• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss the Theme of Loss and Absence in ‘Lord Of The Flies’

Extracts from this document...


Alex Cresswell 11-01 Discuss the Theme of Loss and Absence in 'Lord Of The Flies' William Golding's novel explores many themes, in terms of what aspects of the boys' previous lives are either absent or lost. One of the main aspects throughout the story, which is particularly obvious at the beginning of the novel, is the loss of social boundaries, such as rules and authority. Ironically, the fact that the boys are stranded on a desert island highlights the fact that they are now restricted by physical boundaries. The fact that the novel concentrates on the effects of the loss of social restrictions, and not the effects of physical restrictions as well, helps the reader to focus on a single concept. The boys lose their civilised attitudes as the story progresses. Just as a body decomposes over time, so does the innocence of the boys on the island, and this metaphor is present in the form the dead parachutist for most of the story. The act of him falling from the sky reflects the moment when the boys' inevitable fate begins to fall into place, and his gradual decomposition symbolises the slow but sure descent into anarchy. ...read more.


This line illustrates their way of thinking perfectly. They quickly begin to take advantage of this fact, although earlier on in the novel, even the future savages are still subconsciously aware of what constitutes right and wrong, and the recollection of social limitations. The best example of this can be found with Roger in Chapter 4, "...there was a space around Henry, perhaps six yards in diameter, into which he dare not throw. Here, invisible yet strong, was the taboo of the old life. Round the squatting child was the protection of parents and school and policemen and the law. Roger's arm was conditioned by a civilization that knew nothing of him and was in ruins." The boys soon realise 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. As the respect for the conch is lost, so is law and order on the island. When the ship passes by early in the story, it is a sign that after that point, the boys cannot be saved. This means that they are unlikely to ever get another chance to be rescued, but also means that they themselves, as human ...read more.


The loss of civilisation promotes this degeneration. This is a strong message, and so the use of Ralph contrasting his earlier strong and dependable self is Golding's method of hammering it across. Ralph experiences a loss of innocence, and discovers and weeps for "the darkness of man's heart", which enables him to fight becoming savage. The boys are conditioned, at first; to do nothing exceptionally wicked because, although there are no adults, the fear of the law is still present to some extent. Maurice still feels "the unease of wrongdoing", though he knows there is no grown-up to punish him. As time passes with the absence of these rules, they impose less upon the boys' pursuit of "fun", which is one of their main objectives. It is interesting that Golding decides to focus on a group of boys rather than a mixture of both sexes. The message he could be trying to portray is that boys are much more power hungry and perhaps less aware of consequences than girls. The absence of girls prevents a situation in which sexual tensions between characters could 'cloud' the underlying story and how it develops. Also, there is the possibility that this was much more intentional that it originally appears, in the sense that Golding may be trying to say something about men alone rather than humans in general. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE William Golding section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE William Golding essays

  1. Themes, Motifs, and Symbols - Themes are the fundamental concepts addressed and explored in ...

    In Ralph's opinion, the hunters ought to help with the hut building rather than stalking uselessly through the forest. Jack protests that the work of the hunters is central to the group's survival, because the boys need meat to eat.

  2. Compare how the authors present and use the concept of the island setting in ...

    Even when Crusoe reflects on the island he designs a list of good vs. evil. His rational thinking allows him to contain himself and continue to act in a way which he feels will repent his sins. This is similar thinking to that of the new age Defoe was writing in, the age of rationalism and enlightenment.

  1. Piggy In ‘Lord of The Flies’ Compared With ‘The Signalman’

    They both get killed and so after they are killed there names are not relevant but people remember their nickname. Piggy has been named after his looks but the signalman has been named after his occupation. Piggy's death may have been an accident but it more than defiantly was not.

  2. Reacting against Victorian optimism and to the horrors of the 20th Century, William Golding ...

    The British army had colonised most of the once 'savage' world, and brought civilisation to these people. The boys are all from a middle-class Victorian background. The book was written to mirror and please the Victorian assumptions of the period.

  1. Examine the ways in which Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’ and Golding’s ‘Lord of ...

    This is showed by how when Jack, Simon and Ralph find the 'candle buds', Jack acts aggressive with them "Jack slashed one of them open with his knife and its scent spilled over them." He didn't just cut them open; he 'slashed' them.

  2. Frankenstein and Lord of the Flies were written in different centuries. Analyse the similarities ...

    Even Frankenstein, the 'creatures' creator '...dreaded to behold' him. They both become isolated and victimised because other people see them as being different; this creates a feeling of sympathy towards both characters throughout the books. They also both have no parents as Piggy's "...dad's dead, and [his] mum", and the 'creature' said: "No father has watched my infant days, no mother had blessed me with smiles and caresses."

  1. A comparative study of jack in ‘Lord of the Flies’ and Heathcliff in ‘Wuthering ...

    The water was warmer than his blood.' Heathcliff is one of the main characters in 'Wuthering Heights.' On his arrival all apart from Mr Earnshaw, who had brought him back home with him, instantly disliked him. Cathy and Hindley refused for him to sleep in their room and when they

  2. Compare two different film versions of Simon’s death in the novel ‘Lord Of The ...

    During this scene Brooks has a Medium close-up shot of Simon and the parachutist and holds the shot for 2-3 seconds to create a type of crescendo for the audience. This puts the audience in suspense, as they are interested to know what the rest of the boys would make of this.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work