AS 90854 Reading Record Sheet – Reading Log #3
Lord of the flies – William Golding
Lord of the flies is set in 1945 at the time of world war 2. It focuses on a group of boys who become stranded on an uncharted island after their plane crashes. The novel delineates their attempt to govern themselves as boys and produce sophisticated control.
Lord of the is an allegorical novel meaning golding conveys many of his ideas and themes through symbolic characters and objects. The themes expressed are primitivity, civilisation, innocence, rules and order, religion and good versus evil. Primitivity is derived from the word primitive meaning “the preserved character of an early stage in the evolutionary development of something”. These themes are seen throughout many points in the book for example:
contrasting with the theme of civilisation, When the boys first arrive on the island they are civilised and well mannered. But as the plot extends prehistoric values such as savagery are foreshadowed in the dire killing of pigs and the wooden impalement of their heads. As the story continues the author begins to display the concept anarchy. Witnessed when the boys’ cultivated ethics are broken down to the proposed primal characteristics of the cave man days. The boys begin to turn on one another, forming groups with fierce intentions. A result of this is the killing of two boys, Piggy, a fat English boy and Simon, a religious well taken young man. These incidents and characters lecture the theme of innocence and religion. The death of these two boys was a result of an alpha tribe, for what reason, but as an act of dominance and power. Lead by a boy named Jack.
In the book, Golding uses a shell conch to embezzle the idea of unity and protection. The boys use the shell to help keep order on the island. But as time goes on the shell is broken and order and sanity are lost. This reinforces civilisation and addresses the question of primitivity. How long does it take for our dispositions to kick in, how long can we last for with our modern society before we fall back to the cave man days? This is majorly exploited in Golding’s book.
Jack symbolizes as evil and a boy called Ralph depicts as being “good”. At the start of the Novel, most of the other boys initially are concerned with playing, having fun, and avoiding work, Ralph sets about building huts and thinking of ways to maximize their chances of being rescued. For this reason, Ralph position of power is secured and no one doubts is dominance. But as the other boys begin to succumb to the instincts of savagery. Ralphs position declines as jack fearlessly arises. Ralph is only left with piggy and Simon who are condemned towards the end. Leaving Ralph to face the opposing supremacy of Jack. Ralph is hunted down by the buys in their attempt to kill him but finally, runs into a naval officer patrolling the beach. The man assumes the boys are just up too “fun and games”. When he learns what has happened on the island, the officer is reproachful. He asks how could this group of boys, even English boys lose reverence for control and civilisation in such a short time.
What the naval officer says is very ironic as he believes himself as part of an adult world. Where all is civilised and society is confirmative. But really it is tinged with violence and war. A hand in hand aspect of history and today’s world. He states how disgraced he is by the fact that the British boys could have acted so poorly without adults. A hypocritical statement to the current affairs; world war 2. Where death was more present than ever and scale of the effects that the war created was much greater than any of the boy’s actions. Begging the idea that innately we are all the same and that oppressed by the society we maintain our civilised actions. As soon as the world around us breaks down its systematic orthodoxies, we inherit our uncontrollable primitive drives. Leading to so much as war, death and anarchy. A too common ancestor to our modern day history. Let’s stay sane.