thought again,
“We want to be rescued; and of course we shall be rescued….My father’s in the Navy, – He said there aren’t any unknown islands left. He said the Queen has a big room full
Of maps and all the islands of the world are drawn there. So the Queen’s got a picture of this island.”
Again came the sounds of cheerfulness and better heart
Ralph now discusses the need for building and maintaining a fire on the mountain to attract the attention of ships passing by. The boys are so enthusiastic that they rush off to the mountain top to build a fire leaving the meeting in total disorder. Ralph and Piggy are left behind and Piggy reflects sadly on the immaturity of the boys. Ralph goes after boys followed slowly by Piggy.
On the mountain top, the boys gather a pile of fire wood but nobody knows how to light a fire. The lens of Piggy’s glasses are used to kindle a flame which soon becomes a roaring fire. But the fire does not fast long which annoys Piggy who is compelled to lecture the boys on their irresponsible behavior. Meanwhile, sparks from the fire set alight some of the dead trees in the forest. Piggy continues to lecture the boys and adds that one of the younger boys has not been seen since the .fire began.
“That little gasped Piggy— him with the mark on his face, I don’t see him, Where is he now?”
The crowd was as silent as death.
“Him that talked about the snakes. He was down there—
A tree exploded in the fire like a bomb. Tall swathes of creepers rose for a moment into view, agonized, and went down again. The little boys screamed at them.
“Snakes! Snakes! Look at the snakes!”
“That little ‘un that had a mark on his—face—where is-—he now? I tell you I don’t see him.”
The boys looked at each other fearfully, unbelieving.
“—where is he now?”
Ralph muttered the reply as if in shame.
“Perhaps he went back to the, the—
Beneath them, on the unfriendly side of the mountain, the drum-roll continued.
The main thrust in this chapter is the attempt to hold a civilized meeting and the decision to start a fire that would attract any passing ships. But the effort to hold a democratic assembly fails to take off because the boys lacked the discipline required to do so. Even a simple thing to start a fire becomes stuck: the boys did not have a matchbox and had to resort to the ancient ways of focusing the rays of the sun through a lens of an eye glass. And when the fire started, the boys did not know when to stop and kept on piling wood which sets the jungle ablaze. What Golding is saying is that freedom means curtailing other possibilities of freedom that is, keeping your base instincts under control. The boys lacked this fundamental requirement and the savagery that was latent within them began to assert itself.
In a sense this chapter the sense of adventure with which the novel had started off with begins to fade when confronted with the harsh realities of life. Discipline is breaking down and the seeds of a power struggle between Ralph and Jack are sown. The boys are a formless mass who can be swayed one way or the other at the slightest provocation. This meant the seeds of fascism were present in all of us from early childhood and it only needed a demagogue and the proper circumstances to assert itself.
Chapter 3: Huts on the Beach
Jack stalks a pig through the jungle but the animal manages b escape. Golding describes the hunt in great detail over two
Pages and these are some of the key sentences that build up the tension and the frustration at the end,
“Jack was bent double. He was down like a sprinter. His only a few inches from the humid earth. The tree trunks
And the creepers that festooned them lost themselves in a green dusk thirty feet above them; and all about was the undergrowth. There was only the faintest indication of a trail here; a cracked twig and what might be the impression of one side of a hoof. He lowered his chin and stared at the traces as though he would force them to speak to him. Then dog-like uncomfortably on all fours yet unheeding his discomfort, he stole forward five yards and stopped. Here was a loop of creeper with a tendril pendant from a node. The tendril was polished on the underside; pigs, passing through the loop, brushed it with their bristly hide …
Jack lifted his head and stared at the inscrutable masses of creeper that lay across the trail. Then he raised his spear and sneaked forward. Beyond the creeper, the trail joined a pig-run that was wide enough and trodden enough to be a path. The ground was hardened by an accustomed tread and as Jack rose to his full height he heard something moving on it. He swung back his right arm and hurled the spear with all his strength. From the pig-run came the hard patter of hoofs, a castanet sound, seductive, maddening–the promise of meat. He rushed out of the undergrowth and snatched up his spear. The pattering of the pig’s trotters died away in the distance.
Jack stood there, streaming with sweat, streaked with brown earth, stained by all the vicissitudes of a day’s hunting. Swearing, he turned off the trail and pushed his way through until the forest opened a little and instead of bald trunks supporting a dark roof there was light grey trunks and crowns of feathery palm. Beyond these was the glitter of the sea and he could hear voices. Ralph was standing by a contraption of palm trunks and leaves, a rude shelter that faced the lagoon and seemed very near to falling down. He did not notice when Jack spoke.”
Ralph complains to Jack that most of the boys were in disciplined and did not take any interest in important
Projects. They enjoy the discussions for a while but then their minds wander off in different directions. He hints that Jack and his hunters would be more useful in building huts than in roaming about in the jungle. But Jack insists that hunting is necessary even if they did not have any success so far. Each of the boys tries to explain their feelings to each other but they are unable to communicate with themselves. Frustration builds up and along with it a strong feeling of dislike for each other.
Meanwhile, Simon who had always been a bit of a recluse and did not involve himself in the emerging power struggle between Jack and Ralph wanders off on his own into the jungle. Here he helps the little boys to pick some of the fruit they could not reach on the trees. After going further he comes to the edge of the forest and admires the amazing variety of flora and fauna.
This is a short descriptive chapter and its real importance lies in the sharp delineation of characters. Jack’s aggressiveness and lack of scruples is shown in sharp contrast to Ralph: Jack is the hunter forever after his prey while Ralph is the builder making huts so that they could be a little more comfortable. One of the functions of society is to provide food and shelter for everyone which Ralph realizes but Jack does not. The seeds of a future struggle are being sown which shows that human beings are not easy to govern. And this is especially true in a democratic society where everyone has the right to I express their opinions and go their different ways. For Ralph is just beginning to learn the elementary rules of the democratic system is too slow and frustrating.
For instance, the boys show great enthusiasm to building huts bat lose interest soon afterwards.
Simon’s character is now beginning to emerge. He away from all the bickering’s that had started but this mean that he cannot read the situation. He prefers to keep himself and admire and appreciate nature’s bounties. This helps him later to understand the underlying tensions among boys. You must always bear in mind that Lord of the Flies study of human society, what makes it works and what it break down. Golding has chosen his characters to be boys because this would help us understand that the elements that make it difficult to govern, peacefully and democratically are present in us from childhood. Time and circumstances bring out these out on the surface and destroy the cohesiveness of society.
Chapter 4: Painted Faces and Long Hair
The boys get accustomed to the rhythm of life in a tropical island. Mornings are fresh and clean but as the day wears on and the sun rises to its zenith it gets muggy which forces then to take an afternoon nap. The hot afternoon sun also creates illusions which Piggy recognizes as mirages. Late afternoons are cooler but darkness falls suddenly upon the island which frightens some of the-boys.
The smallest boys known as the littluns form a separate group of their own. They spend most of the day eating fruit from the jungles, irrespective whether they are ripe or not TB causes chronic diarrhea among them.
Here is a brief description of the littluns at play. There was a pool at the end of the river, a tiny mere dammed back by sand and full of white water-lilies needle-like reeds. Here Sam and Eric were waiting, and Jack concealed from the sun, knelt by the pool and two large leaves he carried. One of them contained white clay and the other red. By them lay a stick of charcoal brought
From the fire.
Jack explained to Roger as he worked,
They don’t smell me. They see me, I think, something under the trees.”
He smeared on the clay.
“If only I had some green.”
He turned-a half-concealed face up to Roger and answered the incomprehension of his gaze.
For hunting. Like in the war. You know—dazzle paint. Like things trying to look something else–—”
He twisted in the urgency of telling.
“—like moths on a tree trunk.”
Roger understood and nodded gravely. The twins moved towards Jack and began to protest timidly about something. Jack waved them away. “Shut up.”
He rubbed the charcoal stick between the patches of red and white on his face. “No. You two come with-me.”
He peered at his reflection and disliked it. He bent downs ok a double handful of lukewarm water and rubbed the mess from his face. Freckles and sandy eyebrows appeared.
Roger smiled, unwillingly. “You don’t half look a mess.”
Jack planned his new face. He made one cheek and one socket white, then rubbed red over the other half of his and slashed a black bar of charcoal across from right ear left jaw. He hooked in the mere for his reflection, but his lathing troubled the mirror.
‘ Samneric, Get me a coco-nut. An empty one.”
He knelt, holding the shell 8 water. A rounded patch of
In light fell on his face and a brightness appeared in the depths of the water. He looked in astonishment, no longer at myself but at an awesome stranger. He split the water and leapt
to his feet, laughing excitedly. Beside the mere, his body held up a mask that drew their eyes and appalled them began to dance and his laughter became a bloodthirsty snarling. He capered towards Bill and the mask was a thing on its own, behind which Jack hid, liberated from shame and consciousness. The face of red and white and black swung through the air and jigged towards Bill. Bill started laughing; then suddenly he fell silent and blundered through the bushes,
Jack rushed towards the twins.
“The rest are making a line. Come on,”
“Come on! I’ll creep and stab—I’
The mask compelled them.
This passage apart from telling us about the war games the littluns had started to play reveals that underneath the surface of their lives, violence was ever-ready to burst open,
Later on Ralph and Piggy sit on the beach while the other boys are swimming. Suddenly they see a ship on the horizon but discover to their horror that the fire on the mountain had gone out. They and the other boys rush to rekindle the fire but it is too late. They realize that Jack and his group who were responsible to keep the fires going had abandoned their job and wandered off into the forest.
Jack in the meanwhile returns with the boys, singing war-like songs and carrying the carcass of a pig. Ralph informs Jack about the ship and accuses him of gross irresponsibility. But
Jack and his group are so excited about their kill that they were not prepared to listen to anything Ralph had to say. Piggy also criticizes the hunters but Jack gets so angry that he slaps him across the face breaking the lens of his glasses. Ralph’s dislike for Jack grows stronger with this incident that showed him up
As a callow little boy who was not prepared to listen to others. Ralph loses his cool and shouts at Jack who apologizes for his behavior–but not for bullying Piggy.
The pig is roasted and a feast is held. Jack carries his grudge with Piggy further by refusing to give him any meat. Jack leads his hunters in .a wild, barbaric dance round the fire where they re-enact the hunt.
