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What role does the corruption of innocence play in 'Turn of the screw' by Henry James and 'Lord of the Flies' by William Golding?

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Introduction

What role does the corruption of innocence play in 'Turn of the screw' by Henry James and 'Lord of the Flies' by William Golding? In the books Lord of the Flies and Turn of the screw, the corruption of innocence is used to show how easily evil can manifest itself in children. In Lord of the Flies, a group of young children are abandoned on an island with no adult supervision. They are convinced there is a beast on the island. This is the source of the evil, which eventually causes the group to start arguing and completely split up. In Turn of the Screw, a young woman is hired to look after two young children, Miles and Flora. She is convinced she can see the ghosts of Peter Quint and Miss Jessel who used to look after the children. This slowly sends the woman mad and she kills Miles, trying to prove what she sees. In both books there is a corrupting force. In Lord of the Flies, the beast represents this. The beast brings fear to the children on the island, especially the littluns. ...read more.

Middle

Light and dark plays a big part in the books. Day and night is a main theme throughout both books. In Lord of the Flies, the parachutist arrives at night. "The darkness again and stars ... a figure dropping swiftly from a parachute." The significance of this coming at night is that the boys have less control over what they can do. Things are less visible at night and it makes things look a lot worse than they actually are. This shows evil has already started to corrupt the children. The children automatically think the parachutist is the beast. If the children were still at their most innocent, it wouldn't have affected them in the way that it did. They would have been more likely to check out what was on the mountain before jumping to conclusions. They would have at least waited until morning to see what was up there. Another thing related with light and dark which plays a big part in both in both the books is fire and flames. In Lord of the Flies, the boys spent a lot of time making and keeping a fire alight on top of the mountain. ...read more.

Conclusion

This would make us think that the nurse was convinced that the children could see the ghosts, even though she has no real proof. In Lord of the Flies, nature is one of the main themes. The island is partially covered in creepers. The littluns think this is where the beast or beastie is coming from. " ' He says in the morning it turned into them things like ropes in the trees...'" The older boys try to explain there is no beast, but the littluns won't believe them. It is quite ironic that later on in the book they are all scared of the beast. The beast is the evil on the island, so the first mention of the beast would be where they first started to lose their innocence. This is right at the beginning of the book, soon after they all first met up. In conclusion, the corruption of innocence plays a big role by showing how quickly the children were corrupted. And how the force of evil is corrupting the innocent children, showing the power of it. However we don't know whether it is the beast and ghosts or just what is going on in the people's minds. William Golding once said, "The only enemy of man is inside him." ...read more.

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