utorok 7. augusta 2018

Literary analysis: Lord of the Flies (William Golding)

William Golding is a Nobel Prize- winning British author. His first novel, The Lord of the Flies was released in 1954. It is set on a deserted island, where the group of school- boys strand after their airplane had crushed. From the novel we know the plane was supposed to carry them to safety as in England a nuclear war had started.

I must admit I didn´t really liked the book from the beggining. The boys acted very childish already from the start and I am still not sure whether their behaviour in the end proves anything. We already know we are primal when we get into the existentional situation and children are obviously even more vulnerable. But as I read more I became sure there is something more hidden in the novel, and for me I needed an interpretation. That is why i tis tought in schools, obviously. It´s considered to be a 20th century classic dystopian novel, sucha s for example Orwells 1984. There´s a lot of references to bible and one of the boys who got killed, Simon, was supposed to be a kind of Jesus inspired character. The island they crush on is an allegory of paradise.


It´s an allegorical novel, as everyhing directly represents something else. Each of the characters represent a certain idea. Ralph, for instance, embodies the civilizing impulse, as he strives from the start to create order among the boys and to build a stable society on the island. Piggy, meanwhile, represents the scientific and intellectual aspects of civilization. At the other end of the spectrum, Jack embodies the impulse toward savagery and the unchecked desire for power and domination. Even more extreme is Roger, who represents the drive for violence and bloodlust in its purest form. Furthermore, just as various characters embody thematic concepts in the novel, a number of objects do as well. The conch shell, which is used to summon the boys to gatherings and as a emblem of the right to speak at those gatherings, represents order, civilization, and political legitimacy. Piggy’s glasses, which are used to make fire, represent the power of science and intellectual endeavor. The sow’s head in the jungle, meanwhile, embodies the human impulse toward savagery, violence, and barbarism that exists within each person.

The novel can be read in many ways, as it has a lot of layers. It can be read easily on a surface, as a dark adventure story. It can also be read as „coming out of age“ novel, as the boys has to learn and finally decide what is good or bad and eventually grow. The best layer is the political allegory, which is what saves it for me. Also moral allegory is interesting point, because it carries an ultimate truth: evil almost always wins over good, such as it´s much harder for us to be good. Very important when reading this novel is understanding the author´s motivation. William Golding wrote it shortly after the World War II, in which he also participated. This is why I do like the political layer the most, as for example red colour of Jack´s hair is also an allegory on Soviet army. Thus in the book it´s also written: ,,It´s better to be red than dead.“


The lack of female characters is what makes it very unrealistic in my opinion. Well, not unrealistic, I do believe if a bunch of schoolboys was sent to this island alone this is exactly what would happen, but in reality about half of the population are women. I just wonder what would happen if they would also be in the novel. Would the boys rather spend time with them than hunt, or would girls be just the same savages as boys? Golding said he didn´t put any girl protagonists in his novel because he don´t believe girls would do what boys did. He believes girls are in many ways much better then boys. But in the end, Golding himself said he didn´t like how the novel and his characters turned out to be either. My favourite character is Piggy, who represents some kind of intelligence, but because of his weight and asthma, he is not taken seriously. Nobody is impressed by him, they rather admire Jack, who is not as inteligent but can hunt and persue others, altough obviously what he does is wrong.

I do believe it´s worth reading, but I would probably like it more as a younger reader. It´s in many ways an inspiration for many today´s popular young adult books, such as Hunger Games, Divergent, or Stephen King says it´s one of his favourite novels and in many ways inpiration.

Recources which helped me write the analysis


Name of the author: William Golding
Name of the book: Lord of the Flies

First published: in 1954 in Faber and Faber publishers
My edition published: in 1999 in Faber and Faber publishers
Number of pages: 230

Literary genre: dystopian novel

External composition
The novel id divided into 12 sections:
1.The Sound of the Shell
2.Fire on the Mountain
3.Huts on the Beach
4.Painted Faces and Long Hair
5.Beast from Water
6.Beast from Air
7.Shadows and Tall Trees
8.Gift for the Darkness
9.A View to a Death
10.The Shell and the Glasses
11.Castle Rock
12.Cry of the Hunters

As I read the novel in English I decided to write the anlysis in English as well. My native language is Slovak. 


Have you read Lord of the Flies? Do you like these dystopian novels? What did you thought about the novel? I will be very happy if you let me know in the comments :).


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