“We spread round. I crept on hands and knees. The fell out because they hadn’t barbs on. The pig ran away and made an awful noise—” It turned back and ran into the circle, bleeding—
All the boys were talking at once, relieved and excited. “We closed in—
The first blow had paralyzed its hindquarters, so then the circle could close in and beat and beat— “l cut the pig’s throat—” The twins, still sharing their identical grin, jumped up and tan round each other. The rest joined in, making pig-dying noises and shouting.
“Give one for his nob!”
“Give him a four-penny on!”
Then Maurice pretended to be the pig and ran squealing into the center, and the hunters, circling still, preened to beat him. As they danced, they sang. “Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Bash her in.”
Ralph watched them, envious and resentful. Not till they lagged and the chant died away, did he speak.
“I’m calling an assembly.”
One by one, they halted, and stood watching him. ‘With the conch. I’m calling a meeting even if we have to on in the dark down on the platform. When I blow it. He turned away and walked off, down the mountain.
This chapter describes the growing rift between Ralph and Jack. But, more importantly, it shows that even the littluns are not innocent because they have violence in their genes.
Golding’s main story is the regression in human values once the taboos of civilization were removed. Evil was always present within us and it is only a set of circumstances that bring them out on the surface. In other words, man was part animal and was governed by his emotions and sub-conscious drives rather than reason. And these ‘drives’ were barbaric and always assert themselves once ‘the restraints of organized were removed, ‘Painted Faces and Long Hair’ is really a metaphor for the naked savage within us.
Chapter 5: Beast from Water
The assembly is held, as usual, on the beach. Ralph lectures the boys on their immaturity not to support any of the essential requirements like building huts, collecting drinking water every day, and keeping up the fire which was required to draw attention of any passing ships. He also lists such mundane things like the rules for sanitation and cleanliness without which they would all fall ill.
But there was another matter which had troubled many of the boys, especially the littluns who are terrified by visions of beasts at night. Ralph tries to allay their fears and he is joined in his efforts by Piggy. But both can see that attempts explain away the fears had not succeeded and some of the boys might well be losing their sanity. In fact, the fear of beats continues to grow even while the boys cannot agree on the importance of having a permanent fire that would be the only way of attracting passing ships and hence their deliverance
He pretended to fall all over. He rubbed his rump and sat down on the twister so that he fell in the grass. He clowned badly; but Percival and the others noticed and sniffed and laughed. Presently they were all laughing so absurdly that the begins joined in. Jack was the first to make himself heard. He had not got the conch and thus spoke against the rules; but nobody minded.
The meeting becomes disorderly and chaotic. The boys like the confusion and scream and laugh. Jack continues to bully Piggy. Ralph tries to bring some disorder but fails primarily because Jack does not abide by any rules, except his own. Most of the boys run off, led by Jack. Piggy advises Ralph to blow the conch and call the boys back to the meeting. But Ralph does not do this because he feared that if the boys did not return his authority would be further eroded. He is depressed at his failure to control and bring some discipline among the boys and considering resigning from his post. But Piggy and Simon reassure him of the need to hold on to his post. Ralph is desolate and watches the scene boys continue their wild dancing and chanting till they are tired and go off into their tents for the night. In the darkness the only sound is that of a littlun crying,
There are two ways you can read this chapter. At one level, you can clearly see the breakdown of discipline because of Jack’s ambition to capture power. He leads the band of boys in a frenzied dance which symbolizes the impending takeover of power while exposing Ralph’s ‘inability to control the crowd, The age of innocence is all over and Ralph has to come to terms with the growing danger from his own companions who refuse to abide by any rules, other than their own. At another Level, we see Ralph trying to understand the psychology of his opponents and how to beat them on their game. For this, leadership has to be combined with intelligence, two inputs that can be supplied by Piggy who can see through the machinations of the opposition.
It is necessary to understand the importance of the assembly where the boys gather together to discuss their problems. The littluns have reported to have seen some wild beast that have made them pass sleepless nights. There are different approaches on how the problem could be solved,
Ralph plans to vote the beast out of existence; Jack thinks that the boys should be able to stand up to the fear; Simon comes closest to the truth when he says that the evil exists within themselves. What this chapter does is to tackle the central question of the novel: the presence of an evil force and the control or fear of that force, what does one do with the perpetual presence of evil and how does one control it or at least rein it in? Again, does the evil reside in adults alone or do children also carry the genes within themselves?
Chapter 6: Beast from Air
Soon after the boys had gone to sleep there is a battle between aircraft high above the island.
This was the world of grown-ups, though at the time there was no child awake to read it. There was a sudden bright 5 explosion and a cockcrow trail across the sky; then darkness again and ‘stars. There was a speck above the island, a figure ‘dropping swiftly beneath a parachute, a figure that hung with (dangling limbs. The changing winds of various altitudes took figure where they would. Then, three miles up, the wind steadied and bore it in a descending curve round the sky and swept it in a great slant across the reef and the lagoon the mountain. The figure fell and crumpled among the
Blue flowers of the mountain-side, but now there was a breeze at this height too and the parachute flopped and banged and pulled. So the figure, with feet that dragged behind it, slid up the mountain. Yard by yard puff by the breeze hauled the figure through the blue flowers, over the boulders and red stones, till it lay huddled among the shattered rocks of the mountain-top—-
When the children who were to keep watch over the fire on the mountain-top awoke they are terrified and run down the mountain towards the beach- They tell their story to the-others, giving an exaggerated account of the beast that attacked them- Even Ralph is a little frightened by the story
After a long and bitter debate, an expedition is organized armed with wooden spears to search the island for beasts. Many of the boys are undecided whether to go or not, but they were more afraid to be left alone on the beach to fend for themselves.
As the boys comb the island they reach a part they had never been before. Everyone is afraid, including Ralph but he determined to set an example and search the caves himself le enters alone because no one is prepared to go along with him but the moment he enters all fear within him vanishes Soon he is joined by Jack and the others and together they search the caves and the rocks above them- For a short time the old spirit of comradeship comes back to all of them. Even
Ralph and Jack get along very as they explore the island and together manage to push a huge rock into the sea. Boys are so happy after such a long time that they forget the purpose of their expedition.
Ralph shakes himself up from the fun and games and angrily tells the boys to continue their search so that they could get rid of the fears that had seized them all, Also, he tells them that they had to return to the mountain top to re
build the fire. At first the boys are reluctant to take orders but
The beast in this chapter is usually interpreted to be the parachutist who drops in from the outside world of adults. But in an interview, The Meaning of it All published in the casebook series by Macmillan, Golding said that the dead man from the sky was a metaphor for the historical past. In other words, Golding said that the past always reasserts itself on the present. Because Lord of the Flies is a complex novel you could interpret the’ ‘beast’ in any way you like and it is not necessary to go by what Golding meant by it. There are some moments of harmony between the boys and also between Ralph and Jack who seem to come together after a long time. But this is a short lived relationship as the inner tensions surface again.
Chapter 7: Shadows and Tall Trees
The boys continue their exploration along the shore towards the mountain top. While one group stops to eat, Ralph stands apart and looks at the vast expanse of the ocean that prevents them to return to civilization.
“Wave after wave, Ralph followed the rise and fall until something of the remoteness of the sea numbed his brain. They gradually the almost infinite size of the water forced itself on his attention. This was the divider, the barrier. On the other side of the island, swathed at midday with mirage, defended by the shield of the quiet lagoon, one might dream of rescue; but here, faced by the brute obtuseness of the ocean, the miles of division, one was clamped down, one was helpless, one was condemned, one was—”
While Ralph stands alone brooding over his fate, Simon joins him and tells him, “You’ll get back to where you came from.” This reassures Ralph as they continue their walk along the beach. Later, Jack suggests that they hunt another pig, everyone agrees, and soon the group comes upon a wild boar. In the mele that follows, the boar escapes brt3hing Jack with a slight wound. Ralph who had participated in a hunt for the first time can now understand why the boys get so excited when they are hunting. Once again, the boys re-enact the hunt with Robert pretending to be the pig. But the boys are overcome by a blood Just which is frightening because Robert could well have been killed in the frenzy that followed. Robert snarled at him, Ralph entered into the play and everybody laughed. Presenting they were all jabbing at Robert who made mock rushes.
“Make a ring!”
The circle moved in and round. Robert squealed in mock terror, then in real pain.
“Ow! Stop it! You’re hurting!”
The butt end of a spear fell on his back and he blundered among them.
They got his arms and legs. Ralph, carried away by a sudden thick excitement, grabbed Eric’s spear and jabbed
Robert with it.
“Kill him! Kill him!”
All at once, Robert was screaming and struggling with the strength of frenzy. Jack had him by the hair and was brandishing his knife. Behind him was Roger, fighting to get close. The chant rose ritually, as at the last moment of a dance or a hunt.
“Kill the pig! Cut his throat! Kill the pig! Bash him in!”
Ralph too was fighting to get near, to get a handful of that brown, vulnerable flesh. The desire to squeeze and hurt was Jack’s arm came down; heaving circle cheered-and made pig-dying noises. Then they lay quiet, panting, listening to Robert’s frightened snivels. He wiped his face with a dirty arm and made an effort to retrieve his status.
“Oh, my bum!”
He rubbed his rump ruefully, Jack rolled over.
“That was a good game.”
Darkness descended quickly. Ralph says that they postpone their visit to the mountaintop till the next day because if there is a beast it would not be to-attack him at night, and if there is none, as he suspects, this could only be proved during the day. ‘But Jack taunts him for cowardice which forces Ralph to climb the mountain at night. Meanwhile some had to go and tell the littluns that the boys would not return till late but everyone is afraid to cross the island alone at night. Simon volunteers to do and immediately sets out through the jungle.
When they reach the base of the mountain the boys are hesitant to go up but Jack renews his taunts which compels Ralph and Roger to follow. Jack however goes to the top alone and discovers that there was a strange, bulging figure like a giant ape lurking in the shadows.
“Can you see something?”
In front of them, only three or four yards away, there was a rock-like lump where a rock should be. Ralph could ‘hear a tiny chattering noise coming from somewhere-—perhaps from His own mouth. H bound himself together with his will, fused his fear and loathing into a hatred, and stood up. He took two leaden steps forward.
Behind them the silver of moon had drawn clear of the horizon. Before them, something like a great ape was sitting asleep with its head between his knees. Then the wind roared in the forest, there was confusion in the darkness and the creature lifted its head, holding towards them the ruin of a face. Ralph found himself taking great strides among the ashes, heard other creatures crying out and leaping and dared the impossible on the dark slope; presently the mountain was deserted, save for the three abandoned sticks and the thing that bowed.
