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Lord of the Flies, by William Golding "Show how Golding - by using description of setting, symbolism, and characters - charts the boys' descent into savagery."

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Introduction

Critical Essay - Lord of the Flies, by William Golding * "Show how Golding - by using description of setting, symbolism, and characters - charts the boys' descent into savagery." It is no simple task to form an opinion on this novel, as there are so many intricate aspects to mull over. One of the main aspects is setting - the island. This has been purposefully chosen by Golding because it is isolated and emphasises the fact that the boys have absolutely no contact with the world outside; therefore they must look to themselves for answers to the problems that they encounter and they must make their micro-society thrive, productively and unaided. The island is an awesomely beautiful place; some of Golding's best descriptive writing is of the island, he describes it as 'a motif landscape'. Golding goes on to say, 'The water was clear to the bottom with the efflorescence of tropical weed and coral. A school of tiny, glittering fish flickered hither and thither', but even at this early stage in the book Golding hints towards what is to come; he says that in the distance, beyond the platform there was, 'some act of God - a typhoon perhaps, or the storm that had accompanied Ralph's own arrival. ...read more.

Middle

His school nickname, by which the boys refer to him - Piggy - is also an indicator of many aspects of his personality: he was obviously bullied at school and therefore clings to adults for support and devoid of them he is lost, with no protection from his problems. His name also has a connection with the hunters who have an uncontrollable urge to 'kill the pig': an indirect metaphor to suggest the savage pack of hunters is also killing part of Piggy and therefore what he symbolises - democracy, logic and practicality. Ralph, who, initially, is known as the fair boy, is a great friend and support to Piggy, almost a stepping-stone between the extreme savagery of Jack and his followers and the civilisation and honesty of Piggy. Ralph is the only character on the island close to Jack in physical stature; 'very tall and thin...could make a boxer one day'. This is apposite as these characters embody two contra philosophies of existence in their microcosm of 'civilised' and 'democratic' society, which they left behind. Golding uses Ralph to embody the perfect human at the beginning of the novel; however, later Ralph grows distant from Piggy, the good side, and becomes closer to Jack, the anarchical side of human temperament. ...read more.

Conclusion

Roger is one of the first boys after Jack to start wearing face paint. The paint is yet another symbolic aspect of the novel. It represents the cover-up the beast uses to infiltrate the souls of the boys. The point at which the boys' society plummets from being semi-civilised to being over run by savagery is when the dead parachutist arrives. His arrival is symbolic of the absolute end of any influence from the adult world. His parachute suspends the airman, and blows him around in the wind. This is illustrating prolonged death and showing the reader that the society's descent into savagery in not immediate but prolonged. The descent into savagery puts all the boys under pressure and carves out the differences between them that were present before but did not cause any great problem other than some petty school boy name calling. The characters, such as Piggy, who are less confident and have a lower social status than the other boys are bullied to a greater extent. This illustrates the problem of class discrimination in society as a whole. A further point that singles Piggy and Simon out from the rest of the boys is the fact that they defend their principles. This is symbolic of the fact that, more often than not, standing up for one's principles is a hindrance in life. ...read more.

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