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Ralph says "Things are breaking up I don't understand why. We began well. We were happy" Explain what went wrong on the island and how Golding explores the themes of good and evil.

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Introduction

Ralph says "Things are breaking up I don't understand why. We began well. We were happy" Explain what went wrong on the island and how Golding explores the themes of good and evil. In William Golding's novel 'Lord Of The Flies' he tells the story of a group of boys who are being evacuated from the cities in a fictional nuclear war. Their plane crashes and they find themselves stranded on an island with no adults. Golding weaves many themes into his novel, but the main theme is that of good and evil and the way that evil takes over the boys. He tracks their gradual transformation from well-mannered schoolboys to vicious, ritualistic savages. Early on in the novel there is not much describing the evil of the island but more on the good side, as the boys are much more innocent at the beginning. The island is seen as a paradise, a tropical island for fun and games. "The shore was fledged with palm trees", this quote relates to society's idea of paradise as does the following quote "Clouds of birds rose from the tree-tops". The island is seen as a microcosm of the outside world as it shows the boys' decline into evil as the outside world is in the middle of a war. The boys are on the island because the plane that was evacuating them from Britain during a fictional nuclear war was attacked. Piggy reminds Ralph: "Didn't you hear what the pilot said? About the atom b**b? They're all dead." Ironically, the naval officer who comes to their rescue is himself involved in the war. The boys may have been saved from their own destruction on the island but is the life they are returning to much better? The island shows Golding's fears of what will happen if civilisation is gone. The island is also similar to the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. ...read more.

Middle

He is a dictator and allegorical of Hitler. Most boys don't want to be involved in his tribe, but have no option. He keeps control by intimidating them and bullying them, such as when he ties up and beats Wilfred. Roger is Jack's right hand man and the most evil character on the island. He also rules by fear, and takes delight in teasing the little ones. When Samneric are captured, "Roger advanced upon them as one wielding a nameless authority." Yet even Roger feels threatened by the thought of adults. We know that the civilisation from which they were trying to escape is being destroyed. When Roger stops himself throwing stones at the littluns, we're told, "Roger's arm was conditioned by a civilisation that knew nothing of him and was in ruins." Symbolism is evident throughout 'Lord of the Flies' for both good and evil. The conch is the only truly good symbol on the island, represented in this quote, "He could see a whiteness in the gloom near him..." It shows the conch as a symbol of purity and hope amongst the evil on the island. It signifies democracy as in the assemblies Ralph sets the rule that you are only allowed to talk when you are holding the conch, "I got the conch!" All the boys respect it during Golding's novel until the end when Roger pushes the rock into Piggy; the conch is destroyed as Piggy is murdered. Roger destroys the two symbols of good on the island, Piggy and the conch, and Ralph is left to fend for himself. Piggy's glasses are an important symbol of power and order on the island because when the glasses are destroyed, all order and rules on the island collapse. Piggy is organised and helps make the original rules. He is the most mature character on the island and wants to create a civilised environment on the island. ...read more.

Conclusion

After the war Golding returned to teaching and writing. 'Lord Of The Flies' was his first novel published in 1954, and is still read and enjoyed by people today. The layers of meaning in the novel have been discussed in depth and new meanings are being discovered all of the time. It truly is a timeless novel. 'Lord of the Flies' illustrates the possibility of evil in all things and that unless good is nurtured and encourage evil will take over. People have a choice between good and evil, as the boys on the island did. They struggle with their stiff British upbringing, their savage instincts and the constant rivalry for power on the island. The ongoing feud between Ralph and Jack doesn't cease until the very end of the novel when the naval officer arrives on the island after seeing the fire. He says jokingly, "What have you been doing? Having a war or something?" It is said as a harmless comment but the officer doesn't realise how close to the truth he is. He is deeply shocked when he discovers there have been deaths, "Two? Killed?" It is not until the end when Jack finally resigns power to Ralph, "A little boy who wore the remains of an extraordinary black cap on his red hair and who carried the remains of a pair of spectacles at his waits, started forward, then changed his mind and stood still." Jack realises the horror that he had authorised on the island and feels guilty. The ending is abrupt and brings the reader back to reality with a jolt as we have almost forgotten they are only children, playing at being adults. I don't actually like the ending to 'Lord of the Flies' as I feel it ends too abruptly and doesn't fit with the pace Golding has set during the novel. It's almost as bad as the awful ending to a book when it says, "And then I woke up." I think it almost lets the story down at they end although I do think it gives the desired effect. Rosie Hill ...read more.

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