Basically, the chapter brings out the latent power conflict between Ralph and Jack and how the romance of adventure fades in the face of the harsh realities of life. Ralph, seeing the vastness of the ocean that forms the barrier to their going back, realizes that life was much more than fun and games. But, more importantly, the chapter brings out that despite the ‘goodness’ of Ralph he too has the seeds of violence within, as also the urge to kill. The dance that follows the -boar’s escape and the chants of ‘Kill, kill, kill’ in which Ralph also participates bring out clearly that the beast is always present within us.
The hostilities between Ralph and Jack surface again over the childlike question of who is the braver of the two. Jack seems to be cleverer because he knows that by taunts and suggestions he could get Ralph to do what he wanted him to do. The power struggle is now on and it is only a question of time before it comes out in the open.
Chapter 8: Gift for the Darkness
As news of the existence of the beast spreads there is Panic among the boys. Even Ralph is frightened but Piggy is deeply confused. Without warning, Jack grabs the conch and calls for meeting. He tells the boys that Ralph was a coward and unfit govern. He should be thrown out and another leader chosen. But none of the boys respond to Jack’s call which infuriates him. Jack angrily tells the assembly that he was Ralph watches in dismay
“1 am not going to play any longer. Not with you.’
Most of the boys were looking down now, at the grass or al their feet. Jack cleared his throat again.
“I’m not going to be part of Ralph’s lot—- Prn going off myself. He can catch his own pigs. Anyone who wants to hunt when I do can come too.”
He blundered out of the triangle towards the drop of white sand.
Jack turned and looked back at Ralph. For a moment he paused and then cried out, high-pitched, enraged. He leapt down from the platform and ran along the beach, paying no heed to the steady fall of his tears; and until he dived into the forest Ralph watched him, all the boys are terribly confused. But Piggy is pleased that Jack has left. Simon suggests that they should go up the mountain again and find the beast but the boys are unwilling do so. Ralph is very upset with all that happened and is unable to lead the meeting or do anything constructive to a sense of balance. He begins to give up hope of ever getting out of the island, But when Piggy suggests that they another fire on the beach, hope springs again.
Ralph made a restless movement.
“No go, Piggy. We’ve got no fire. The things sits up there
— we’ll have to stay here.”
Piggy lifted the conch as though to add power to his next words.
“We’ve got no fire on the mountain, but what’s wrong with a fire down here? A fire could be built on them rocks. On the sand, even. We’d make smoke all the same.”
The boys began to babble. Only Piggy could have the intellectual daring to suggest moving the fire from the mountain.
“So we’ll have a fire down here,” said Ralph. He looked about him. “We can build it here between the bathing-pool and the platform. Of course—”…
The others nodded in perfect comprehension. There would be no need to go near.
“We’ll build the fire now.”
But when the work is finished the boys had all vanished evidently to join Jack. Ralph is concerned about the desertion but Piggy reassures him that they were better off without some of the boys.
Jack now marshals’ his pack. He proclaims himself as the leader and as a celebration go off to hunt a pig. They are successful and mount the head of the pig on a pole as a symbol of their triumph,
Meanwhile Piggy and Ralph sit on the beach to work out their strategies with the shifting balance of power, they try to figure out what had gone wrong and why the boys did not want to organize themselves for their own survival. Piggy thinks Jack was responsible for the whole mischief. But just as they were sorting out their ideas a group of boys painted all over as warriors descend on the beach. They steal the burning sticks of wood and just before they leave, Jack emerges from
The shadows to announce that he was the new leader and anyone wanting to join may do so. Besides, he adds that they Meanwhile Simon has been sitting alone in the jungle staring at the fly-covered head of the pig that stuck on the pole. Suddenly, it seemed that the head—Lord of the Flies
“You are a silly little boy,” said the Lord of the Flies, “just an ignorant, silly little boy.”
Simon moved his swollen tongue but said nothing.
“Don’t you agree?” said the Lord of the Flies, “Aren’t you a silly little boy?”
Simon answered him in the same silent voice.
“Well then,” said the Lord of the Flies, “you’d better run off and play with the boys. They think you’re batty. You don’t want Ralph to think you’re batty, do you? You like Ralph a lot, Don’t you? And Piggy, and Jack?” Simon’s head was tilted slightly up. His eyes could not freak away and the Lord of the Flies hung in space above him.
“What are you doing here, all alone? Aren’t you afraid of Simon shook?
“There isn’t any one to help you. Only me. And l am the Beast.”
Simon’s mouth labored, brought forth audible words. “Pig’s head on a stick.”
“Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill!” said the head. For a moment or two the forest and all other dimly appreciated places echoed with the parody of
“You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you? Close, close, I’m the reason why it’s no go? Why things are what they are?
The laughter shivered again.
“Come now,” said the Lord of the Flies. “Get back to the others and we’ll forget the whole thing.”
Simon’s head wobbled. His eyes were half-closed as though he was imitating the obscene thing on the stick. Ile knew that one of his times were coming on. The Lord of the Flies was expanding like a balloon. “This is ridiculous. You know perfectly well you’ll only meet me down there–so don’t try to escape!”
Simon’s body was arched and stiff. The Lord of the Flies spoke in the voice of a schoolmaster.
“This has gone quite far enough. My poor, misguided child, do you think you know better than I do?”
There was a pause. “I’m warning you, I’m going to get waxy. Do you see? You’re not wanted. Understand? Going to have fun on this island. Understand? We are going to have fun on this island,
So don’t try it on, my poor misguided boy, or else—O’
‘Simon found he was looking into a vast mouth. There was blackness within, a blackness that spread.
—–Or else,” said the Lord of the Flies, Owe shall do you.
See? Jack and Roger and Maurice and Robert and Bill and
Piggy and Ralph, Do you. See?”
Simon was inside the mouth. He fell down and lost consciousness.
This is one of the most important chapters in the novel where Golding brings the basic, issues to a head. The reader is now asked to judge for himself the actions of the boys, whether evil instincts are born within us and under what conditions they express themselves. The group is now split into two groups, the hunters and non-hunters, a pig hunt takes place which culminates in the establishment Lord Flies. We are face to face with the symbol of Evil itself.
The chapter opens with Jack making an open bid for power. He accuses Ralph of being weak and incompetent and walks off, hoping the others would follow although this does not happen immediately, – the stage has been set and which happens soon enough- Ralph is left alone to fend for himself along with Simon and Piggy and some others. But his gang is a pale shadow of the original which would be able to stand the challenges to come from a ruthless hunter like Jack.
It is important that you bear in mind that there is a great deal of symbolism in this chapter. For instance, the pigs head with flies swarming all around it represents the evil that lies “within us. The external form in which evil expresses is nothing to be feared: what is important is to realize that the evil lies dormant and could always awaken when the circumstances arise. From this it follows that the savagery is curbed and allowed to surface. This is the definition of a civilized man—a person who keeps his baser instincts in check.
Chapter 9: A View to a Death
A storm is building up, Simon who had fallen unconscious is revived by rush of fresh air on the mountain. But his encounter with die Lord of the Flies had him emotionally and left him in an exhausted state. But despite his fear and fatigue he climbs up to the top of the mountain where he sees the dead dangling from a parachute that had been entangled in the trees. Here was another shock and he rushes off to inform the boys what he had seen and experienced.
Meanwhile, Piggy and Ralph decide to attend Jack’s partly because they were hungry and partly because
They wanted to keep a watch on events. When they arrive Jack sits in the middle of the camp, presiding over the ceremonies. He welcomes Ralph and Piggy haughtily and invites them to share the dinner. He also takes the opportunity of inviting the boys who had still not joined him to do so which Ralph takes objects by asserting that he was the leader but the boys accept Jack’s offer which leaves Ralph isolated but he is powerless to do anything. “Who is going to join my tribe?”
Ralph made a sudden movement that became a stumble. Some of the boys turned towards him.
“l gave you food,” said Jack, “and my hunters will protect you from the beast. Who will join my tribe?”
“I’m chief,” said Ralph, “because you chose me. And we we’re going to keep the fire going. Now run after food-on “You run yourself,” shouted Jack. “Look at that bone in your hands.”
Ralph went crimson. “I said you were hunters. That was your job.”
Jack ignored him again. “Who’ll join my tribe and have fun?” “I’m chief,” said Ralph tremulously. “And what about the fire? And I’ve got the conch…” “You haven’t got it with you,” said Jack sneering. “You left it behind. See, clever? And the conch doesn’t count at this end
Of the island….’ At once the thunder struck. Instead of the dull boom there was a point of impact in the explosion. Conch counts here too,” said Ralph, “and all over island.” “What are you going to do about it then?” Ralph examined the ranks of the ‘boys. There was no help? In them and he looked away, confused and sweating. Piggy whispered.
“Who’ll join my tribe”)”
“l will. ” “Me”
I’ll blow the conch, “said Ralph breathlessly, “and call an assembly.”
“We shan’t hear it.”
Piggy touched Ralph’s wrist.
“Come away. There’s going to be trouble. And we’ve had our meat,”
As darkness falls, Jack orders the tribe to do the dance
They go around the fire, chanting wildly which brings out the savagery with them.
“Kill the beast. Cut his throat. Spill his blood”
Even Ralph and Piggy dance on the fringes of the group. Suddenly a black shape emerges from the forest. It was Simon with his message but no one was prepared to listen to him in their state of euphoria. In fact they fail to recognize him. The boys catch hold of him, beating and tearing him to death, despite the shrieks of pain and terror.
The storm now breaks out in all its fury. Simon’s body is washed into the sea. The parachutist’s dangling body which had been entangled in the trees is freed by the winds and tarried into the lagoon.
Division between Jack and his group and Ralph with the removers is now officially acknowledged. Ralph is powerless in be face of ruthless power which pushes him into a corner and deposes his impotence. Piggy, the intellectual, who can see through the power game is the only’ person who sticks around Ralph. But it is now a two-member gang which is no challenge to Jack’s hunters. For all practical purposes, both exiled from the group. Jack assumes dictatorial powers which will allow him to express his sadism and ruthlessness as the novel draws to a close. Simon, a saint-like figure who had come to tell the boys what he had seen in the. Jungle is now done away with, his body washed into the sea. The field is now clear for Jack to deal with Ralph and Piggy in any manner he thinks fit.
