In the novel, ‘The Lord of the flies’ the story begins in the aftermath of a plane crash in the Pacific Ocean during an unnamed war in which a group of English school boys are isolated on what they assume to be an island, under no adult supervision they are left to fend for themselves, create their own friendships and fight their own battles. Where as in the film, although this also happens, we are able to see what the characters actually look like and how they react to the situation in being in an island. Here, we are able to visually see their reaction, which makes it easier for us to analyse how the characters are feeling. However, in the book, Golding does not tell us how they react, instead he focuses mainly on Piggy’s character which makes it more difficult for us to find out what they think of being on the island. I think that Golding focuses more on Piggy, as later on in the film he relates Piggy and the killing of the pig together.
Golding tries to teach us and warn us of the evil nature of mankind. He shows this through the book in that we are evil and that it is only society that keeps us from committing crimes. However, the film gives us a better idea in how the characters act, to different situations. We can visually see this through their facial reactions and there behaviour towards Simon’s death. The director cleverly uses filmic techniques, when Simon is murdered. This is shown when we see a close up of him floating away from the island in the river. It suggests to us that the ‘goodness’ has left the island. In a way, the film makes us more clear about what happens in various events in the ‘Lord of the Flies’. For example, in the book, we do not know who or what the beast actually is when the boys attack it, as Golding tries to make out as if it is some sort of animal.
…”A thing was crawling out of the forest”…
However, in the film, we know that it is Simon, as we see his face appearing through the jungle. The book leaves us with cliffhangers, which, in a way makes us think about what the author in trying to convey, but it also puzzles us at the same time.
The Lord of the Flies takes place on an island during World War II. This is significant since the isolation forms a sort of civilization and community from the real world. From the film, at the same time, we can see that the island lacks a society and the societal laws and rules. This allows the boys to run wild and show their true, ugly, inner selves. This is also shown in Simon’s death, were even though the boys have committed a murder, they still think that it was an accident
… “It was dark. There was that bloody dance, we were scared…”
Here, in the film, we are able to get a better sense of the behaviour of the children, during Simon’s death. In addition, the use of the thunderstorm in the book and film adds to Simon’s fear of the other children and we were able to see the animalistic behaviour within the children. But as we can see and hear the thunderstorm in the film, it adds to our interest as well the look on Simons face. Whereas in the novel, we are not able to see Simons fear. Here I think that Golding tries to suggest that rules reflect our world and that without them, there would be no organisation and order.
Furthermore, in the film, the setting is used less to create a mood than to put the characters in a particular situation. For example, when Simon comes out from the jungle and he is attacked, the boys think that he is the Beast. When we think of a dangerous animal, we usually visualise them being in forests of jungles. Here the setting in which, the murder took place, in a way helped the boys to commit the murder, as they thought that it was actually an animal. Therefore, the director, Peter Brook, tries to shows the setting as being symbolical, this gives us ideas about how the different settings of the ‘Lord of the Flies’ can help or influence to change a persons behaviour and how they act to different situations. However, in the novel, the island is shown to be just a setting, which does not enhance our knowledge of why things have taken place in the story.
This book traces the faults in society to the faults in the individual person. Golding tries to show that people have evil inside them and if society is taken away, then the inner nature comes out. This is shown through symbolism. One-way, the director, Peter Brook tries to show this is through the use of sound, in the film. At the beginning of the film when we see the children we hear choir sounds. However, as time passes in the film, the music is changed to a more horrific, fearful sound. This suggests to us, that the inner evil of the children has been revealed. The use of sound enhances out perception of the children, and develops our ideas, in that the society a person lives in can influence or change the way they act and behave. We are unable to see this in the Novel.
