Essay: Lord of the Flies – William Golding

In William Golding’s Lord of the Flies the conch represents law and order. The boys impose a “rule of the conch” on themselves, deciding that no one can speak unless he’s holding the conch. But what happens to the group when order is under pressure from the boys’ instincts’?We don’t need the conch any more. We know who ought to say things.’ In this essay I will focus on the symbolic development of the power struggle between Ralph, Jack and Piggy. This will be through an analysis of the development at the assembly, a characterization of the speakers, the symbolic meaning of central items and concepts and finally a discussion of the overarching theme of order vs chaos.
In the passage I’ve chosen Sam and Eric see the twisted form of the dead parachutist and mistakenly think it is the beast they have seen. They rush back to the camp, wake up Ralph, and tell him what they have seen. Ralph immediately calls for a meeting. The twins claim that the beast lives on the island. The boys are horrified by the twins’ claims. They organize an expedition to search the island for the beast. After discussions and fights between Ralph, Jack and Piggy they decide that they have to go up in the mountains and only Piggy and the littluns is remained behind.
For my analysis of the passage I have chosen, I find it appropriate to make a characterization of the eminent persons Ralph, Jack and Piggy.
Ralph is the boy we meet first, and he’s definitely the best’after all, he is the elected chief. Ralph wants rules, responsibility and wants to be rescued. Ralph is very devoted to the use of the conch ‘You haven’t got the conch. Here’. He also knows what the conch’s power is for. Instead of getting caught up in the hunting bloodlust like Jack, he proposes something practical. Ralph also cares about the ‘underdog’ Piggy. Ralph takes Piggy’s party and tries to protect him ‘That’s right. Keep Piggy out of danger’. Ralph also tries to be the responsible chief and is thinking rationally ‘This is more than a hunter’s job,’ said Ralph at last, ‘because you can’t track the beast. And don’t you want to be rescued”. Ralph is determined on his role as leader and exhibits much authority by saying several times that he is the chief ‘I’m chief. We’ve got to make certain. Can’t you see the mountain? There’s no signal showing. There may be a ship out there. Are you all off your rockers’.
Jack is like Ralph, charismatic and inclined to leadership. Unlike Ralph, he gets off on power and abuses his position. Jack is the group’s troublemaker and for him the island is like the best summer vacation ever. He gets to play war games, hunting in the woods, and paint his face’all without any grownups around to have control over him. Jack is especially mean to Piggy and do not treat him very well ‘Jack broke in, contemptuously. You’re always scared’. He makes fun of him and humiliates Piggy in front of the rest of the group ‘Have some sense. What can Piggy do with only one eye’?. In the passage Jack tries to take Ralph role as chief to lead the way up to the mountain. Ralph is indulgent towards Jack and let him led the way up to the mountains ‘He let jack lead the way; and jack trod with theatrical caution though they could have seen an enemy twenty yards away’.
Jack sometimes seems selfish and he is often completely careless about the other boys in the group especially the littluns. When the boys discuss who stays and who goes Ralph says; ” What about the littluns’? and Jack answers ‘Sucks to the littluns’.
Piggy is one of the first characters we meet (as “the fat boy”), so we’re predisposed to like him, even if nobody else does. Ralph may find the conch, but Piggy is the one who identifies it and tells Ralph how to use it. He may know what to do but he’s too weak physically. Piggy is also the closest thing we have to an adult on the island. He is defending the conch and insisting on law and order. Piggy is the wise and prudent, and he knows what consequences there are by the hunting but no one really listen. Piggy tries to stop the boys from go up in the mountains ‘Piggy took the conch. Couldn’t we — kind of — stay here? Maybe the beast won’t come near us’. Piggy is a bit timid of nature and he is thinking rationally ‘I mean — how about us? Suppose the beast comes when you’re all away. I can’t see proper and if I get scared —–‘.
When we are talking about the themes in the passage, power struggle and power balance is the two important themes. Jack and Ralph are struggling about power through the passage. Both boys want to be the leader of the group and want two very different ways of life on the Island. Their kind of leadership is also very different compared to each other. Jack wants to hunt and play. He doesn’t wants rules on the Island. Ralph wants rules and rationality on the island. Ralph is also focusing on the fire so a ship maybe sees them and they get rescued. Jack seems totally indifferent to it and enjoys the life on the island. Despite the fact that Ralph is the elected leader, Jack is still doing everything he can to take Ralph’s place. The two boys are arguing a lot and it is clear that they don’t share the same opinions.
Additionally there are also some symbols in the passage. The most prominent symbols of the passage is the conch and the spear. The conch represents law and order. The boys decide a “rule of the conch” which deciding that no one can speak unless he’s holding the conch. The spear represents power, rage and also maturity.
According to the mood in the passage it is tense and a bit shameful at times. The mood is also ill-tempered and angry during quarrels among Jack and Ralph.
In conclusion, The lord of the flies firstly deals with the problem; can instincts takeover law and order. The characters Ralph and Jack have to different point of view of the life on the island. For Jack the instincts takes over and he wants to hunt and for Ralph there have to be control, law and order on the island. Secondly the lord of flies deals with a power balance between Ralph, Jack and Piggy and that is also a part of human’s instincts.

Source: Essay UK - http://xbmm43.com/essays/english-literature/essay-lord-of-the-flies-william-golding/


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