Chapter 10: The Shell and the Glasses
Piggy and Ralph take stock of their position on the morning I after they discover that everyone had joined Jack except the twins, Sam and Eric, and a few littluns. Both feel totally isolated and unable to decide what to do next. Ralph is dogged by his memories, white Piggy wants to ascribe Piggy’s death to an accident. Ile tells Ralph that they should not feel guilty because they were on the fringes of the dancing and therefore not directly responsible for what happened. But Ralph would not accept this excuse and insists that they were as responsible for the “murder” as the others. In fact, both of them were partners to the crime and there was no excuse for what had happened,
“It was an accident,” said Piggy suddenly, “that’s what it was, an accident.” His voice shrilled again. “Coming in the dark—he had no-business crawling out of the dark. He was batty. He asked for it “he gesticulated widely again.
“It was an accident,”
“You didn’t see what
“Look Ralph. We got to forget this. We can’t do no good thinking about it, see?”
“I’m frightened. Of us, I want to go home. O God I want to go home.”
“It was an accident,” Pie
He touched Ralph’s the human contact.
“And look, Ralph, Piggy glanced leaned close— “don’t let on we in that dance. Not to
“But we were- All of us.”
Piggy shook his head
‘Not us till they never noticed in the dark you said I was only on the outside—e
“So was I, muttered Ralph, “I was on the outside too.” Piggy nodded eagerly.
“That’s right. We Was on the outside. We never done nothing, we never seen nothing”
At Castle Rock where Jack had taken his gang, he rules a tyrant. Roger becomes his second-in-command and does all his dirty work. One of the boys, Wilfred commits some minor error and is brutally punished. Soon all the boys live in perpetual fear of the leaders. Some of them their horror over what happened at the dance but Jack convinces them that it was the beast who was responsible for creating all the confusion and violence. He also adds that the beast was not dead and they should keep a sharp lookout for it. Besides, Ralph and Piggy were also dangerous and would do anything to spoil their fun. Jack then announces plans for another hunt for the next day.
At sunset, the few remaining boys with Ralph and Piggy retire to their huts. They had been trying to keep die fire going on the beach but were becoming listless and depressed. Then without any warning a swarm of boys descend on them. A short violent fight follows in which they all end up beating each other because they are unable to see who’s who in the dark. The raiders leave after a while.
The boys examine the wounds and wonder why Jack and his boys are constantly harassing them. Meanwhile, Piggy is crying in the corner because his glasses had been stolen by the raiders to start a fire of their own.
If this chapter has to be summarized it could be described in one word: brutality. Chapter begins with Jack holding forth in Castle Rock, supported by his second-in-command, Roger and their main job is to instill fear in the boys. To start with, a lesson is taught to Wilfred for something very minor which is really meant as a warning to all the boys to behave or else.
Jack is a tyrant and he rules his ‘kingdom’ as a dictator, Ralph and Piggy are totally marginalized and they both realize their isolation. But Ralph is wracked by guilt over Simon’s death which Piggy tries to assuage but without any result. Ralph knows that both he and Piggy had been carried away by the frenzy of the dance and had lost control of their senses. Any attempt to rationalize which Piggy tries to do was morally wrong.
As against this, Jack is not the least affected by Simon’s death and explains it away to the boys by saying it was the beast that was responsible. At no point does he realize that the beast was within them which was what led to the murder of Simon. The person who had realized this and had come to tell them about the nature of the beast was quickly done away with.
The chapter ends with the attack by Jack’s boys on the few stragglers left with Ralph. They put out the fire which was a symbol of hope for their eventual escape from the island and steal Piggy’s glasses with which to light a fire of their own,
Chapter 11: Castle Rock
Ralph, Piggy and the twins sit beside the ashes of their extinguished fire and take stock of their position. They hold assembly of sorts to decide on their course of action. It was decided that they would go to Jack and get him to see reason,
Not only is there no fire but Piggy is almost blind with his glasses, so, along with the conch which to Ralph was still the symbol of’ authority they go towards Castle Rock. Party is stopped at the gate by armed guards and stopped to go any further. Ralph blows the conch but the response from the guards is a heap of ridicule and taunts. As they ace standing outside the gate, a group of hunters emerge from the forest led by’ Jack. The two leaders confront each other and Jack orders Ralph to go back to his part of the island, Ralph demands that Jack return Piggy’s glasses and accuses him of theft. A short scuffle follows. Meanwhile the hand-to-hand fight continues. There are pathetic cries from Piggy who tries to make himself heard over the din of the fight, Roger seizes this opportunity of pushing a huge boulder towards Piggy which crushes him along with the conch, at the same time. Jack throws a spear at Ralph which grazes past his shoulder tearing his skin. Ralph senses the danger and escapes into the forest. Jack and his boys now turn their attention to the twins and torture them to join the gang.
Ralph is now all alone. All his companions have gone with his last support, Piggy crushed under the boulder. The power struggle is now over, But what these chapters bring out is the ruthlessness behind the struggles where all values were in the melting pot if they came in the way for the seizure of power Most of us see this happening in the adult world of politics but what Golding says is that this drive is latent in all of us even as children
Chapter 12: Cry of the Hunters
Ralph remains hidden in the forest trying to understand the meaning of all the events that had taken place- He also discovers the pig’s head that had been left in the forest as an offering to the beast- Ralph arms himself with the stick on which the pig’s head had been impaled.
In the evening Ralph goes towards Castle Rock where a Feast was on. The twins, Sam and Eric are on guard at the gates. The boys are taken aback by Ralph’s presence but are willing to join him- Nevertheless -they warn him that Jack and the-boys were out looking for him and that he should be
Careful. The twins give him food and water and repeatedly tell him to careful.
At night, Ralph takes shelter under a thicket near Castle rock- In tie he hears voices of the boys and realizes that the twins betrayed him to Jack. The entire forest is Bit on fire to smoke him out. Ralph runs one place to place but the hunters had cut off all routes of escape. He cuts through the encircling. Group and heads towards the seashores simply because the entire forest was now fire. Ralph falls exhausted and when he wakes up he finds naval officer standing next to him. The officer tells him the fire his attention and this brought him to island.
Jack’s boys had also reached the beach. On seeing the naval officer, they shrink back and stare silently, the officer questions Ralph and is shocked to learn that several boys had been killed and all traces of organization and civilization had disappeared. Ralph realizes that he was now free from the terrors of Jack and his gang but when he thinks of all that had happened, he breaks into tears.
This is a long chapter much of which describes Ralph’s last adventures of running from one place to another, trying to escape from Jack’s boys who were out to kill him. But the significance lies in the realization that any form of civilized behavior and organization is only possible when lines of command are laid down and discipline is maintained. In other words, man’s freedom has to be curbed and if it is not, he goes back to state of the savage in the jungle.
The author and his Times-biography
Golding grew up in the years before the Second World War
William Golding was born in 1911 and grew up in the year before World War IL That war changed thinking about man’s essential nature before the war people generally believed that man was essentially good hearted and society often was evil. However, the atrocities of the war made it impossible for many people to believe any _longer in man’s basic innocence. You can see the influence of this shift in thinking in Golding works.
Golding’s favorite authors
Some of Golding’s favorite childhood authors Rice Burroughs (Tarzan of the Apes), Robert Ballantyne (Coral Ed Jules Verne (Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea). Each of books portrays man as a basically good creature who to evils of society.
Golding yearned to be like the characters in the fables and stories he read
Golding yearned to be like the characters in the fables and stories he read. The island setting for Lord of the Flies and the name Ralph, Jack, and Simon have been taken from Coral Island- “They held me rapt, “Golding once said of the books he read. “I dived with the was shot round the moon, and crossed Darkest Africa in a balloon, descended to the center of the earth, drifted in the South Atlantic, dying of thirst—It always sent me indoors for a drink—the fresh waters of the Amazon.
At about the age of twelve Golding decided to be a writer
At about the age of twelve Golding decided to be a He planned twelve-volume work on trade unions but could never complete the enormous undertaking. With his love of reading and his early attempts at writing, Golding of course studied literature in college.
When World War Il began in 1939, Golding joined the Royal Navy
When World War 11 began in 1939, Golding joined Royal He saw action against German warships, he was in antiaircraft operations, and in 1944 he was involved in the D-day naval for the landings on the beaches of Normandy. Continued to read the classics even as he acquired a loving tense combat, and his war experiences changed his about mankind’s essential Because of the he witnessed, Golding came to that there was a very dark and evil side to man, any other fought in Europe. It taught us not fighting, politics or the follies of nationalism, but about the given nature of man.
After the war Golding returned to teaching in a boys’ school
After the war Golding returned to teaching in a boys’ school, which may explain why the characters in Lord of the Flies seem so real. Ralph, Jack, Piggy, Simon, and the other boys are based on the faces and voices of children Golding knew Thus his reading of the classics, his war experience, and his new insight into humanity laid the groundwork for his writing.
Golding’s Lord of the Flies slowly establishes itself and its author
His first three novels were very much like he had read, and he called them the “rubbish” of imitation, they have never been published. His fourth novel was Lord of the Flies, and when it was finally accepted for publication in 1954, it had been turned down by more than twenty publishers.
The Book was not considered a success at first. It was not until the
1960s, when it had captured the imaginations of college and high school students that critics began to acknowledge Golding’s talent. Even now there are differing opinions about the novel. Some believe Golding’s writing is bombastic and didactic, that he does not allow you to have any opinion but his. Other critics see him as the greatest English writer of our time you will find that part of the fun of his book lies in deciding for yourself what you think Golding has continued to write in spite of the controversy over his work. It seem that the criticism, rather than frightening him, only challenges him to continue writing: In the same way; Golding challenges readers to think about what he considers most important: the true nature Of Human begins.
The three novels that Flies brought Golding more success
The three novels that allowed Lord of the Flies—The Inheritors Pincher Martin, and Free Fall—brought him more success while the controversy over his talent, or lack of it, Eventually Golding stopped teaching to write full time in 1983 Golding was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, which is given a writer not for one volume but for the body of his This was the recognition and respect that Many believe he had deserved all along.
Setting of Lord of the Flies
The story takes place on an imaginary island in the ocean
The story takes place on an island in the ocean, an island the author never actually locates in the real world. He does this so that you. Can imagine most of the island in your own way. You might even want to draw a map of the island, locating on it all the features listed below (the capitalized words). You will be exploring and getting to know the island in the same way that the boys have to, that is, little by little. If you include each of the sections, you will be able to follow the story more closely. A map will also let you experience how terribly trapped Ralph must have felt when he was being stalked by Jack.
