Lord of the Flies Essay

“The Lord of the Flies” – Paper Chaos: (n) A state of utter confusion or disorder; a total lack of organization or order. This explanation of a five letter word does not even begin to describe the situation that a group of British school boy experienced on an uninhibited island. They soon learn not long after landing on the island, that evil has a way of moving in for the kill, even if not visible. Evil exists within everyone and in the absence of rules; this evil side can take over, resulting in chaos.

In the story, “The Lord of the Flies,” by William Golding, the tale of pure chaos is expressed through distinct symbolism, a graphic setting and vivid characterization. William Golding uses symbolism several times in his story to support the theme. The most discussed symbol in the book has to be the conch shell. From the beginning of the boys’ arrival, the conch shell was a symbol of authority and power. When the boys wanted to say something, they needed the power of the conch to be heard over the rest of the group.

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The system of using the conch worked for a long time, and when all the boys respected it, order was present. By the end of the story, the conch is destroyed. “… the conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist,(P. 181, The Lord of the Flies). ” And with the conch, goes all of the sanity in the tribe. The beastie that the children are afraid of is a symbol of the evil that is in each of them. They think that they can hunt it down; when they group itself is what’s killing them. And last, the lightness and darkness is a symbol in the book for the evil that is building in the group.

In the beginning of the story the island is described as a beautiful place that is covered in sunshine and warmth. As the book goes in, Golding quits talking about its beauty and describes it as a dark and scary place and that there are storms and that the island is basically hell. Symbolism is a big part in this book, especially when Golding is trying to get across the level of evil that rests in the tribe. The setting tells a lot about the environment that pushes the boys to extremes, and it also helps to support the theme.

The island is completely deserted, which at first poses as a great thing for the boys. “No adults! (P. 8). ”, said Piggy when he found out there were no adults on the island. But in time this would serve as a very big problem for all the boys. The boys first all stay together on the shore where they cook their food and sleep. By the end of the book however, Jack and the hunters go to live on Castle Rock where there are really no rules, otherwise known as chaos. In the beginning of the book also, the island was described as being beautiful, tropical and sunny.

By the end however it talked more about fire and destruction. Clearly, the setting brought about most of the problems on the island, which is why it is so important to the theme. The characterization in the story plays a huge role in the book and in the theme. Roger is apart of the choir and is Jack’s main follower. But as the story moves on, Roger becomes more of a voice in Jack’s head telling him what to do. He gets more and more physical too and finally ends up killing Piggy. Jacks character carries some irony in it.

In the beginning of the book he talks about how no one (at least in his choir) will become savages because of living on the island. “ We’re Englishmen! ” P. 42. ), says Jack. As the story evolves, Jack’s group especially, becomes extreme savages. And finally there is Piggy, who, through it all, always saw the goal of getting home and refused to get wrapped up in the fights and pointless killing sprees the hunters had. Piggy’s role in the book was to keep the boys together, and even when they all fell apart, he kept trying to pick up the pieces.

By the end of the book when Piggy dies, the whole group is set up for disaster. For Piggy was the only boy who knew what was best for the entire tribe. All of these characters are very different, and they each play a different role in the evil takeover, and in the theme. Evil exists within everyone and especially in the absence of rules; this evil side inside of us can take over, resulting in pure chaos. This statement is proved true several times throughout the book using symbolism, setting and characterization. For such a short definition, that little five letter word has a lot of meaning packed into it.


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