Boys experimenting with behavior when there are no adults to set limits, seeing rock formations as a castle fortress, and seeking emotional support in friendships all appeal to the reader.
The plausibility of the futuristic conditions, in which life choices must be made by survivors of an atomic war, is maintained by the gradual change in the conduct of the boys. One of the catalysts Golding uses in Lord of the Flies and The Inheritors , his second novel, is refutation of the worldview expressed in an earlier and popular work.
Lord of the Flies challenges the unrealistic outlook expressed in The Coral Island: That Victorian adventure novel features three boys marooned on an island with pirates and cannibals. The Inheritors refutes H. Golding was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
They are also colorful tales of adventure, full of narrative joy, inventiveness, and excitement. In , when Lord of the Flies was first published in the United States, few readers had ever heard of him, and the book which had been rejected by twenty-one publishers sold only a handful of copies. Four years later, however, when a paperback edition appeared, sales of the work began to increase, promoted by word of mouth. In , Golding received the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Born in Cornwall, England, in , Golding attended Oxford University, changing his major from science to literature halfway through, and then, after publishing a book of poetry, became caught up in World War II. He spent five years serving with the Royal Navy, emerging as a lieutenant and embarking on a teaching and writing career.
He wrote novels and novellas, poetry, plays, essays, and travel articles. It is a superficially simple but densely layered tale that has been labeled, among other things, a fable, a myth, an allegory, and a parable. On the surface, it is an adventure story. A group of schoolboys await rescue on a deserted island, meanwhile exploring, hunting, and finally warring with one another. His is a view that accepts the doctrine of original sin but without the accompanying doctrine of redemption.
People in a state of nature quickly revert to evil, but even in a so-called civilized state, people simply mask their evil beneath a veneer of order. After all, while the boys on the island are sinking into a state of anarchy and blood lust, their civilized parents and teachers are waging nuclear war in the skies overhead. Here, Beelzebub is represented by the rotting head of the sow killed by Jack Merridew and his hunters choir members in a frenzy of bloodletting that, in the language used to describe it, has sexual overtones.
Although human beings are gifted with at least a glimmer of intelligence and reason—represented in the novel by Piggy and Ralph, respectively—the power of evil is sufficient to overwhelm any opposition. That they are British public schoolboys only adds to the irony in that perhaps the chief goal of the British public school is to instill in its charges a sense of honor and civil behavior.
Jack Merridew, later to become the most barbarous of them all, enters the novel marching his choir members along in two parallel lines. The beast, the parachutist, the fire, the killing of the sow—all assume symbolic significance in the novel, justifying the label of allegory that is often applied to this work.
Lord of the Flies has attracted an immense amount of both favorable and unfavorable criticism. Most vehement among the latter critics are Kenneth Rexroth, whose essay in the Atlantic Monthly castigated the author for having written a typical "rigged" "thesis novel" whose characters "never come alive as real boys.
Baker have claimed that the popularity of the book peaked by the end of the s because of that decade's naive view of humanity and rejection of original sin. Among critics who admire Lord of the Flies , there is remarkable disagreement about the book's influences, genre, significant characters, and theme, not to mention the general philosophy of the author. He interprets Golding's book as a powerful story, capable of many interpretations, precisely because of the author's "mythopoeic power to transcend" his own allegorical "programme.
Dick, while acknowledging The Coral Island 's influence, builds on Kermode's observation that the book's strength is grounded in its mythic level by tracing the influence of the Greek dramatists, especially Euripides whose play The Bacchae Golding himself acknowledged as an important source of his thinking. Dick notes that The Bacchae and Lord of the Flies both "portray a bipolar society in which the Apollonian Golding was forty-three years old when he wrote the novel, having served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War.
According to Bernard Oldsey, "The war appears to have been an important influence on him. Lord of the Flies is deliberately modeled after R. Ballantyne's novel The Coral Island. In this story, a group of English boys are shipwrecked on a tropical island. They work hard together to save themselves.