The nature of the island and its various parts
The author tells us that the island is tropical and shaped like a boat. At the low end are the jungle and the orchards, which rise up to the treeless and rocky mountain ridge. The BEACH near the warm water LAGOON is where Piggy and Ralph first talk and find the conch. This is also where they hold their meetings. The author calls it a “natural platform of fallen trees.” Not far away is the FRUIT ORCHARD where the boys can eat all they want and Ralph complains when the boys are “taken short.”
Inland from the lagoon is the JUNGLE with PIG TRAILS and hanging vines which the “littluns” fear-Here Jack hunts the pigs, and then Ralph arid this is where the beast supposedly lives. The jungle is also Simon’s hiding place when he goes to see the candle bushes. In the same area he sees the pig’s head that Jack mounted on a stake. The island has a MOUNTAIN that Ralph, Simon, and Jack climb, and from which they are able to see the terrain. This is where the boys are supposed to keep a fire going and where the parachutist landed on the rocks,
Finally, there is the CASTLE at the other end of the island, which rises a hundred feet above the sea. This is where the first search for the beast is made. It becomes Jack’s headquarters when he declares himself chief, and it is from the castle that Piggy falls to his death on the rocks below.
Golding gives us a very strong sense of place
Golding gives us a very strong sense of place, and the island shapes the story’s direction. At the outset the boys view it as a paradise; it is lush and abundant with food. As the fear of the beast grows, it becomes a hell in which fire and fear prevail.
The island setting works as a metaphor for the world
The island setting works as a metaphor for the world. The boys are trapped on the island as we are trapped on this planet. What happens there becomes a commentary on our world. The island is also described as a boat, and the boys feel they are men about to embark on an adventure. When the story closes, a boat has landed on the island. The boys’ first adventure is over, but they are about to begin another.
About Lord of the Flies
Lord of the Flies was the first novel published by Golding
Lord of the Flies was the first novel published by Sir William Golding after a number of years as a teacher and training as a scientist. Although Golding had published an anthology of poems nearly two decades before writing Lord of the Flies, this novel was his first extensive narrative work and is informed by his scientific training an academic background. In many ways Lord of the Flies is a hypothetical treatment of particular scientific concerns. It places a group of young English boys on a deserted island where they must develop their own society, in essence constructing a sociological experiment. in which these boys must develop without any societal influences to shape them. In fact the beginning chapters of the novel parallel assumptions about human evolution, as the characters “discover” fire and form levels of political authority. However, what concerns Golding in Lord of the Flies is the nature of evil as demonstrated by the boys on the island. He concludes that the evil actions that the boys commit are inherent in human nature and can only be controlled by societal mores and rationality, as exemplified by the characters Piggy and Ralph.
Lord of the Flies Golding draws upon a great deal of religious symbolism
Although the novel does not adhere to themes particular .to one religious tradition, in Lord of the Flies Golding draws upon a great deal of religious symbolism updated to conform to more contemporary ideas of human psychology. The title ‘character,’ the pigs head that Simon dubs the “Lord of the Flies” is a-translation of the Hebrew word Ba’alzevuv, or its Greek equivalent Beelzebub. For Golding, this devil comes from within the human psyche rather than acting as an external force, as implied by Judeo-Christian teachings. Golding employs this religious reference in mote Freudian terms. The devil that is the “Lord of the Flies” represents the Freudian conception of the Id, the driving amoral force that works solely to ensure its own survival. The “Lord of the Flies” directly confronts the most spiritually motivated character of the novel; Simon, who functions as a prophet-martyr for the other boys.
Lord of the Flies is firmly rooted in the sociopolitical concerns of its era
Lord of the Flies is firmly rooted in the sociopolitical concerns its era. Published during the first decade of the Cold War, the novel contains obvious parallels to the struggle between liberal democracy and totalitarianism. Ralph represents the liberal tradition, while Jack, before Ft succumbs to total anarchism, can be interpreted as representing military dictatorship. In its structure as an adventure the novel further resembles science-fiction genre that reemerged as a popular form of literature during the fifties. Although taking place among ostensibly realistic events, the Flies is an adventure story whose plot, which finds a small group humans isolated on an alien landscape, correlates to this popular genre, Golding’s next novel was a further step toward this genre. The Inheritors heavily influenced by H.G Wells’ Outline of History, imagines life during. The dawn of man.
Golding’s novel remains significant for its depiction of the nature human society and its musings on the nature of evil
Golding’s novel remains significant for its depiction of the nature of human society and its musings on the nature of evil. Influenced by scientific teaching, Freudian psychology, religion and sociopolitical concerns, Lord of the Flies, like much of Golding’s work attempts to account for the evil inherent in human nature.
Structure of the Novel
Structure is the planned framework of the book
Structure is the planned framework of the book It is the in which the story is organized by the author to make an impact reader.
The novel opens abruptly
The novel opens abruptly: We are immediately with the boy’s island, asked to accept their presence there, and swept into a engrossing that we just keep turning pages.
The middle of the story is spun out slowly and artfully through repetitions the steady buildup of tension
The _middle of the story is spun out slowly and artfully through there petitions of mirroring scenes and the steady buildup of tension. In the beginning the boys explored the island and saw it and themselves as glamorous. Later, terrified of the beast, they go looking for it in a scene that recalls the first exploration but reveals their failed dreams and growing disillusionment. This creates tension in the reader.
The boys’ repeated use of the chant does the same thing. When they slaughter the first pig, they shout, “Kill the pig Later this becomes “kill the beast!” One chant recalls the other, and the change of a word intensifies the meaning.
Tension is also created by the steady falling away of civilization
Tension is also created by the steady falling away of civilization, which the reader is made aware of early in the story. It begins innocently with the boys’ inability to keep rules they’ve made for themselves because they would rather play. In each chapter there is something which indicates this loss, and the reader begins to anticipate and worry about what will happen
Once the reader becomes thoroughly absorbed, the Story concludes with the same abruptness with which it began
Once the reader becomes thoroughly absorbed, the story concludes with the same abruptness with which it began, at the end the reader is so caught up by events that he or she has totally suspended disbelief or objectivity and just won’s to know what is going to happen to ralph. The ending’s impact is powerful because there is no time for the reader to question or disagree, the story is over and has made its impression before we realize it,
The danger of automatic acceptance of an idea without due consideration of the facts?
Golding seduces his readers into outthinking—the very failing he criticizes in the boys, Only after the story has been read, felt and thought about can the reader understand the danger of being seduced by the automatic acceptance of an idea without due consideration of the facts.
The Characters of the Novel
William Golding has chosen the names of his characters with special care. You will notice that in most cases the root meaning of a name is related to the personality of the character.
The significance of Ralph’s name
Ralph, originally from the Anglo-Saxon language, means “counsel Ralph holds croup meetings to share his power as leader. Ralph, a blond boy of twelve, is the first character you meet. Golding says he is strong like a boxer and quite handsome. He is likable from the start. He turns cartwheels in the sand when realizes there are no grownups on the island and before enjoying his first swim in the lagoon he drops his clothing about the jungle as if it were his bedroom. Ralph is like Adam in the Garden of Eden, like a child left alone to play his favorite games.
Ralph’s optimism about their being rescued
Ralph’s most distinguishing characteristic is his strong belief that someone will come to rescue the boys. Initially he is so assured of this that he doesn’t worry about their situation. Later he insists the boys keep a fire going as a signal to passing boats. Ralph’s clinging to his belief establishes the conflict in the story between himself and Jack.
Ralph is an embodiment of democracy
Ralph is not as thoughtful or as questioning as Piggy, not as spiritual as Simon or as aggressive as Jack. There is something good-natured about Ralph; he reminds us of someone we know or would want to know. Ralph shows fairness when he tries to share leadership of the boys with Jack and he shows common sense in establishing rules to run the assemblies. Ralph is an embodiment of democracy; he is willing to be a leader but knows that it’s important for each of the boys to be able to speak his mind. When there is a decision to be made, He lets the boys vote on it. Even when the boys do not live up to the responsibilities they’ve greed on, Ralph does not use punishment to get them to do what he ‘believes is right. Instead he tries to talk sensibly to them. You might consider Ralph a strong person who doesn’t want to use force as a method
To things done on the island. On the other hand, Ralph could be called s cupid for not using force to take control of the boys in an extreme situation. On your own you may find yourself siding the attitudes of some of the important characters.
Ralph is a rounded personality
Ralph undergoes a profound change of personality during the island stay, Because of Jack’s aggressiveness, the fear of the beast and his own insistence on a signal fire; Ralph begins to grapple with the problems of being a leader. The playful part of his nature is lost as he begins to recognize that he does not have Piggy’s skill for thinking. Unsuccessfully, tries to ponder the boys’ fears and to act like an adult. He becomes more considerate of others as his self-awareness grows. Ralph can be said to represent the all-around, basically good person. He is not perfect, but he recognizes the need for responsibility, and he takes it on even though he is not particularly skilled at it.
As his name suggests he is the character who has the most conflict with Ralph
Jack comes from the Hebrew and means “one, who supplants,” one who takes over by force. This is how Jack gains and uses power. He is the character who has the most conflict with Ralph. Tall and thin, with red hair and freckles; Jack is marching the boys’ choir down the beach when we first meet him. Unlike Ralph, Jack hungers for leadership positions. The impression that Golding gives us is of someone who is cruel. Jack has marched the boys in the glaring sun and lets them rest only when one of faints. Although the word “military” is never used about Jack, there is something about his manner that suggests military or authoritarian power.
Jack becomes jealous when the boys don’t elect him as leader
In contrast with Ralph’s good-naturedness, Jack is jealous when the boys don’t elect him as leader. When Jack isn’t getting his way, he lashes out, often attacking Piggy, a boy much weaker than he. Jack is like a bully you might know in school; when he doesn’t get what he wants, you know that he’ll get even.
