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Lord of the flies literary terms

Lord of the Flies: Literary Elements Symbolisms Scar: imperfection. The island could be a Utopia, but the scar tells the reader the island is flawed. Conch: order. The conch is used to call the boys to get themselves organized. Its possession: authority. The Individual who holds the shell has the right to speak.

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Fire: spirit of civilization that must be constantly fed Piggy’s glasses: government and political vision (created the spirit of civilization) Simon’s butterflies: innocence of childhood Title of the novel: (translation of Beelzebub) the latent evil that is within each of us, but is kept in check by reason and ocial pressure (civilization). In the absence of these controls, barbarism erupts. Pigs head: stark reality of spiritual corruption War paint: hidden desire to move outside of social controls (when boys wear war paint, they are not the same people – they are not responsible for the actions that are done while masked. The symbolism of evil flows from a series of events: 1 . “Littluns” complain of seeing an imaginary beast 2. the fear which grows finds an outlet in dead paratrooper 3. hunters offer head of a dead pig on pole to beast 4. Simon confronts impaled pigs head – his butterflies disappear; he faints because e has received knowledge too overwhelming to bear. Golding is not telling us what children are like. They are rescued by adults, but are in the plight because of the grownups’ war; the destroyer that rescues them is on a manhunt not unlike Jack hunting Ralph.

Island is a microcosm of the adult world– the war on the island is a reflection of the adult war. (Microcosm – a small world that represents a larger world) Irony ??? Fire made from Piggys glasses goes out when Jack kills the first pig. Group begins to focus more on the hunt than on rescue (beginnings of barbarism). Smashing one lens sends group into semi–barbaric state. Theft of the other lens – complete reversion to savagery. Fire built during the civilized cooperation of the boys goes out, but the savage fire meant to smoke out the hunt’s “prey’ (Ralph) brings about the rescue of the boys. ??? Ralph prays for a sign from heaven.

His prayer is answered in the form of a dead paratrooper – a macabre puppet. The children identify the corpse with the mythical beast who they believe stalks the island. A pig hunt is staged; this ritual leads to the deaths of Simon and Piggy, and to the subsequent tracking of Ralph. ??? Simon knows the truth about the beast but is mistaken for the beast when he tries to tell the others. ??? Roger strikes Piggy with a stone for clinging to the now meaningless conch shell. ??? Hunters outlaw Ralph and hunt him, intending to impale him like a pig. The title is a translation of Beelzebub (means “Lord of the Flies”).

For Golding, it is the latent evil in man, which is kept in check by reason and social pressure. In absence of these controls, barbarism erupts. Goldings Lord of the Flies is not the biblical Satan, but evil reduced to one of its vilest forms: pig’s head = stark reality of spiritual corruption. ove the boys from children to murderers. The cult of the beast–god incites the hypnotic and rhythmic chanting and dancing. The mock hunt involving Robert as the pig draws blood. The hunt is a pre–figuration of the death of the scapegoat (Simon) and the dismemberment of the scapegoat.

Early in the novel, memories of the old world are present, as when the older boy (Roger) throws a stone: “. there was a space around Henry, perhaps six yards in diameter, into which he dared not throw. Here, invisible yet strong, was the taboo… the protection of parents and school and olice and law. ” But the line between play and life becomes increasingly faint. The rules, which Ralph thought would transform the group into a little Utopia, are irrevocably broken when the desire to hunt supersedes the more utilitarian needs for continually burning fire, shelter and sanitation.

The hunters don war paint and kill off or absorb any parliamentarians, except Ralph, who refuses to revert to savagery and who is to be smoked out of his hiding place and hunted down. The fire that envelops the island is spotted by a naw cruiser, and Ralph and the remnants of the group are escued after having received a brutal initiation into adulthood. Ralph lives, with new knowledge of the “darkness of man’s heart… ” Deus ex machina: any device by which an author solves a difficult situation by forced intervention by an unexpected and improbable source.

