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Lord of the Flies - William Gerard Golding

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Introduction

Lord of the Flies Author: William Gerard Golding Title: Lord of the flies Publisher and edition: Faber and Faber London - Boston 1993 First published: 1954 Outline After an atomic bomb attack on England a group of British boys, all between six and twelve years old are evacuated by aeroplane and dropped on an uninhabited island somewhere in the tropics. The plane goes down in flames, so that no one in the world knows where the boys are. Ralph uses the conch-shell found by Piggy to assemble the boys and establish some kind of organization. His rival Jack wants to be leader, but the boys vote for Ralph. In order to pacify Jack, Ralph decides that Jack and his group of former choir-boys shall be hunters and provide them all with meat. Ralph, Piggy, Simon, the twins Sam and Eric, and some other boys are to build shelters against the rain and the wind. The hunters undertake the task of looking after the fire which the boys light on a hill-top by means of Piggy's spectacles. The smoke sent up by the fire is their only chance of being rescued. ...read more.

Middle

When Simon staggers into their midst and drops on all fours, the frenzied dancers take him to be the Beast. While a terrible thunderstorm breaks over the island they beat, tear and claw him to death. Jack and his tribe fortify themselves on a high cliff, leaving the beach to Ralph, Piggy and the others. Needing Piggy's remaining glass to make fire, Jack's savages attack them at night and carry it off. The next morning Ralph and Jack face each other for the final show-down. Piggy is killed by a rock. Sam and Eric are forced to join Jack's tribe. All alone now, Ralph is hunted by the savages who are out for his blood. Just as they are about to kill him, a British cruiser comes to the rescue. As if by magic, the bloodthirsty hunters are transformed into the little boys they used to be. Characterization Ralph, the hero, would have been the just, reasonable leader in different circumstances. Brave and great-hearted, yet weak and helpless, he attempts to create an organized society and makes valiant efforts to establish law and order, even if he feels the temptation of perfect freedom. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is applied to the central symbol of the book, the sow's head, which suggests the decay, destruction and demoralization that are essential parts of Golding' s theme. The levels of meaning As its primary level the book may be read as a thrilling adventure story. Golding's treatment of the theme turns it into a satire of man's failure to cope with his own primitive instincts. At a third level we find what is perhaps the most powerful element in Golding's story: a bitter tragedy of 'the end of innocence and the darkness of man's heart'. Source The book is based on Coral Island, an adventure tale written for boys by R.M. Ballantyne in 1858. In Ballantyne's story, which reflects the liberal optimism prevailing in Victorian England, three boys are cast away on a desert island. They civilize the natives, stamp out cannibalism and set an example of Western enlightenment. Coral Island voices the nineteenth-century belief in progress and evolution. Golding writes a terrifying comment on the ideas that form the basis of Ballantyne's tale. The virtues of the British boys now appear to be no more than a thin veneer which hides the destructive savagery and bestiality underneath. The reign of blood and terror established by Jack calls up memories of the Nazi Regime. ...read more.

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