Jack changes as the story advances
Jack changes as the story advances. At the beginning he can’t make himself kill the first piglet they encounter, But Jack learns to trail the pigs, smelling their steamy droppings in order to find them. He allows his animal instinct, which had been restrained in the choir, to surface. He makes use of masks, dance, and ritual, knowing they will loosen the beast in himself and the other boys. He creates the chant, “Kill the pig. Slit her throat. Bash her in which is used first to reenact the killing of the pig in a ritual dance later to kill Simon. Jacks animal instincts flourish in the jungle, and he encourages them in the other boys. As he and his methods become more primitive, they come in direct conflict with Ralph’s. Together Jack and Ralph are like Cain and Abel, the one bent on killing, the other on preserving. When Jack finally manipulates the leadership of the group away from Ralph, he uses fear and threats to control the boys. There is no discussion as there was under Ralph only complains. Anyone who does not see things the way Jack does is a Threat and has to be beaten into submission or killed.
Jack lusts for power and is driven to destroy anyone who gets in his
With their fears of the beast. He teaches them to use their fear of something larger than themselves by turning it on someone smaller and IIS powerful. That is how he rules them; that is the only leadership he understands and respects. Unlike Ralph, Jack has no concern for being fair and allowing the boys to share in their own fate. He lusts for power and is driven to destroy anyone who gets in his way. Jack cares only about himself. Thus his character demonstrates another way in which power may be used. It is difficult to like Jack. However, we recognize that he does take the responsibility for getting food and dealing with the fear of the beast. In extreme situations such as this, perhaps it is necessary and right to use extreme methods. How you feel about this will depend on your own beliefs.
The significance of Simon’s name
Simon comes from the Hebrew for “listener.” It was also the name of one of Jesus’ apostles, Simon Peter. This hints at the spiritual role the character will play in the novel: Simon is the only one who hears and understands the truth. Simon is a skinny little boy with black hair, about nine years old. At first he doesn’t seem to be an interesting character, but he becomes important to the story.
Our first impression of Simon is that he is a little odd or weird
Our first impression of Simon is that he is a little odd or weird. He isn’t easy to be friends with. He is the kid that others gang up on or laugh at because of the strange things he says. He is friends with no one in particular, and no one really befriends him. Even though he is willing to help build shelters with Ralph, he often disappears on his own. The reason Simon may be a loner is that he has a disability which makes him slightly different from the other boys: Simon has epilepsy. In ancient times many thought that the epileptic seizure was an indication that a person had great spiritual powers and was favored by communications from the gods. In an ironic twist, Simon communicates with an evil figure rather than a living god. He is the only boy who hears Lord of the Flies speak and learns that the beast is within himself rather than in the jungle
Because of his spiritual nature, he understands what most boys his age never think about
Simon alone knows for certain that there is no such thing as a beast, that there is only fear that is inside each boy. He knows that this is what terrifies them. It terrifies him also, and it makes him unable to talk about it. That’s why, when he does speak, the world come out so strangely. Simon is the most compassionate of the boys; he is like a priest or a saint-exactly the opposite of jack. When Simon sees the dead man in the parachute, He frees him in spite of the horror he feels
What Simon knows makes him unable to become a savage like the hunters or jack
What Simon know makes him unable to become a savage like the hunters or Jack, He can’t even defend himself at the moment of his own slaughter. And when he tries to tell the boys what they cannot understand, they make him the beast of their fears. He is killed by the strength of their belief in the beast. Simon is one of the most important characters because the story revolves around fear of the beast and he is the only boy who confronts it, during one of his seizures. He hears the truth, and in spite of the consequences he tells it. Simon’s spiritual power is invisible and personal, someone like Jack, who has no internal understanding or respect for such things, can easily destroy Simon, but he can’t destroy Simon’s spiritual power. This power is also misunderstood by Ralph, who can’t figure out the problem of the beast, Simon’s ability is never recognized by his peers.
The character of Simon is presented in three phases in the novel
The character of Simon is presented in three phases in the novel: initially Simon’s attitude and nature; then with the complication of the plot, Simon’s increasing importance and his relation with nature and above all relation to his own self; and lastly his death, the climax of the novel, which plays a pivotal role in the novel.
In the third chapter Huts on the v Beach, Golding explores the distinction of Simon and the differences between the boys
In the third chapter Huts on the Beach, Golding explores distinction of Simon and the differences between the boys. Both Ralph and Jack who consider Simon faintly crazy, are also worlds apart from him. Simon acts as a peace maker between Jack and Piggy; he is to be seen suffering the little children to come to him and getting them fruits, he is timid, his movements are silent and he withdraws himself from the realm of exchange: and from these initial exposition one can see easily enough What Golding meant by calling Simon a saint even a Christ-like figure But what brings Simon alive and makes the passages where he is by himself among the finest things in the books is the quality of the imagination that goes into creating his particular sensibility. He is in fact, not so much a character in the sense that the other boys are, but the most inclusive sensibility among the children at this stage.
The presentation of Simon in this chapter strikes us with considerable force, as Simon moves through the jungle
The presentation of Simon in this chapter strikes us with considerable force, as Simon moves through the jungle. As he moves we find the forest is alien to man and how its fecundity is rooted in dissolution. Simon is the first child, to register fully, what the island and its jungle are like in themselves. The qualities that were present in Ralph’s day-dreaming at the finding of the conch are fully realized in Simon. On the other hand, in solitary communication with nature, he taps Jack’s sensitivity to the creepy as well as the beautiful. But he is outside the hunter mentality, the leader mentality, outside even himself—like Meursault in Albert Camus “The Outsider”. He exists in terms of his sensitivity to what is outside him. This allows him to know comprehensively. He not only registers the heat, the urgency, the riot, the dampness and decay; he also registers the cool mysterious submergence of the forest in darkness, the pure beauty and fragrance of starlight and night flower, the peace. Finally he not only registers both, but accepts them equally, as two parts of the same reality. It is these qualities of acceptance and inclusion that give us the ‘Simon-ness’ of Simon. From Chapter Five onwards, Simon gains importance along with the disintegration and brutal degeneration of the boys From Chapter Five onwards, Simon gains importance along with the disintegration and brutal degeneration of the boys. Chapter Five, Beast from Water presents the superstition which leads to the inward fear which
Sparks off savagery. In this chapter the worst contempt of the meeting, however, is reserved for Simon, who thinks that there may be a Beast that is not any kind of animal: ‘What I mean is….maybe it’s only us’. But Simon is howled down even more than Piggy; and when the vote comes to be taken Ralph is forced to realize that fear cannot be dispelled by voting. And only Simon starts his quest which continues as long as he lives.
In the ninth chapter, both the view and the death of its title are Simon’s
He climb the mountain and goes down to the others to tell them that the beast’s is harmless and horrible because what else is there to do? So Simon moves to lay rest the history of man’s inhumanity and falls amidst the hysteric frenzy to be mistaken for the beast ,they do him in and leapt on the beast screamed, struck, bit, tore
Thus, Simon is a character as well as a symbol
Truth become the first casualty and Simon’s struggle and fate bring him with long tradition of truth-seekers. Simon’s attempt to tell the truth synchronizes with the entire elements nature pays a tribute to Simon -the infinite dark sky, ceaseless waves of eternal sea, the thunder and rain. The whole vision of sea-burial reflects nature’s glorification of a crucified martyr and places the saint to a cosmic perspective
Piggy’s disabilities set him apart from the other boys
Piggy has an obvious meaning, and the name connects the boy to the Pigs which the other boys hunt and kill. Piggy is a little like Simon in that he is the butt of cruelty and laughter. He has several disabilities—his asthma, his obesity, and his near blindness—and they set him apart from the other boys. But his illnesses have isolated him and given him time to think about life. Like Simon, Piggy is wiser than most of the boys; however, he is able to speak up at meetings more than Simon can, and he becomes Ralph’s respected friend.
Piggy represents civilization and its hold on man
As advisor to Ralph, Piggy understands more than Ralph does. It is Piggy who knows that blowing the conch will call the boys together. Piggy tries to help Ralph keep order. He also tries to think what adults would do if they were in the same situation. Piggy represents civilization and its hold on man. Piggy is a thinking person, one who has a strong belief in scientific explanations and rational solutions to problems. However, Piggy has his blind spots, He wants to believe that once you’re an adult, you no longer fear the dark, and that life can always be explained. He also wants little to do with understanding evil. After Simon has been murdered, Piggy tries to deny and rationalize the killing.
Piggy is Golding’s argument for the need of civilization and his against man’s return to a more innocent state in nature
Piggy’s presence on the island is a constant reminder of how thinking people live. In the jungle he becomes weakened, civilization recedes with his death the law of the jungle prevails. Piggy is Golding’s argument for the need of civilization and his case against man’s return to a more innocent state in nature.
Roger symbolizes brute force
Roger comes from the German and means “spear.” Roger’s Power is the use of brute force totally at whim. As Jack’s right-hand man, Roger darkly parallels Piggy’s relationship to Ralph. There is much conversation between Piggy and Ralph but little between Jack and Roger. Roger carries out, to an extreme, Jack’s aggressive use of force. Roger’s brute force is indiscriminate.
Roger is the cruelest of the characters, and even p though he doesn’t play a large part in the story, his role leaves the reader shuddering
Roger is the cruelest of the characters, and even though he doesn’t play a large part in the story, his role leaves the reader shuddering. Roger uses his spear to torment the sow after the boys have captured it, Later he brags about it, flaunting his meanness. He is responsible for wantonly murdering Piggy, using a stick to pry loose a boulder that bounds down and strikes him. Roger represents the worst that develops in people when there is no civilization to keep them in line. Roger despises civilization and sees it as a hindrance to what he wants.
SAM and ERIC
Sam and Eric are twins who are incapable of acting independently of another. They seem to become one person, answering to a name that has been slurred together into Samneric. They represent loss of identity through fear of the beast.
The Plot of the Novel
(A Short Summary)
During an unnamed time of war, a plane carrying a group of British schoolboys is shot down over the Pacific
During an unnamed time of war, a plane carrying a group of British schoolboys is shot down over the Pacific. The pilot of the plane is killed, but many of the boys survive the crash and find themselves deserted on an uninhabited island, where they are alone without adult supervision. The novel begins with the aftermath of the crash, once the boys have reached the island. The first two boys introduced are the main protagonists of the story: Ralph is among the oldest of the boys, handsome and confident, while Piggy, as he is derisively called, is a pudgy asthmatic boy with glasses who nevertheless possesses a keen intelligence. Ralph finds a conch shell, and when he blows it the other boys gather together. Among these boys is Jack Merridew, an aggressive boy who marches at the head of his choir. Ralph, whom the other boys choose as chief, leads Jack and another boy, Simon, on an expedition to explore the island. On their expedition they determine that they are, in fact, on a deserted island and decide that they need to find food. The three boys find a pig, which Jack prepares to kill but finally balks before he can actually stab it.
