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Select one chapter from Lord of the Flies and assess its importance to the novel as a whole.

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Introduction

October 24th 2003 Jaspreet Kular L5a Assignment 1 Unit 7 Literature Coursework: Prose post 1914: Lord of the Flies Select one chapter from Lord of the Flies and assess its importance to the novel as a whole. This essay will be looking at chapter six of Lord of the Flies (Beast from Air), and its importance in terms to the rest of the novel. The essay will consider the plot, characters of the chapter, structure/style of writing, the language, setting and themes of the chapter. This sixth chapter is appropriately titled "Beast from Air". The beast is literally a dead airman who drops onto the island by parachute. But he is more than just a lifeless human being; the airman is the signal from the world of society and grown-ups that Ralph and Piggy had wished for. Sardonically, the only sign that civilization still exists outside the island comes in the form of a dead man from a dying world that is being destroyed by war. It is a completely negative image. On a metaphorical level, the image becomes less harsh. The dead airman can be observed as the 'fallen man' (sinful man) snarled in the tree of life. His head is light, dipping up and down with no thought, and his body is crumpled, overpowered by life. Simon, who is often depicted as a Christ figure, comes to the airman's rescue he 'literally' saves him from entanglement in the tree of life. ...read more.

Middle

His character represents order, leadership, and civilization in the novel. Golding uses Ralph to represent the ideal human; someone who does well but is not so out-of-touch that he can't relate to typical human temptations. This chapter uses many symbols to represent ideas and concepts important within the novel. The most significant symbol in the chapter is the parachutist. It symbolises the end of adult supervision of the boys on the island. This shows that society's rules and democracy is failing and starting to crumble on the island. A good example of this in the chapter is when Jack speaks out against the conch: 'Conch! Conch! We don't need the conch anymore. We know who ought to say things.' Jack has spoken out strongly against the power of the conch, and democracy, that this is a pivotal point in the novel. The airman stands for the loss of civilisation and slow decline of old ways in the boys' new society. Civilisation has died and cannot be saved. This tells us the boys were preoccupied with events on the island. They were no longer children of the Old World, nor did they care for it, they were now children of the island. The dead man was no longer one of them, but an outsider, who did not matter. The symbol of the parachutist brings up another important symbol in the chapter and novel, the island. The Lord of the Flies takes place on an island during a nuclear war sometime in the future and the night time battle that takes place at the beginning of the chapter serves as more evidence that a war is going on in the outside world. ...read more.

Conclusion

Ralph remains focused on the clear objective of keeping the fire burning to alert possible passing ships, while Jack is dedicated to only those pursuits that allow him to behave in a vicious manner. From the very start of the novel Jack takes a certain dislike to Ralph, although this may be small at first; as Jack has always been jealous of Ralph for being elected to become the island's leader. However further on into the novel we see a reversal of changes with Jack's status among the boys consistently increasing, while Ralph's status declines. Within this it can be foreseen of the coming trouble between these two characters. An interpretation of this chapter can be made. So far, the beast has only supposedly seen by the littluns, but now Sam and Eric have also claimed to have seen the beast. A search takes place to find the beast, but Jack begins manipulating the boys' fear of the beast so as to gain a firm hold over them. His is the best hunter they have, who else is better than him to hunt and kill the beast? Little do the boys realise, that if they to go down the same path that Jack is leading them they all become beast-like. Only Simon is the one to understand fully what the beast is and that it is not a creature, but a paranormal force which is beginning to grow in some of the boys. In conclusion, I believe chapter six 'Beast from Air' is an important chapter for its small, key details and elements of prophesy within the plot of the chapter. ...read more.

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