This essay will demonstrate howGolding expresses this purpose through his use of setting, plot, charactersand symbols throughout his novel. The Lord of the Flies includes four main characters. Ralph is theattractive, capturing and charismatic natural leader. He represents theconstant fight to maintain good and abolish evil. He bears the weight ofthe responsibility as a leader and the constant struggle to maintain lawand order.
We find examples of this throughout the book for example withRalph’s winning of the leadership due to his appealing personality and hisgrowing responsibilities as a leader as decivilisation slowly takes place. He and Piggy are the only ones trying to maintain law, order and good. Jack – Ralph’s archrival – is a boy with a rigorously strictbackground. He was part of a choir, which later became his hunting group.
He represents evil and “the darkness of man’s heart” (The Lord of theFlies, William Golding, page 225). He is cruel, aggressive and sadistic. Jack craves for power and envies Ralph for being the chief on the island. He rouses mob mentality and conceals his violence and blood thirst behindface paints. Many cases are seen in Golding’s novel, for example Jack’saggressive and brutal behavior whilst killing the pig and after during there-enact of the slaughter.
The face paints are also a way to forget allshame and give in freely to the murderous impulse present in all mankind. Simon was part of Jack’s choir and has a tendency to be bulliedbecause of his constant fainting fits- he faints just before the chief isdecided upon; Jack took absolutely no notice of this. He representsinnocence, pureness and ‘the’ savior – when he comes to tell the other boysthat the beast was actually a dead corpse of a parachutist – he issensible, has a great mind but a fear to speak – he finds it easier to talkto Ralph only than stand up at assembly. He represents hope and becomes’the’ martyr when he dies bringing the good news that was left obscured.
Piggy is a fat, middle class boy with a funny accent and glasses. Heis made fun of and bullied – Jack especially takes it out on him by callinghim Fatty. He represents the voice of reason and the constant reminder ofcivilization – He is a great counselor to Ralph as things start todeteriorate. He also acts as Ralph’s conscience and is an evident victim inthe world of the selection of the fittest.
He is the possessor of theglasses that light the fire. The setting was deliberately chosen. It represents in a way theeternal paradise. It corresponds to the Garden of Eden where original sinfirst sprung. Golding believes that all mankind is born with original sin.
It also has an intimate connection with the war that is going on beyond theIsland. In the end a warship ironically rescues them. This ship would takethem away from their war into a large-scale war. The island could alsoembody the world and its degradation after a nuclear destruction. The plot develops the themes of progressivedegradationanddecivilisation.
The novel starts with Ralph as leader and as time passesJack gains more and more power over the group whilst Ralph loses it and mobmentality increases. It’s a gradual near-vanquish of evil over good and apremeditated path from hope toward despairGolding’s purpose in writing this novel was perhaps to demonstratehow humanity is not as superior as it wishes to think. We are merely beastsinserted into a society where our bars are our rules and our cages are ourlaws. We are confined in this cage quite happily and of our own free will. But if we are let out of our obligations and if civilization abandons us wewill return to our primitive state – savagery and original sin.
Goldinguses children in this novel to prove that it is not only adults hat havethe capacity to do evil. Children are budding adults and represent thefuture, how frightening may this future be?Golding had been a schoolmaster and had fought during the Cold War. These are some of the elements of his life and experiences, which herelates into his book. His practice as a schoolmaster might be why he choseschoolboys to be stranded on a desert island. He feels that children areinnocent and nave yet potentially sadistic and evil, for adults were oncechildren.
William Golding had witnessed much violence, bloodshed and deathduring the War. He saw with his own eyes how mankind could descend so lowand spill blood remorselessly. This and the introduction of atomic weaponschanged a lot of opinions and views of life, death, war and their intimaterelationship. Golding shared the concerns of the people of that time whofelt that the use of atomic weapons could end the world as they knew itwith a single dispute.