Lord of the Flies is a classic novel by William Golding, based on the civilisation and savagery within the human race. As soon as I came across the name as well as the bloody image of the pig on the front cover, I realised that this book would be quite intense. Alongside being intense, the novel is very addictive and I have read the book three times.
At the beginning of the novel, we come across a group of British Boys whose plane has been shot down and crashes onto an uninhabited island. The curious young minds of these children are let loose and they develop what Golding referred to as ‘human nature’s darker side.’ Golding created a handful of characters with extremely distinct personalities and each character symbolising the different sides of human nature.
I think there are four main characters that play an important role in the novel. These characters are Jack, Simon, Ralph and Piggy. The first three characters I mentioned are those in Coral Island, an inspirational children’s story from which Golding made the basis to Lord of the Flies.
Jack is a striking character and he thrusts feelings of anger upon everyone and is arrogant by nature. In my opinion, this characteristic is a microcosm of the real people we come across in this world. Jack’s freckled face is described as “ugly without silliness.” By this description, I began to have my reservations about this character. This was due to Golding’s extremely persuasive way of making you create a judgement of the character without having read about them in detail.
Ralph is at first seen as a playful and thoughtless boy. However, when he faces reality that he is stuck on a stranded island with no obvious way of getting back home he immediately takes the role of leader. After Ralph was elected leader there started to become a division in the boys, which often happens in reality, disagreements lead to break ups. The consequences are later explained.
Piggy is from a lower class background. He is extremely intelligent and relies on his scientific values.
My favourite character has to be Simon. He is the youngest of the boys, he is very pleasant, and he does good deeds for everyone. He is helpful and he helps build a fire (a method of rescue).
He “found for them (little ‘uns) fruit they could not reach.” He is like the very few people in this world who set about helping others in proportion to the evil on the island as well as in the world. He is almost a Christ like figure and he thinks spiritually which I admire about him.
The novel became more dramatic over the chapters. Chapter 8 and 9 are very powerful. I learnt a lot about myself as well as the depth of destruction and even civilisation within us as humans.
Chapter 8 concludes with Simon strolling in the forest. He confronts his fear, which is a key issue in “Lord of the Flies.” When Jack created his clan, he started carrying out rituals of killing pigs. After one particular gruesome killing, Jack stuck a pig’s head at the end of a stick sharpened at both ends known to be the Lord of the Flies. Simon felt that in order to move on as it were he had to confront his fears about himself and the Lord of the Flies. Here we discover the revelation that Golding had been trying to convey through the novel.
“You knew, didn’t you/ I’m part of you? Close, close, close! I’m the reason why it’s no go.”
These are the words that Simon imagines the Lord of the Flies saying. Here the statement implies that the beast, a monster that the boys’ thought existed outside of them is actually an internal part of humanity. So, I was actually quite surprised to find this out that there is actually evil in absolutely everyone but with others, it is controllable to an extent. This theory was proven later on in the book when the brutal murder of Simon is carried out.
“Kill the beast, cut his throat! Spill his blood!”
Jack’s tribe encourage the killing and everyone becomes seemingly excited over the killing. Even Ralph and Piggy who we once thought were “good” were deeply engaged in the murder. The ritual is very detailed and it actually scares you that humanity actually can go that far and brutality is common. I feel we are losing our civilisation as a nation and this book is just an observation and a display of how costly this is. I think differently about people now and generally confronting myself is a key thing I learnt.
Golding has a deep imagination and a great sense of awareness and he proved this through his writing. I think he taught just about everybody what the real people we spend our everyday lives with are really like no matter what our judgements may be. I recommend this novel to everyone; it is enjoyable and knowledgeable.