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How does 'Lord of the Flies' convey the struggle between good and evil?

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Introduction

How does 'Lord of the Flies' convey the struggle between good and evil? Lord of the Flies is an epic novel about a group of boys stranded on an island without any adult supervision. The story, written around the time of the Cold War (and set at the time of the Second World War), has many references to it, and in some ways is similar to the war. The book is based around the events and actions of the three main characters, Ralph - the democratic leader, Piggy - the intellectual, and Jack - the all-powerful leader. Throughout the book, there is a struggle between good and evil, which these three characters are all based around. There are many objects in the novel that represent different things. Many of these show the struggle between good and evil. One of the most important objects is the conch that Piggy and Ralph find in the opening chapter. They use the conch to call the others, and to gain order after the plane crash. The conch represents order on the island, e.g. 'Now the shell was no longer a thing seen but not to be touched.' (Chapter 1) Without the conch, havoc would be wreaked upon the island. The fire on top of the mountain represents hope to the children, a chance to escape off of the island and back to civilisation. Without the fire, there is very little chance of the children being rescued, and morale would be a lot lower for the elder children. The beast, which is first sighted in the second chapter by one of the 'litluns', is not really a creature, but it is actually the fear inside every boy on the island. ...read more.

Middle

Jack could be described as a dictator as he is all-powerful and treats everyone below him badly, as we shall see later on in the book. If Jack does become leader, it means that evil has won the struggle against good, as now they are not as likely to be rescued. In Chapter Six, the divisions between Jack and Ralph are apparent, but do not expand greatly. However, Sam and Eric, while looking after the fire, think they see the beast, and alert everyone else, although they did not really see a beast. Everyone is now quite scared. This again illustrates how the fear inside them makes them imagine to see a beast, and make everyone nervous and tense. This episode shows that evil (their fear) has more effect on the boys than good (their common sense that there is no such thing as a beast.) The group goes on a search around the island to try and locate the beast. Instead, what they find is what Jack describes as a 'fort'. Roger starts rolling rocks over the cliff, this could hit someone, but luckily this time none did. Jack wants to move up to the fort, he is fascinated by it. Ralph tells them that thy must go and tend to the fire, but Jack wants to stay. There is tension, as Ralph (the chief) has ordered Jack to do something that he is reluctant to do. Fortunately for Ralph, Jack decides to obey him this time showing that Ralph (Good) still has some power over Jack (evil). In Chapter seven, Ralph, Jack and Roger climb the mountain in search for the beast. At the top, they all think they see the beast, so run away as fast as they can. ...read more.

Conclusion

To start with, Ralph is chief and rules fairly over the island, but there are frequent arguments with evil. At the end of one of these arguments, Jack breaks one of Piggy's lenses, making him half blind. Jack also prevents the boys from being rescued as he let the fire go out when there was a ship nearby. Jack and the choir look more evil when they turn into savages by using face paints. Piggy could never be a savage, as for some reason his hair never grows. After more arguments, Jack decides to split from Ralph and starts his own group, clearly showing the divisions on the island. At his feast, they mistakenly kill Simon, one of Ralph's followers who was coming down the mountain to tell them about his discovery about the beast, when he was mistaken for the beast. He represents Christ, dying when trying to help others. Jack converts many of the followers of Ralph (good) to his tribe (evil). Jack raids Ralph's camp, breaking Piggy's glasses in an attempt to steal them. Piggy is now blind, and struggling to survive. When Ralph confront Jack about this, Roger throws a rock over the cliff, which lands on Piggy, killing him and also destroying the conch, therefore destroying any chance of order on the island. Sam and Eric are captured; showing that good is really struggling to survive as only Ralph remains. They hunt for Ralph the next day, and nearly kill him, but Ralph falls at the feet of a navy officer, who restores order to the island and wipes out any evil influences. Therefore, the 'Lord of the Flies' shows the struggle between good and evil in many ways, using a lot of symbolism. In the end, good manages to vanquish evil. Graeme Bingham 11MN 02/05/07 20th Century Prose ...read more.

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