May 11, 2017
Seeing the Darkness of Mankind through Lord of the Flies
Are human beings good or bad? Different people have different opinions and thoughts towards this question. William Golding tells us that the nature of human beings are evil through his novel, Lord of the Flies. Lord of the Flies is a novel about a group of British boys who survive a plane crash, end up on a deserted island and the descent from civilization to savagery. Through symbolism, the use of carefully selected language, and characterization, Golding shows the darkness of man’s heart.
In the novel, the darkness of man’s heart is shown clearly through symbolism. The title, Lord of the Flies, is the most significant symbol. Lord of the Flies refers to Beelzebub, which means devil. It is represented by a bloody sow’s head covered with “a black blob of flies” presented as a gift to the beast in the novel (Golding 152). When Simon meets wih the Lord of the Flies, it asks him: “’ You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you? Close, close, close! I’m the reason why it’s no go? Why things are what they are?’” (158). Golding certifies that the beast, which symbolizes evil, is actually within the boys through Simon’s hallucination of talking to it in his own mind. Furthermore, the conch also significantly shows the darkness of man’s heart. The conch is a symbolic figure of civilization and order. As the novel progresses, the conch turns from pink and creamy to bleached in order to symbolize the loss of power, which is emphasized when it eventually breaks. The significance of breaking the conch shows that civilization ends and the boys become complete savages. When there are no rules and civilization to hold them back, the boys show their true nature which is evil at its core.
The darkness of mankind is also presented in the novel with the use of powerful and specific language. Right at the beginning of the book, the island is described as a utopia with “pink granite” and “efflorescence of tropical weed and coral” in the water (7,12). However, in this utopia, Golding uses words like “witch-like cry”, “creepers and broken trunks” to symbolize evil which internally acts as a foreshadowing, giving readers a hint about the violence on the island (1). Besides, when Jack is hunting, Golding describes him as “ape-like” and “dog-like” with “all fours” on the ground (48,49). The “frustration [in Jack] seemed bolting and nearly mad” in his “bright blue eyes” (49). The specific choices of words here show his determination in hunting and how he acts as a predator. Additionally, Golding uses words like dark, black or blood to show evil: “A darker shadow crept beneath the swarthiness of [Roger’s] skin” while he hunts (65). Though his “arm was conditioned by a civilization”, Golding reveals that the dark side of humans is hidden (65). “The dark sky was shattered by a blue-white scar” when the boys murder Simon. The use of pathetic fallacy...