In the novel Golding frequently uses imagery to describe the scenery and the setting. An example of this, occurs in the first passage where Golding’s writes,
… ” The last few feet of rock and began to pick his way towards the lagoon”…
However, in the film, we are visually able to see the island, which gives us a better description and observation of it. In a way, we can visualise our selves actually in the island. This aspect also relates back to the use of sound in the film, as when something happens to the island itself, i.e. the big fire at the end, we can hear the sound and noises of it, which interests us more as well as helps us to observe how the characters are feeling.
Golding uses a lot of symbolism through out the book. A symbol Golding uses throughout the book is the conch. It represents authority and order. The person holding the conch has the power, and it creates order and rules. In the film, we are able to see what the conch looks like, and how the children eventually reject it. In addition, we are able to see what sound the conch makes. The fact that in the film, we can see that Ralph always holds the conch wherever he goes shows us that, he has always believed that talking and the lack of violence can create order. In the book, we can only visualise about the conch. However, this may be an advantage, as the reader may picture the conch, in the way they want to.
Another symbol is Piggy’s glasses. It symbolized knowledge and insight. While Piggy had them, he was able to give advice to the group, such as that of the signal fire. It was the glasses that created the fire. However, after the glasses are broken, the group loses what insight they had. In the film, we can see that piggy glasses are a big symbolism, as at the end Ralph tries to find Jack, who has stolen the glasses. He wants to get them back. When this scene appears in the film, Ralph only wants the glasses and nothing else, but in the novel, Ralph also speaks about the fire.
…. “Oh, yes. Then about the fire” …
Here Peter Brook has left out some scenes from the Novel, as he wants the audience to know that Piggys glasses are somewhat important. This also suggests to us that the glasses must obviously symbolise something. This technique of adding and deleting scenes is very effective, because it keeps the audience more interested – too many boring scenes may make the viewers uninterested. The director has also deleted some of the long speeches where characters have spoken, for instance in the Novel, when Ralph speaks out to be voted as the leader. This is also proved to be effective, also due to the same reason stated above.
The war paint is also a symbol. In a way, it symbolises masks and that the children reveal there true inner selves. These symbolisms are more boldly shown, in the film. As we can visually see which materials are used to paint the children’s faces, and how Piggys glasses are broken. The symbolism adds another level to the enjoyment of the story, but as we can physically see the symbols in the film, we can get a sense of what they actually represent or show.
The beast obviously, plays an important part in “The Lord of the Flies”. In the beginning of the book, a littlun told the others that he saw a beast in the jungle starting everyone’s fears. Golding tries to show us that the beast is an animal. Here we have different perceptions on what the beast is. Whereas, in the film, we can visually see that the beast, is actually a parachutist and human. This symbolizes that what they should be scared of is not some evil creature, but their own selves and other humans. Because the boys’ behaviour is what brings the beast into existence, the more savagely they act, the more real the beast seems to become. However, the fact that we see that the beast is actually a human and a parachute in the film, perhaps makes it less clear to us what the beast really symbolizes. This technique, in revealing to us what the beast is, is less effective, than what happens in the Novel. In this way, the different descriptions of the beast can differ, as it depends whether the individual has read the novel or actually seen it. Here the director adds scenes to interest the reader more – this is when we actually see the parachute and human.
As a conclusion, I think that the techniques that the director, Peter Brook uses in the film are more effective and shows a better perception of the aspects within the story, than the Novel, by Golding does. Here, we are able to develop our ideas and suggests what things symbolize more easily. In addition, we can understand the outline of the story with fewer problems. However, some aspects within the film also make us unclear about what things are meant to show. This is shown above where I have stated about the scene on revealing the beast as being a human and parachute. Overall the book and film do use different techniques to show the events, and I think that the most effective techniques used in the film, is the use of sound and symbolism. I think that the murders add to a nice touch to the story since they are both dramatic and moving. The symbolism adds another level to the enjoyment, however, as we can physically see the murders in the film and observe the characters reactions, it makes it more clear to us why things have and haven’t been used in the film and why we make different perceptions of aspects within ‘The Lord of the flies’.