When the boys return from their expedition, Ralph calls a meeting and attempts to set rules of order for the island
When the boys return from their expedition, Ralph calls a meeting and attempts to set rules of order for the island. Jack agrees with Ralph, for the existence of rules means the existence of punishment for those who break them, but Piggy reprimands Jack for his lack of concern over long-term issues of survival. Ralph proposes that they build a fire on the mountain which could signal their presence to any passing ships. The boys start building the fire, but the younger boys lose interest when the task proves too difficult for them, Piggy proves essential to the process: the boys use his glasses to start the fire, after the boy’s start the fire, Piggy loses his temper and criticizes the other boys for not building shelters first. He Worries that they still do not know how many boys there are, and believes that one of them is already missing.
While Jack tries to hunt pigs, Ralph orchestrates the building of shelters for the boys
While Jack tries to hunt pigs, Ralph orchestrates the building of shelters for the boys. The littlest boys have not helped at all, while boys in Jack’s choir, whose duty is to hunt for food, have spent the day swimming. Jack tells Ralph that he feels as if he is being hunted himself when he hunts for pigs. When Simon the only boy who has consistently helped Ralph leaves presumably to take a bath, Ralph and Jack go to find him at the bathing pool. However, Simon instead walks around the jungle alone, where he finds a serene open space with aromatic bushes and flowers
The boys soon become accustomed to the progression of the day on the island
The boys soon become accustomed to the progression of the day on the island. The youngest of the boys, known generally as the “littluns,” spend most of the day searching for fruit to eat. When the boys play they still obey some sense of decency toward one another, despite the lack parental authority Jack continues to hunt, while Piggy, who is accepted an outsider among the boys, considers building a sundial. A ship passes by the island, but does not stop, perhaps because the fire has burned out Piggy blames Jack for letting the fire die, for he and his hunters have been preoccupied with killing a pig at the expense of their duty, and Jack punches Piggy, breaking one lens of his glasses. Jack and the hunters chant “Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Bash her in” in celebration of the kill, while Maurice pretends to be a pig and the others pretend to attack him. Ralph becomes concerned by the behavior of Jack and the hunters and begins to appreciate Piggy’s maturity
Ralph becomes concerned by the behavior of Jack and the hunters and begins to appreciate Piggy’s maturity. He calls an assembly in which he criticizes the boys for not assisting with the fire or the building of the shelters. He insists that the fire is the most important thing on the island, for it is their one chance for rescue, and declares that the only place where they should have a fire is on the mountain-top. Ralph admits that he is frightened but there is no legitimate reason to be afraid. Jack then yells at the littluns for their fear and for not helping with hunting or building shelters. Fe proclaims that there is no beast on the island, as some of the boys believe but then a littlun, Phil, tells how he had a nightmare and when he awoke saw something moving among the trees. Simon admits that Phil probably saw him, for he was walking in the jungle that night. The littluns begin to worry about the supposed beast, which they conceive to be perhaps a ghost or a squid. Piggy and Ralph fight once more, and when Ralph attempts to assert the rules of order, Jack asks rhetorically who cares about the rules. Ralph in turn insists that the rules are all that they have. Jack then decides to lead an expedition to hunt the beast, leaving only Ralph, Piggy and Simon. Piggy warns Ralph that if Jack becomes chief the boys never be
The dead parachutist on the rock is mistaken to be a beast by the boys
That night, during an aerial battle, a pilot parachutes down the pilot dies, possibly on impact. The next morning, the twins Sam and Eric are adding kindly to the fire when they see the pilot and believe him to be a beast. They scramble down the mountain and wake Ralph. Jack calls for a hunt, but Piggy insists that they should stay together, for the beast may not come near them. Jack claims that the conch is now irrelevant, and takes a swing at Ralph when he claims that Jack does not want to be rescued. Ralph decides to join the hunters on their expedition to find the beast, despite his wish to rekindle the fire on the mountain. When they reach the other side of the island, Jack wishes to build a fort near the sea.
Jack’s attempt to hunt a pig in vain
The hunters, while searching for the beast, find a boar that attacks Jack, but Jack stabs it and it runs away. The hunters go into frenzy, lapsing into their “kill the pig” chant once again. Ralph realizes that Piggy remains with the littluns back on the other side of the island, and Simon offers to go back and tell Piggy that the other boys will not be back that Ralph realizes that Jack hates him and confronts him about that fact. Jack mocks Ralph for not wanting to hunt, claiming that it stems from cowardice, but when the boys see what they believe to be the beast they run away.
Simon’s encounter with the ‘Lord of the Flies’
Ralph returns to the shelters to find Piggy and tells him that they saw the beast, but Piggy remains skeptical. Ralph dismisses the hunters as boys with sticks, but Jack accuses him of calling his hunters cowards. Jack attempts to assert control over the other boys, calling for Ralph’s removal as chief, but when Ralph retains the support of the other boys Jack runs away, crying. Piggy suggests that, if the beast prevents them from getting to the mountain-top, they should build a fire on the beach, and reassures them that they will survive if they behave with common sense. Simon leaves to sit in the open space that he found earlier. Jack claims that he will be the chief of the hunters and that they will go to the castle rock where they plan to build a fort and have a feast. The hunters kill a pig, and Jack smears the blood over Maurice’s face. They then cut off the head and leave it on a stake as an offering for the beast. Jack brings several hunters back to the shelters, where he invites the other boys to join his tribe and offers them neat and the opportunity to hunt and have fun. All of the boys, except for Ralph and Piggy, join Jack. Meanwhile, Simon finds the pig’s head that the hunters had left. He dubs it Lord of the Flies because of the Insects that swarm around it. He believes that it speaks to him, telling him how foolish the pig’s head claims f’ that it is the beast, and mocks the idea that the beast could be hunted Killed. Simon falls down and loses consciousness.
The death of Simon
Simon regains consciousness and wanders around. When he sees the dead pilot that the boys perceived to be the beast and realizes what it actually is, Simon rushes down the mountain to alert the other boys of found. Ralph and Piggy play at the lagoon alone, and decide to find the other boys to make sure that nothing unfortunate happens while they be chief. When Piggy claims that he gets to speak because he has the conch Jack tells him that the conch does not count on his side of the island. The boys panic when Ralph warns them that a storm is coming. As the storm begins, Simon rushes from the forest, telling about the dead body on the mountain. The boys descend on Simon, thinking that he is the beast, and
Jack’s party attack Ralph and the other boys at night
Back on the other side of the island, Ralph and Piggy discuss Simon’s death. They both took part in the murder, but attempt to justify their behavior as acting out of fear and instinct. The only four boys who are not part of Jack’s tribe are Ralph and Piggy and the twins, Sam and Eric, who help tend to the fire. At the castle rock, Jack rules over the boys with the trappings of an idol. He has kept one boy tied up, and instills fear in the other boys by warning them about the beast and the intruders. When Bill asks Jack how they will start a fire, Jack claims that they will steal the fire from the other boys. Meanwhile, Ralph, Piggy and the twins work keeping the fire going, but find that it is too difficult to do by themselves.
That night, the hunters attack the four boys, who fight them off but still suffer considerable injuries. Piggy learns the purpose of the attack. They came to steal his glasses.
After the attack, the four ‘boys decide to go to the castle rock to appeal Jack as civilized people
After the attack, the four boys decide to go to the castle rock to appeal Jack as civilized people. They groom themselves to appear presentable address themselves in normal clothes. When they reach castle rock, Ralph summons the other boys with the conch. Jack arrives from hunting and tells Ralph and Piggy to leave them alone. When Jack refuses to listen to Ralph’s appeals to justice, Ralph calls the boys painted fools. Jack takes Sam and Eric as prisoners and orders them to be tied up. Piggy asks jack and his hunters whether it is better to be a pack of painted Indians of sensible like Ralph, but Roger tips a rock over on Piggy, causing him to fall down the mountain to the beach. The impact kills him. Jack declares himself chief and hurls his spear at Ralph, who runs away.
The arrival of the naval officer on time saves the life of Ralph who is hunted down by Jack and team
Ralph hides near the castle rock, where he can see the other boys, whom he no longer recognizes as civilized English boys but rather as savages. He crawls near the place where Sam and Eric are kept, and they give him some meat and tell him to leave. While Ralph hides, he realizes that the other boys are rolling rocks down the mountain. Ralph evades the other boys who are hunting for them, and then realizes that they are setting the forest on fire in order to smoke him out, and thus will destroy whatever fruit is left on the island. Ralph finally reaches the beach, where a naval officer has arrived with his ship. He thinks that the boys have only been playing games, and scolds them for not behaving in a more organized and responsible manner, as is the British custom. As the boys prepare to leave the island for home, Ralph weeps for the death of Piggy and the end of the boys’ innocence.
Theme is the underlying truth of the story, not the plot but what the plot means. In lord of the flies there are many themes, and they are interwoven with each other.
THE NEED FOR CIVILIZATION
The most obvious of the themes is man’s need for civilization. Contrary to the belief that man is innocent and society evil, the story shows that laws and rules, policemen and schools are necessary to keep the darker side of human nature in line. When these institutions and concepts slip away or are ignored, human beings revert to a more primitive part of their nature
INNOCENCE AND THE LOSS OF IT
The existence of civilization allows man to remain innocent or ignorant about his true nature. Although man needs civilization, it is important that he also be aware of his more primitive instincts. Only in this way can he reach true maturity. Golding implies that the loss of innocence has little to do with age but is related to a person’s understanding of human nature. It can happen at any or not at all. Painful though it may be, this loss of innocence by coming to terms with reality is necessary if humanity is to survive.
THE LOSS OF IDENTITY
Civilization separates man from the animals by teaching him to think and make choices. When civilization slips away and man reverts to his more primitive nature, his identity disintegrates. The boys use masks to cover their identity, and this allows them to kill and- later to murder. The loss of a personal name personifies the loss of selfhood and identity.
Different types of power, with their uses and abuses, are central to the story. Each kind of power is used by one of the characters. Democratic power is shown when choices and decisions are shared among many. Authoritarian power allows one person to rule by threatening and terrifying others. Spiritual power recognizes internal and external realities and Attempt to integrate them. Brute force, the most primitive use of power, is indiscriminate
FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN
Fear of the unknown on the island resolves around the boys terror of the beast. Fear is allowed to grow because they play with the idea of it .They cannot fully accept the notion of a beast, nor can they let go of it. They whip themselves into hysteria, and their attempts to resolve their fears are too feeble to convince themselves one way or the other. The reorganization that no real beast exists, that there is only the power of fear, is one of the deepest meaning of the story.
