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

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Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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