The naval officer interrupts the hunt of Ralph. “Fun and games… What have you been doing? Having a war or something? ” (Ironic statement – the boys aren’t playing; they are attempting to kill). Point of view shifts: third person limited to third person omniscient when Simon goes off into his alcove and speaks to the pigs head. In that “conversation,” the identity of the beast is revealed. Significance of quotations A. “And the conch doesn’t work on this end of the island. ” Jack: the authority from the other side of the island isn’t valid; power shift.

Because there is no authority, the boys create unwritten rules that change as the situation changes. The older world order was centered around the authority surrounding the conch shell. That order is not valid when the savage society rises to power. ["There’s a new sheriff in town. ” Brendan Heinz] B. “He looked in astonishment, no longer at himself but at an awesome stranger. ” Jack eeing his reflection in the water??” long hair, war paint??”hides real identity to allow him to “become someone else” – barbarian. Explains the fearlessness on the island when the boys loose their identities behind masks.

C. “Piggy and Ralph found themselves eager to take a place in this demented but partly secure society. ” Ralph and Piggy want to be part of “the tribe. ” Need to belong has superseded the spirit of civilization, the need for order. Piggy and Ralph are victims of peer pressure. It is no longer safe to be outside the tribe. It is no longer safe to have individual thoughts; the tribe functions as a single entity. D. “We tried to keep the fire going, but we couldn’t. ” Ralph. The boys were unable to keep the spirit of civilization alive. They allowed the beast to take over.

The spirit of civilization is replaced by savagery. The hope of rescue very apparent at the beginning of the novel dies as the fire dies. E. “Memory of the dance that none of them had attended shook all four boys convulsively. ” If Ralph, Piggy, Sam and Eric admit that they were involved in the dance, they will admit they were involved in the murder of Simon. Example of their involved, the event becomes very real. {Irony: they remembered something they hadn’t done. “} F. “Fancy thinking the beast was something you could kill. ” The pig’s head is speaking to Simon while he is in one of his “fits. The head reveals that the beast isn’t a thing or an animal, that it is actually part of the boys. The “beast” cant be killed because it lives inside every person. The only boy who has not really allowed the beast to surface (Ralph) is the boy being hunted. G. “Fun and games… What have you been doing? Having a war or something? ” The naval officer has Just interrupted the hunt for Ralph. The hunt is real, the war on the island is real; this situation is not fun and games. ” (irony: the situation on the island is real savagery, not play) Fun and games until someone is hurt.

H. “Things are breaking up. ” Ralph can see what is happening to the boys but can’t do anything to stop the change. More and more boys want to be involved in the savagery. The lack of authority contributes to the break down of the society. l. “This is a rotten place. ” (Describing Castle Rock) There is no food, no running water. The place is dark and ominous. This “rotten” atmosphere foreshadows events that take place here: Simon’s death, Piggy’s death, and the reaking of the conch shell. J. “Simon looked now from Ralph to Jack and what he saw made him afraid. Simon sees the two societies at war, as represented by the boys. Ralph = civilization; Jack = barbarism. Barbarism seems to be winning. K. “Piggy could think. He could go step by step inside that fat head of his, only Piggy was no chief. ” Ralph’s attitude toward Piggy. Ralph respects Piggy’s intelligence and his ability to reason. Ralph tolerates Piggy because he can think, but is still immature as far as being accepting of Piggy’s physical attributes. Piggy cannot lead. Ralph is a gurehead leader who begins to acknowledge the intelligence of his prime minister. L. l thought they wanted the conch. ” Piggys glasses were stolen. The civilization is almost completely destroyed. Power shift from Ralph to Jack is almost complete. Piggy cannot grasp that Jack has complete power now. Piggy cannot understand that the conch has no significance and refuses to accept the end of the civilized society they tried to set up. M. “If only they could send us something grown–up a sign or something. ” Ralph is asking for help from the outside adult world. The answer sent by the adult world is the dead paratrooper. Irony. N. “Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Bash her in. The tribes’ hypnotic ritual chant and dance said prior to the hunt. Boys get caught up in the rhythm and don’t recognize Simon when he comes to tell them what he has learned about the beast. The mob kills Simon. Suggests their obsession with violence. The outsiders and littluns are pulled into the violent behavior. O. “What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages?… The rules are the only thing we got! ” Piggy is trying to keep the spirit of civilization alive on the island. Civilization is being replace by savagery. Ironic because boys have become almost complete avages. P. “l am a part of you. Statement made by the pigs head during Simon seizure. Reveals that the beast is part of very person and not something that can be killed. Beast inside and cannot be gotten rid of. Q. “Which is better, law and rescue, or hunting and breaking things up? ” Piggy is trying to keep the society together, but the obsession with the hunt is turning the society to barbarism. Piggy still thinks that the boys still care about civilization and rescue, so he tries to reason with them. They boys no longer care about the original society because the hunt has become more or a friend named Piggy. Expresses one of the major themes of the novel: the defects in society can be traced back to the defects in man. Ralph is no longer an innocent child. The spirit of civilization can be easily replaced by the savagery displayed by the children on the island. Everything that happened on the island is a result of the boys’ actions, their internal motivations. The situation got out of control because of the lack of authority on the island. There is no animosity toward Piggy; the things that bothered Ralph about Piggy in the first place really should not have mattered.