The only evil in the book is external and is personified by a tribe of cannibals that live on the island. The book offers a Victorian view of the world: By giving his characters the same names as those in Ballantyne's book and by making direct reference to The Coral Island in the text of Lord of the Flies , Golding clearly wants readers to see his book as a response to the Victorian world view.
Golding's view is a much bleaker one: At the end of the book, the adult naval officer who invokes The Coral Island almost serves as Ballantyne's voice-"I should have thought that a pack of British boys— you're all British, aren't you? Initially, critics commented less on the novel as a work of art than on its political, religious, and psychological symbolism. For example, James Stern in a review for The New York Times Book Review wrote " Lord of the Flies is an allegory on human society today, the novel's primary implication being that what we have come to call civilization is at best no more than skin deep.
Indeed, many critics have argued that Lord of the Flies is an allegory. An allegory is a story in which characters, setting, objects, and plot stand for a meaning outside of the story itself. Frequently, the writers of allegory illustrate an abstract meaning by the use of concrete images. For example George Orwell in Animal Farm , uses animals and the barnyard as concrete representations of the Russian Revolution. Often, characters in allegories personify some abstract quality.
In the medieval drama Everyman , for instance, the concrete character Everyman stands for all of humanity. While it is possible to read Lord of the Flies as allegory, the work is so complex that it can be read as allegorizing the political state of the world in the postwar period; as a Freudian psychological understanding of human kind; or as the Christian understanding of the fall of humankind, among others. As a political allegory, each character in Lord of the Flies represents some abstract idea of government.
Ralph, for example, stands for the good-hearted but not entirely effective leader of a democratic state, a ruler who wants to rule by law derived from the common consent. Piggy is his adviser, someone who is unable to rule because of his own social and physical shortcomings, but who is able to offer sound advice to the democratic leader.
Jack, on the other hand, represents a totalitarian dictator, a ruler who appeals to the emotional responses of his followers. He rules by charisma and hysteria. Roger, the boy who takes the most joy in the slaughter of the pigs and who hurls the rock that kills Piggy, represents the henchman necessary for such a totalitarian ruler to stay in power.
Such a reading takes into account the state of the world at the end of the World War II. Roosevelt led democratic countries against totalitarian demigods such as Germany's.
Lord of the Flies is William Golding's parable of life in the latter half of the twentieth century, the nuclear age, when society seems to have reached technological maturity while human morality is still prepubescent. Whether or not one agrees with the pessimistic philosophy, the idiocentric psychology or the fundamentalist theology espoused by Golding in the novel, if one is to use literature as a "window on the world," this work is one of the panes through which one should look.
The setting for Lord of the Flies is in the literary tradition of Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and Johann Wyss's The Swiss Family Robinson , and like these earlier works provides the necessary ingredients for an idyllic utopian interlude. A plane loaded with English school boys, aged five through twelve, is being evacuated to a safe haven in, perhaps, Australia to escape the "Reds," with whom the English are engaged in an atomic war.
Somewhere in the tropics the plane is forced to crash land during a violent storm. All the adults on board are lost when the forward section of the plane is carried out to sea by tidal waves. The passenger compartment, fortuitously, skids to a halt on the island, and the young passengers escape uninjured. The boys find themselves in a tropical paradise: The sea proffers crabs and occasional fish in tidal pools, all for the taking.
The climate is benign. Thus, the stage is set for an idyllic interlude during which British fortitude will enable the boys to master any possible adversity.
In fact, Golding relates that just such a nineteenth century novel, R. Ballantyne's Coral Island , was the inspiration for Lord of the Flies. In that utopian story the boy castaways overcame every obstacle they encountered with the ready explanation, "We are British, you know! Golding's tropical sojourners, however, do not "live happily ever after. As their "society" fails to build shelters or to keep the signal fire going, fears emanating from within—for their environment is totally non-threatening—take on a larger than life reality.
