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Compare and Contrast the ways in which Stevenson and Golding present the theme of Evil.

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Introduction

Compare and Contrast the ways in which Stevenson and Golding present the theme of Evil Lord of the Flies, by William Golding was first published in 1954, and is set some time in the future, during a war, on a desert island in the Pacific Ocean, known simply as 'The Island'. (The Strange Case of) Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson is set in London at the time of its first publication in 1886. Both feature as a main theme the existence of good and evil. I will compare and contrast the ways in which each author presents evil characters and situations. First, it is important to contrast the historical context of the novels, so that I can fairly and properly compare them. The Second World War, in which Golding fought, and the Cold War, which had materialised in the 1950's, had an effect on him, in writing Lord of the Flies. This is reflected in the pessimistic view he takes on human nature, after the large number of deaths for no massive gain in the war. When he taught in a boarding school after the Second World War, he probably saw similarities between the powers at war in the world, and what went on inside the school, so forming his opinion about collective evil. ...read more.

Middle

Jack, when behind a mask was "liberated from shame and self-consciousness", and it was a "thing on its own", which means that he felt that he was free to do anything with the mask of paint, without fear or reprimand from his own conscience. Both authors employ the use of particularly evil characters. The main such characters in Lord of the Flies are Jack and Roger. Jack is evil because, escaping from society's conditioning behind a mask of paint, his primal instincts take over, and his lust for blood becomes very obsessive. This escalates into a lust for human blood that can only be described as evil. Nevertheless, Roger seems worse. Sam and Eric describe him as "a terror". He likes to torture people, as we can tell from the screams on top of Castle Rock, and is sadistic, enjoying the "possibilities of irresponsible authority" when controlling a murderous rock, and the feeling "a sense of delirious abandonment" when it is set free. These two characters embody the nature that is within us and under the right circumstances can be released, even from the Head Boy of a God-fearing choir school, in Jack. The key evil character in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is clearly Mr Hyde. ...read more.

Conclusion

Golding uses complex descriptions in setting the scene, which are very graphic, and give the reader a vivid picture of what he saw. In contrast, the dialogue used by such public school educated boys is poor, especially in the case of Piggy. There is much use of slang and mild swearing, and the standard of the dialogue deteriorates with the rest of the story, ending almost monosyllabic. The boys are hindered while on the island by their poor vocabulary and inability to express ideas, and Golding uses it as a device to make sure only Simon knows what he is thinking, and he cannot express his prophetic ideas of evil and the beast. The deterioration of language serves to emphasise the downfall of society. Lord of the Flies is intended for a reasonably well-educated audience because of the long paragraphing, and the depth of symbolism and allusions in the novel, with many complex images of good and evil represented by colours, snakes, certain people, the sow's head, and so on. One example occurs when Simon comes down from the mountain just before his death and says "something about a man on a hill", thus alluding to the death of Jesus Christ. Probably the most significant of these allusions occurs in the title itself. By using the phrase "Lord of the Flies", he links the beast, represented by the sow's head surrounded by flies, to Satan. ...read more.

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