THE INDIFRENENCE OF NATURE
Throughout much of literature the natural world has been portrayed as ‘mother nature’ the protector of man. In Lord of the flies nature shown to be indifference to humanity’s existence. When nature creates a situation which help or hinders mankind, it is an arbitrary happening. Man may be aware of nature but nature is unconscious and unaware of mankind.
Being blind and having special sight are interwoven themes. One who is blind to his immediate surroundings usually has special understanding of things which others cannot fathom. This person sees more, but he is not seen or recognized by those around him. Such a person is often considered a fool and ridiculed by others.
Lord of the Flies is a modern novel that can be read and interpreted various levels.
Lord of the Flies as a fable
Golding has stated in his book The Hot Gates, that he used the fable form to present the truth as he saw it. A fable is defined as a Story that uses symbolic characters to teach a lesson. In this novel, Golding certainly accomplishes this purpose. Through the boys, he clearly teaches man’s inhumanity to man and man’s inherent evil. In fact, Golding states that “man produces evil as a bee produces honey”. Golding shows how civilization on the island breaks down and leads to anarchy and terror “because the boys are suffering from the terrible disease of being human”
Lord of the Flies as a religious tale
Since man is a fallen being who continuously pays for the original his nature is characterized by base evil. Golding, in Lord of the Flies concerned about this evil and how it relates to man’s soul and its salvation throughout the book, the author depicts the contrast between good and evil, kindness and cruelty, civilization and savagery, guilt and indifference, responsibility and anarchy. The rational good of mankind is represented by Ralph and Piggy, with the conch their symbol of authority; the evil savagery of mankind is represented by Jack and hunters, with the beast, or “Lord of the flies” as their symbol of savagery. The beast stands for the evil that is present in all human beings, and Simon and Piggy, or rationality, are almost helpless in its presence.
Fortunately, there is also Simon, a symbol of vision and salvation. He is able to see the beast as it really exists-in the hearts of all humankind. Unfortunately, when he tries to brings the truth to the savage ones, he is sacrificed, much like Christ was sacrificed when he tried to bring truth to the unknowing. But the fact that Simon existed gives hope to all humankind; the truth about life, its goodness and its evil, is available to those who seek it.
Lord of the Flies as a symbolic novel
The novel functions throughout on a symbolic level. The boys, in their variety of personalities symbolize mankind as a whole. Ralph is the symbol of rational, but fallible, mankind. He tries to establish an orderly society, based on rules, authority, and knowledge; but he struggles against forces of evil (Lord of the Flies) throughout the book. Jack, his counterpart is the symbol of emotion and savagery. He lives for the hunt, rules as a dictator, and is guided by the evil purpose unfortunately, he knows the base level of human beings and successfully appeals to it through hunting, dancing, and fear. Each boy has a close follower. Ralph has Piggy, who is an intellectual and a true, wise friend; he is destroyed by the evil hunters. Jack has Roger, who in his sadistic nature has the power to destroy and he kills Piggy. Simon occupies a central position in the symbolic scheme, for he represents truth, vision, and moral understanding. Unfortunately, he is quiet and shy and has difficulty speaking out. When he does try to tell the savages the truth about the beast, they refuse to listen and literally tear him apart, as if to blot out his message.
Lord of the Flies as a Political Novel
The novel can be viewed as a contrast between democracy and anarchy. Ralph is elected by the boys to be their chief. Governed by rationality, he tries to be a democratic leader, listening to the concerns of all (even the fears of the littleuns), watching out for the good of all (building and maintaining the fire), and protecting them all (building shelters): To remind the others of his leadership, he wisely and sparingly uses the conch as a symbol of his authority. Jack does not like the democracy and its rules. He tries to convince the other boys to vote Ralph out of office and put him in the leadership role.
When they refuse to elect Jack, he reacts in anarchy. He deserts the democratic way of life, seizes a part of the island for himself, and gains followers through strong arm tactics. He and his savage hunters raid the democratic headquarters and steal vestiges of their civilization (the fire and the glasses) and break the conch (their authority). Then Jack begins to rule selfishly for his own good and pleasure. Like a dictator, he makes his own laws regardless of the consequence, doles out punishment as he sees fit, encourages savagery amongst his followers, and demands loyalty to the point of servitude. Although democracy does not survive on the island, neither can anarchy.
Lord of the flies as a psychological novel
The novel functions as a study of mankind’s basic nature, and the picture that is painted by Golding is very negative. When children, as symbols of mankind, are away from authority (adults) and without and checks (laws and policemen), they revert to primitive behavior. Evolve their own undemocratic rules and savage behavior; they about basic human behavior through the group of the children.
Many critics have characterized Lord of the Flies as a retelling of Biblical Parallels episodes from the Bible. While that description may be oversimplification, the novel does echo certain Christian images themes. Golding does not make any explicit or direct connections to Christian symbolism in Lord of the Flies; instead, these biblical parallels function as a kind of subtle motif in the novel, adding thematic resonance to the main ideas of the story. The island itself, particularly Simon’s glade in the forest, recalls the Garden of Eden in its status as an originally pristine place that is corrupted by the introduction of evil. Similarly, we may see Lord of the Flies as a representation of the devil, for it works to promote evil among humankind. Furthermore, many critics have drawn strong parallels between Simon and Jesus. Among the boys, Simon is the one who arrives at the moral truth of the novel, and the other boys kill sacrificially as a consequence of having discovered this truth. Simon conversation with Lord of the Flies also parallels the confrontation (between Jesus and the devil during Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness, told in the Christian Gospels. However, it is important to remember that the parallels between Sin and Christ are not complete, and that there are limits to reading Lori the Flies purely as a Christian allegory. Save for Simon’s two uncanny predictions of the future, he lacks the supernatural connection to God Jesus has in Christian tradition. Although Simon is wise in many ways death does not bring salvation to the island; rather, his death plunge Island deeper into savagery and moral guilt. Moreover, Simon dies before he is able to tell the boys the truth he has discovered. Jesus, in contrast, was killed while spreading his moral philosophy. In this way, Simon- and LORD OF THE FLIES as a whole–echoes Christian ideas and themes without developing explicit, precise parallels with them. The novel’s biblical parallels enhance its moral themes but are not necessarily the primary key to interpreting the story.
Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent symbols abstract ideas or concepts.
The Conch Shell
Ralph and Piggy discover the conch shell on the beach at the start of the novel and use it to summon the boys together after the crash separates them. Used in this capacity. The conch shell becomes a powerful symbol of civilization and order in the novel. The shell effectively governs the boys’ meetings, for the boy who holds the shell holds the right to speak. In this regard, the shell is more than a symbol—it is an actual vessel of political legitimacy and democratic power. As the island civilization erodes, and the boys descend into savagery, the conch shell loses its power and influence among them. Ralph clutches the shell desperately when he talks about his role in murdering Simon. Later, the other boys ignore Ralph and throw stones at him when he attempts to blow the conch in Jack’s camp. The boulder that Roger rolls onto Piggy also crushes the conch shell, signifying the demise of the civilized instinct among almost all the boys on the island.
Piggy is the most intelligent, rational boy in the group, and his glasses represent the power of science and intellectual endeavor in society. This symbolic significance is clear from the start of the novel, when the boys use the lenses from Piggy’s glasses to focus the sunlight and start a fire. When Jack’s hunters raid Ralph’s camp and steal the glasses, the savages effectively take the power to make fire, leaving Ralph’s group helpless.
The Signal Fire
The signal fire burns on the mountain, and later on the beach, to attract the notice of passing ships that might be able to rescue the boys. As a result, the signal fire becomes a barometer of the boys’ connection to civilization. In the early parts of the novel, the fact that the boys maintain the fire is a sign that they want to be rescued and return to society. When the fire burns low or goes out, we realize that the boys have lost sight of their desire to be rescued and have accepted their savage lives on the island. The signal fire thus functions as a kind of measurement of the strength of the civilized instinct remaining on the island. Ironically, at the end of the novel, a fire finally summons a ship to the island, but not the signal Instead, it is the fire of savagery-the forest fire Jack’s gang starts as part of his quest to hunt and kill Ralph.
The imaginary beast that frightens all the boys stands for the primal instinct of savagery that exists within all human beings. The boys are afraid of the beast, but only Simon reaches the realization that they fear the beast because it exists within each of them. As the boys grow more savage, their beast grows stronger by the end of the novel, the boys are leaving it sacrifices and treating it as a totemic god. The boys’ behavior is what brings the beast into existence, so the more savagely the boys act, the more real the beast seems to become.
Lord of the flies
Lord of the Flies is the bloody, severed sow’s head that Jack impales on a stake in the forest glade as an offering to the beast. This complicated the most important image in the novel when Simon confronts the sow’s head in the glade and it seems to speak to him, telling him that evil lies within every human heart and promising to have some ‘fun” with him. (This “fun” foreshadows Simon’s death in the following chapter.) In this way, Lord of the Flies becomes both a physical manifestation of the beast, a symbol of the power of evil, and a kind of Satan figure who evokes the beast within each human being. Looking at the novel in the context of biblical parallels, Lord of the Flies recalls the devil, just as Simon recalls Jesus. In fact, the name “Lord of the Flies” is a literal translation of the name of the biblical name Beelzebub, a powerful demon in hell sometimes thought to be the devil himself.
Ralph, Piggy, Jack, Simon, Roger
Lord of the Flies is an allegorical novel, and many of its characters signify important ideas or themes. Ralph represents order, leadership, and civilization. Piggy represents the scientific and intellectual aspects of civilization, Jack represents unbridled savagery and the desire for power.
Simon represents natural human goodness. Roger represents brutality and bloodlust at their most extreme. To the extent that the boys’ society resembles a political state, the littluns might be seen as the common people, while the older boys represent the ruling classes and political leaders. The relationships that develop between the older boys and the younger ones emphasize the older boys’ connection to either the civilized or the savage instinct’. Civilized boys like Ralph and Simon use their power to protect the younger boys and advance the good of the group; savage boys like Jack and Roger use their power to gratify their own desires, treating the little boys as objects for their own amusement.