Various Essays On Goldings "Lord Of The Flies"1. Given that Piggy represents society and its rules, he must have found his situation on the island disturbing at the least. At first, there is no organized social structure of any kind; no position of leadership existed. There was an absence of rules. This must have been very disturbing to Piggy. Then, as the story progresses, a sort of chain of leadership emerges with Ralph being voted as "chief." "Ralph raised his hand for silence. All right. Who wants Jack for chief?' With dreary obedience the choir raised their hands. Who wants me?' Every hand outside the choir except Piggy's was raised immediately. Then, Piggy too, raised his hand grudgingly into the air. Ralph counted. I'm chief then.'"(LoF p21). Then, a little bit later, Ralph brings up the idea of rules: "Jack was on his feet. We'll have rules!' he cried excitedly. Lots of rules! Then when anyone breaks them-'"(LoF p33). When the "hunters" kill their first pig is when we start to see signs of a more primal society, or lack thereof. They repeat the chant, "Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood." Piggy obviously if fed up with Jack and his hunters, asking, "What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages? What's grownups going to think?'"(LoF p.91). And then, Ralph's authority is challenged by Jack. Jack first disregards the rule of letting the person with conch speak without interruption. Then he directly challenges Ralph, saying, "And you shut up! Who are you, anyway? Sitting there, telling people what to do. You can't hunt, you can't sing-'"(LoF p91). From this confrontation is goes downhill on the island. On pg. 114, a "game" gets a little out of hand, when Robert pretends to be the pig, and the others pretend to hunt him, but then they become more serious and actually hurt him. He is not killed, however. Eventually, Jack and some of the other boys split apart from Ralph and his "group." Jack and his hunting band kill another pig savagely, reveling in its agony. The "peak of their decline" was when they killed Simon, calling him a beast, during the storm. Then Piggy is killed, and the conch is shattered, and that is when I consider them to be at the absolute lowest in society: nothing more than savages.
2. In the novel, Sam and Eric are introduced early as two separate people, beings, that resemble one entity. "Even while he blew, Ralph noticed the last pair of bodies that reached the platform above a fluttering patch of black. The two boys, bullet-headed, with hair like tow, flung themselves down and lay grinning and panting at Ralph like dogs. They were twins, and the eye was shocked and incredulous at such cheery duplication. They breathed together, they grinned together, they were chunky and vital" (LoF p19). After a while, the twins are treated almost as one being. An example of this can be found when Jack says, "Samneric. Get me a coconut. An empty one"(LoF p63). They become inseparable, and wherever one is, the other is always close by. It seems almost impossible for each to do something independently; they do everything together, as one. "They were the twins, on duty at the fire. In theory one should have been asleep and one on watch. But they could never manage to do things sensibly if that meant acting independently, and since staying awake all night was impossible, they had both gone to sleep" (LoF p96). The twins even finish each others' sentences. When speaking, a person must have the conch, and no one else is supposed to speak. But when one of the twins has the conch, both are allowed to speak. "He handed the conch to Eric, the nearest of the twins. We've seen the beast with our own eyes. No--we weren't asleep--' Sam took up the story. By custom now one conch did for both twins, for their substantial unity was recognized"(LoF p100). The purpose of the twins in the novel is not so easily stated, but I think that at least part of it is to show the instinct of self-preservation, and how that combats with the will to help others. When Sam and Eric are forced to join Jack's "tribe", they leave Ralph on his own. Later, Ralph shows up and they warn him, give him some meat, but refuse to go with him, even though, according to Ralph, "three have a chance." They fear for themselves more than for Ralph, and they help him, but not so much that it would endanger them. The theme of Lord of the Flies seems to be an attempt to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature. In this, it seems that Sam and Eric, each being a prefect replica of the other, show the human nature that is self-preservation, and the fall of society can be attributed to the caring of man for himself over others. Until man can truly care about others over himself, society can never truly be complete, because each person, no matter what, will always strive for personal survival and success.
3. In Lord of the Flies, Jack is a character obsessed with power and an almost animal-like hunger for killing and blood. Roger is described as, "a slight, furtive boy whom no one knew, who kept to himself with an inner intensity of avoidance and secrecy"(LoF p22). Throughout the novel, the character of Roger is not described in-depth, and he is not mentioned as frequently as others. Despite this, he comes across as a sort of vice-leader to Jack, especially later in the book. The statement, "There is no Jack without a Roger" means two things to me. My first thought is that it is very general term, using two characters from the novel to illustrate its point. That point would be that for every person like Jack, every power-hungry leader, there is another person willing to assist them in exchange for his own, though less, share of power. My second though is that the statement refers to Jack as the leader, the person willing to take charge, wanting to control, and Roger represents the "common man", for lack of a better term. For all of the Rogers in the world, there are only a few Jacks, to lead them, to control them. And so if you take away the Roger, the Jack has no one to lead, no one to control. What would Jack do if he had no tribe of which to be chief? It's like having a President, but no country. Also, in the book, Roger is somewhat of a natural sadist, and become the official torturer and executioner for the tribe. So the statement could also mean for every Jack who leads, there must be a person, a Roger, willing to enforce Jack's decisions, a kind of police, or maybe gestapo.
