The selected novel for analysis has been written by William Golding and focuses on the author’s perception regarding humanity. When the book was to be published, Golding had to face many rejections as no publisher was willing to release Lord of the Flies. Golding’s novel mainly focuses on the duality of human nature. Golding was concerned about the way the society was progressing not only socially but politically as well. Evil is predominant in the plot of the novel to reflect the community which Golding was a part of. The central conflict in the novel is civility versus savagery which is revealed in the conflict between Ralph and Jack. The stranded boys form a society of their own that depicts the community that Golding was a part of and was deeply concerned about. Golding used various symbols in the novel, two of them are the pig’s head and the conch shell which play a significant part throughout the novel. The pig’s head is an essential symbol in the novel as it represents the evil that is embedded in people’s hearts and minds. The conch shell symbolizes leadership and gives authority to anyone who gets to hold it.
During the time of a destructive war, a plane responsible for the evacuation and flying out a group of British boys gets shot down and crashes on to a desolate, barren, uninhabited island. The pilot is dead on impact, and the children are left without adult supervision. Ralph and Piggy, who wander around the island, come across a conch which Piggy figures could be used as a horn. Once assembled, the boys decide on choosing someone to lead and plan a way off the island. Ralph is elected to take on this role, and he starts off by assigning Jack responsible for the group of boys that will be hunting and gathering food. However, as the novel progresses conflicts arise and the group breaks into two. The older boys make a group of their own, and the younger ones are prepared to follow leaving Ralph and Piggy on their own. Three boys are killed by the end of the novel as Jack and his group hunt them down for not abiding by the rules.
The novel centers on four main characters Ralph, Piggy, and Jack as each of them plays a vital role throughout the narrative of the novel. To begin with, Ralph who is the protagonist of the Golding’s selected book, the readers can see that Ralph is the only character who has a sound mind and acts rationally. He assembles all the children and divides them according to their strengths and capabilities. Ralph is the only character in the novel which is hopeful about being rescued unlike the rest of the group who have given up on it. He is a visionary and builds huts for everyone to live in (Golding). Ralph keeps the team together by acting neutral and solving their problems. However, he is no match for Jack and the older boys who break away from the group and form their own.
There is a constant conflict between Jack and Ralph as Jack represents savagery and Ralph reflects civilization. Jack can be looked on as the antagonist as he is responsible for the death of Piggy. His aggressiveness surfaces from the moment Ralph is elected as the group leader. Despite the group’s decision, Jack tries time and again to show his authority by being violent and threatening the younger children. He spreads fear in their hearts and punishes those who do not do his bidding. Jack’s savagery is reflected through his eagerness for hunting and killing boars. He paints his face to take on the character of a savage. On the other hand, Piggy is shown as a weak character who is always bullied for being fat. Jack resents Piggy for not doing his bidding and for taking Ralph’s side in every group meeting. Piggy represents the lower class of the society that is most often neglected and crushed by the elites. He becomes a victim at the end of the novel is killed at the hands of Jack and his group.
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. Penguin, 1983.