Vines hanging from trees become "snake things" in the imaginings of the "little'uns. Their fears become more real than existence on the tropical paradise itself when the twins, Sam 'n Eric, report their enervating experience with the wind-tossed body of the dead parachutist.
The time is one that the world is turning on each other, and the boys follow suit and turn on each other. Their society is an ironic model of the real world around them. Many countries today are turning on each other, with violent wars and cruelties. Lord of the Flies shows one that mankind must choose to stop cruelty or face destruction.
Many people do not believe in violence or cruelty, unless they are in power. When humans strive for power, they get so power hungry that the power backfires. When one is in total control power, one often turns into a more savage person than that same person that is under a rule or with the absence of a ruler does.
Humans were not meant to be ruled or to rule. Society today has order, but violence is also prevalent. What at first was made to bring the death of Ralph later saved him. In human society, and even in the animal kingdom, violent acts may turn into a salvation.
Many animals must kill one another to eat. During wars, the United States is brought together and the economy booms. At what first appears to be a bad factor for the United States, later becomes a good thing, in different ways.
It is ironic that a bad deed can turn into a good deed. This kind of ironic situation can also be applied to reverse psychology. If one tells another he or she if bad, often he or she will respond saying that he or she is not bad. A hurtful insult may turn up some self-esteem. It is similar to throwing old vegetables at a bad comic- the bad comic is probably homeless and will take the food and eat it. The final scene is possibly the most powerful and terrifying of all the scenes in the book.
It features a dignified naval officer in all the trappings of his station, much like the paint and weaponry of the boys. This man rescues Ralph from almost certain death. However, in doing so, he brings the boys into another society which, in principle, is exactly like the one they just lived. This man is a boy, a fly, another person warring the battle for power between the evil in his mind and the rationality of it, another person swarming to the feast.
He is another Jack, warring against people who do not agree with his ideals, his religions in order to strengthen his own standards. The boys symbolize the various aspects of the mind, and their ensuing actions symbolize the respective struggles of the mind.
Essay Question Three No government, no rules, no problems? Of course, there are problems. From the calling of the first meeting and all along up to the final hunt for Ralph, the sense of order and respect is gradually declining among the boys. In the beginning, everybody listens to what everybody has to say, and they try to build a civilized society on the island.
The boys had obviously gotten a pretty strict upbringing both at home and at school. All of them have a definite view of what is right and what is wrong. At first, they are able to use this sense, and keep their traditional standards on the island. They elect a leader democratically, and by popular vote, they start deciding what has to be done.
They have rules for the meetings and they make laws for what is allowed and what is not. The problem comes when the boys start realizing that there is no one there to control them.
There are no adults there to make them toil and sweat if they do not want to. The boys realize that swimming and eating fruit all day is more fun, than laying the foundation for a fair and safe society where everybody works for the benefit of the whole group. The main symbol that represents the law and order on the island is the conch shell.
It is with this Ralph calls all the meetings and all of the other boys seem to respect this.
Lord of the Flies Questions and Answers. The Question and Answer section for Lord of the Flies is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Lord of the Flies is an allegorical novel in that it contains characters and objects that directly represent the novel’s themes and ideas. Golding’s central point in the novel is that a conflict between the impulse toward civilization and the impulse toward savagery rages within each human individual.
Get free homework help on William Golding's Lord of the Flies: book summary, chapter summary and analysis, quotes, essays, and character analysis courtesy of CliffsNotes. In Lord of the Flies, British schoolboys are stranded on a tropical island. Essay about Lord of the Flies Study Questions and Answers Lord of the Flies Worksheet: Chapter 1 Answer the questions. For each answer, indicate the page number in parentheses pts.
Lord of the Flies Essay. Throughout the novel Lord of the Flies, various views and motifs are portrayed. Of these views and motifs, the main message which is illustrated is one that questions society. It is clear from the very beginning that . Lord of the Flies Homework Help Questions What does Golding present about "man's essential illness" in from Simon's encounter with the Wlliam Golding uses Simon's encounter with the pig's head as a revelation "man's essential illness," or .