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William Golding´S Lord Of The Flies: A Look At The Evil Of Man Through The Christian Lens

1366 words - 5 pages

Woe Soyinka, a Nigerian writer, once said “Well, some people say I'm pessimistic because I recognize the eternal cycle of evil. All I say is, look at the history of mankind right up to this moment and what do you find?” Essentially, Soyinka is saying that it is mankind’s inevitable fate to repeat its past due to the endless existence of evil. Soyinka’s ideas are echoed in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. In the novel, a group of well-behaved British boys are stranded on an island. In time, the boys’ natural savage instincts are revealed. Throughout the novel, the reader should see that Golding uses Christian imagery to reinforce the idea that mankind is naturally evil and is doomed to repeat its past.
The reader should see that Golding uses diction to portray the island as a living hell. In the beginning of the novel when the boys crash onto the island, Piggy voices his worries that the boys might be stuck on the island until they die. Right with that word, the heat on the island seemed to increase until “it became a threatening weight” (14). Golding did not have to mention this at all, but he purposefully chose to write that the island seemed to get hotter right when Piggy said that the boys might die on this island. Not only did the island get hotter, but the heat was “threatening”. The reader should see that with these words, Golding is portraying the island as hell. In Christianity, hell is the place where sinners go when they die; a place where the heat is unbearable and endless. For Piggy to mention death, and for the heat on the island to increase at the same time he said it, hell should be on the reader’s mind. Not only is the island hot, but several times throughout the novel Golding emphasizes Jack’s appearance, especially his red hair. When the reader first meets Jack, Golding describes him wearing a black cloak and having “red hair” (20) underneath his black cap. Throughout history, redheads have been considered to be evil and soulless people. Judas himself, the man who sold out Jesus, was a redhead. Satan, the leader of hell, is always depicted as a red monster, evil and soulless. Jack being a redhead, and becoming the savage leader later on in the novel, is like Satan. By making Jack a redhead, Golding wanted to reinforce the idea that this island is hell. Later in the novel, the phrase “lord of the flies” (143), as well as it being the name of the book, is repeated several times. Lord of the Flies is the English translation of the Hebrew word Beelzebub, which in Christian religion is another name for the devil. Golding intentionally used this word to reiterate his hell motif. In the Bible, Matthew, one of Jesus’s disciples, calls Beelzebub the “prince of devils”. To have the “lord of the flies” be such an emphasized phrase in the novel surely reinforces the idea that this island that the boys are on is hell.
The reader should see that Golding uses actions and descriptions to employ Simon as a Christ figure. Simon’s favorite...

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