4. In Lord of the Flies, politics are an integral part of the story. Ralph, a leader, is elected at the beginning, and eventually, Jack splits off and forms his own "tribe"and becomes their leader. So you have two factions, basically opposing one another, although not always. However, although Jack and his tribe form a group, they are more a group of anarchists. It's very complicated, but they oppose Ralph and his small group, who represent the remaining civility. Piggy is the brain in the novel, and when his spectacles are shattered it marks the decline of rational influence. As for religion, there is no clearly defined religion in the novel. There are, however, close resemblances. One example is when Jack sticks the pig's head on the stake and puts the stake into the ground. He leaves it as a "gift" for "the beast", strikingly similar to a primitive native making an offering to appease a god. "Jack held up the head and jammed the soft throat down on the pointed end of the stick which pierced through into the mouth. He stood back and the head hung there, a little blood dribbling down the stick. . .Jack spoke loudly. This head is for the beast. It's a gift.'"(LoF p137). Social motifs abound in this book. Society is always in a conflict, and in its simplest form, the conflict is between good and evil. Or, between the forces of civility and rationality and the forces of anarchy. The same can be said for the conflict of this book. Ralph, Piggy, and the rest of their group represent civility, and Piggy especially represents rational thought. Jack and his tribe are the opposite, representing the forces of anarchy. And, startlingly, in the end the forces of anarchy, the ones who "give in" to their urges for survival and power, seem to succeed in eradicating all rational thought and civility. The death of Piggy symbolizes the decline of rational thought, and at the end, only Ralph remains as the lone symbol of modern, civilized society.
5. This quotation is actually the "Lord of the Flies" speaking to Simon. Simon stays after Jack puts the pig's head on the stick and him and the others leave. Then, in a kind of a hallucination, the pigs head speaks to him, telling him that the Beast is not something you can hunt and kill. That it is the beast. It tells him that, "Fancy thinking the beast was something you could hunt and kill!' said the head. For a moment or two the forest and al the other dimly appreciated places echoed with the parody of laughter. You knew, didn't you? I'm part of you? Close, close, close!'"(LoF p143). The "Lord of the Flies" is trying to tell Simon that the beast is not some tangible being, but an aspect of human nature that lives not in the forest, but in each person. This is why Simon can't escape it by running away. It's in him, and all the others. The "Beast" is basically the human capacity for evil. Simon tries to fight against this message, but it is inescapable. This is shown through the deaths, the murders, of Simon, and later of Piggy. When the "Lord of the Flies" said, "You know perfectly well you'll only meet me down there-so don't try to escape!" he means that since that evil exists in every person, Simon will encounter it again, either in himself, or in the others. Running would not offer escape.
6. One of the most startling aspects of the novel is how savage these young children can be, one example is the dance in which Simon is killed. Piggy and Ralph participated in the dance, among others, and afterwards they feel terrible, and appalled at themselves and the others. I'm not so sure if they felt inner turmoil during the dance, though. All it says about them during the dance is, "Piggy and Ralph, under the threat of the sky, found themselves eager to take place in this demented but partly secure society. They were glad to touch the brown backs of the fence that hemmed in the terror and made it governable"(LoF p152). After the dance, however, they most definitely experienced turmoil. I don't understand how somebody could not experience turmoil after murdering another human being. They are in a state that could almost be called denial. Piggy calls it an accident, and Ralph even says that he's scared, but scared of themselves. "I'm frightened. Of us. I want to go home. Oh, God, I want to go home.' It was an accident,' said Piggy stubbornly, and that's that.'(LoF p157). And then Piggy and Ralph deny that they were even involved in the dance to Sam and Eric, who in turn lie and say they "got lost" after the feast. "Ralph examined his toes. You got lost after the. . .' Piggy cleaned his lens. After the feast,' said Sam in a stifled voice. Eric nodded. Yes, after the feast.' We left early,' said Piggy quickly, because we were tired.'(LoF p158). Ralph and Piggy were swept away in the primal violence and felt scared, so something deep down must have said, "Better this than you." After the dance, however, they are obviously ashamed, and frightened, of themselves and the others, and they immediately deny their involvement. But no matter how much they deny it, it still eats away at them. "Memory of the dance that none of the had attended shook all four boys convulsively."(LoF p158).
7. The ending of the novel is somewhat surprising. I was surprised, at least. It comes when Ralph is being chased during the manhunt by the savages and trips, falls to the ground, and expects to be attacked by Jack and his tribe. That doesn't happen, however. He stands up to find himself facing a British naval officer. The savages end up there, also, and are stunned into silence by this adult on their island. "He staggered to his feet, tensed for more terrors, and looked up at a huge, peaked cap. It was a white-topped cap, and above the green shade of the peak was a crown, an anchor, gold foliage. He saw a white drill, epaulettes, a revolver, a row of gilt buttons down the front of a uniform. A naval officer stood on the sand, looking down at Ralph in wary astonishment."(LoF p200). The attire of the boys and the officer also stand in stark contrast. The officer is dressed with a military neatness, with a clean, decorated uniform, most likely clean, shaved, etc. The boys, however are in need of hair cuts, most of them are covered with clay, and they're probably wearing the tattered remains of shorts or pants. Despite how much more "civilized" the officer must look than the children, an irony remains. This officer represents adult life, responsible, capable, but really bearing the same prospect for evil as the "savages". This officer, who interrupted a manhunt, is going to rescue the children and take them off of the island, but to where? To a cruiser that will soon be hunting its enemy in the sam way as the savages hunted Ralph. To me, the irony is that although the officer and his cruiser seem to be so much more civilized than these little savages, he isn't. It's just like what "the Beast" told Simon. No matter where you go, you can't get away from him. Because this "Beast", this capability for evil, exists in everyone.