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How does William Golding use Chapter 1 to Introduce the Themes of the Novel?

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Introduction

How does William Golding use Chapter 1 to Introduce the Themes of the Novel? Lord of The Flies was written by William Golding and was first published in 1954, six years after the end of World War II. By the time the novel was written, the first atomic bomb had been dropped, and the world lay in fear of a total nuclear war, especially as a result of Russian aggression. Golding felt oppressed by the US government - at this time of heightened nerves about Russian spies, the US government had the power to search anything and anywhere at any time, accusing seemingly random people of conspiring against the US. He felt that the only way to express his feelings against this without being accused of conspiring was to write a book, the boys in this a metaphor for many aspects of life, including aggression and instinct, conscience, rationality and maturity. Golding uses boys because he felt that everyone has the potential for evil, including young boys; his intended message and effect being heightened when these "innocent" boys loose all sense of morality and give in to their malevolent and evil side. Golding begins his novel with children being rescued from the scene of what is most likely a nuclear war in England, set sometime in the future. The innocents needed to escape the horrors inflicted during wartime; they needed to flee from man's cruelty to his fellow man. Ironically, on their island paradise, the children slip to a base level of humanity, adorn themselves with war-paint, and inflict death on some of the boys, who were previously their friends. ...read more.

Middle

This quote also shows Jacks attitude to their situation; he thinks that it is all a game, the word "count" making it seem as if there are points to be gained and lost against Ralph. The power of leadership is a virtue that Jack values above almost everything else, even life towards the end of the book - it makes the others listen to him over Jack, holding power that Jack desperately wants. In the last chapter, however, the conch is destroyed, along with Piggy, representing the destruction of democracy and civilisation; from then on Jack's tribe are totally barbaric, fuelled by a primitive desire for blood, and try to kill Ralph - the first time they had purposely attempted to kill a fellow man. Destruction is a theme that appears quite frequently throughout the novel; Ralph, Jack and Simon tip over a huge boulder during their first exploration of the island, which subsequently rips a path through much of the forested section of the island. This is an example of primitive instinct shining through once more, though it is a well known fact that most young boys do things like this for no good reason, other than that it'd be fun. This is also severe short-sightedness; none of them gave a thought to the fact that it could have injured someone had it headed for their base area. It would have also destroyed much of the growth that they would have needed the fruits of. ...read more.

Conclusion

The boys' imaginations tell them it is getting more powerful, so they believe that it does exist, although none of them have got solid evidence. Here Golding is saying that as the Beast grows in power, as it is essentially the evil of man, so does the evil grow - the evil that ends up affecting Piggy and Simon severely: When Simon staggers into the clearing where the rest of the boys, including Ralph and Piggy, are dancing and singing a chant about killing the beast, it isn't surprising that they mob him and murder him, taking him for the beast in a frenzy of mass hysteria. Golding has written a novel which can be seen at many levels. It was his personal fight to warn the world of potential evil - even seemingly innocent children such as those in his book had the capacity for evil, which manifest it's self in the most dramatic, horrifying way, resulting in the deaths of three innocent people, all of whom were more innocent at their end than their killers, Piggy and Simon were attempting to do positive things for their killers, in fact - Simon was confirming the non-existence of the Beast (the irony being that he was killed for being a manifestation of the Beast), Piggy, with Ralph, trying to come to an agreement with Jack. Golding stated that "man produces evil as a bee produces honey". He has shown how the civilisation on the island has broken down into anarchy and terror "because the boys are suffering from the terrible disease of being human". ...read more.

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