Ralph understands more about the “darkness in man’s heart,” that it is within everyone not Just the boys on the island. The violence that Ralph has seen and participated in moved Ralph into adulthood. He has become disillusioned through the destruction of the island society set up in the beginning of the novel. Themes 1. Defects in society can be traced back to the defects in man. Idea is introduced with the scar (island isn’t as perfect as it seems). The choirboys are dressed in black and appear dark and ominous. One of the littluns suggests that there is a beast (evil) on the island.

This evil begins to break the society apart when they split themselves into firewatchers and hunters. The hunt begins to become more important than rescue. The boys kill their first pig, they put masks on to hide their identities, and they begin a cult of “worship” to the “beast–god. ” Jacks tribe begins to absorb the civilized society, either by volunteerism or by force. The defects in man cause the society to absorb or kill off anyone who opposes the “new’ social structure (Simon dies, Piggy dies, Sam and Eric are forced to Join the tribe and betray Ralph, and Ralph is being hunted to be killed).

Polarity is expressed as moral tension. Firewatchers = rational / hunters = irrational Piggy discovers the conch shell. Ralph calls the group together. Hints of demoralization occur when Ralph sees “something dark… and fumbling,” which turns out to be Jack Merridew and the choirboys. Jack vies for the leadership position; Ralph wins, and the group splits into two parts: hunters and firewatchers (rational versus irrational). Ralph is preoccupied with shelter. He is fair–haired, mild in temperament, practical and theoretical. He cannot understand the ordeal with the wild forces that threaten his command.

He is the politician. Jack is obsessed with the hunt. He is red–haired (Satanic), dressed in black, is ugly with changing eyes. He is the warrior. Neither boy understands the unspoken animosity between them. Piggy is the intellectual. He is fat, nearsighted, and asthmatic. He functions as Ralph’s prime minister. (Ralph’s attitude toward Piggy is at best passive toleration. ) He teaches Ralph to blow the conch shell. Simon is the Christ fgure. He has the gift of prophesy. He seems to be an epileptic. He alone knows that the dissolution of the community lies in man’s devil–ridden nature.

He withdraws to part of the island inhabited only by butterflies. Roger is the sadist. He throws stones at the other boys in the beginning of the novel. He becomes the tribal torturer. He kills Piggy by rolling a large boulder onto him. Distinguishing aspects of the novel: 1 . The use of children sets this novel apart from other novels that explore evil. There is no tragic flaw; children are incapable. There is no real understanding of the evil that corrupts them because the children are too immature to associate cause and effect. 2. The island setting creates a microcosm, limiting the action.


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