Lord of the Flies

Essay by teh89888College, UndergraduateA, April 2008

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William Golding, the Nobel Prize winning author is probably best known for his novel “Lord of The Flies”. The story tells about how a group boys are stranded in an island in the pacific after the plane they were on was shot down. The boys attempt to recreate the culture they left behind through democracy and election but slowly the boys are lured from civility and rational thought to primeval tribalism. William Golding uses many ways to describe this change in the boys in an interesting way that will manage to keep the audience engaged. He uses many literary devices to achieve this result, one of them is symbols. An example of a symbol used frequently in the Lord of The Flies is weather. William Golding uses the elements of weather effectively in Lord of The Flies to symbolize a kind of universal assessment of the actions, making the novel more interesting, and representing the inner feelings of the characters.

Golding manages to use elements of weather effectively to symbolize a kind of universal assessment of the action and dramatic events in the novel. Elements of weather are used to represent the action that is taking place and to also foreshadow future events. For example, Golding uses weather to slowly hint or indicate Simon’s death. This is visible in the statement “There was a blink of bright light beyond the forest and the thunder exploded again so that a littlun started to whine. Big drops of rain fell among them making individual sounds where they struck” (Golding, 186). By reading this, readers can feel that the atmosphere and mood has changed for the worse. When Ralph says, “Going to be a storm and you’ll have rain like when we dropped here”, Golding is trying to indicate to us that something big is about to take place later in the novel. Besides that, after Simon dies there heavy rain; “The water bounded from the mountain-top, tore leaves and branches from the trees, poured like a cold shower over the struggling heap on the sand.” (Golding, 188). So the rain is used here to represent the sadness caused by Simon’s death as he was a victim of the savage actions of the hunters. This part makes the readers feel sorry for Simon but the readers also know that Simon couldn’t do anything to fight back. Golding doesn’t present the sadness of Simon’s death directly but instead chooses to use weather to present it to the readers. In a nutshell, the elements of weather are used at the right place and at the right time, making the action and dramatic events in the novel much more intense.

William Golding also uses the elements of weather to make the story more attractive and to create a more gripping atmosphere. Golding manages to use the weather to portray some situations with a mysterious and serious air. Golding also uses weather to make the readers feel as though they are at that particular scene and can experience the weather at that time. This is done to create intense emotions in the reader. During Simon’s death Golding uses the weather to complement the Lord of The Flies as being omens for something evil that is about to happen. Phrases like “Colours drained from water and trees and the pink surfaces of the rock, and the white and brown clouds brooded” (Golding, 176) show that something bad is about to happen and creates an ill mood and also in a way makes readers more anxious as to actually what is the evil event that is going to happen. The line “The blue white-scar was constant, the noise unendurable” (Golding, 188) makes the reader nervous of the uncertain weather. This also helps to create interest in the reader who will want to know whether there is a relation between the terrible weather and events that are to come. Golding realises the power of weather to explain a situation or to signify something. In the past the ancients believed in the power of weather to influence our lives. For example, they believed in rain gods and sometimes performed rituals to ensure that there was sufficient rain. Weather also can have an impact on people’s moods. For example sunny weather makes people hopeful and happy as opposed to cloudy days which create depression. All of this shows how weather has the ability to influence a person and William Golding realising this has used weather to create interest in readers and thus has made the novel more interesting.

Besides that, William Golding has managed to use elements of weather successfully in the novel The Lord of The Flies to portray the inner feelings of the characters in the novel. He uses different types of weather to portray or symbolize different moods or emotions that the characters are feeling at that particular moment or period. Cloudy and dark skies are used to create an ominous mood that symbolizes that something bad is about to happen. This causes reader to feel apprehensive about future events. Meanwhile, rain and thunderstorms are used to symbolize fear and frenzy. This element is sometimes used by Golding in place of words between characters to portray frantic activity that is taking place. Hope is also symbolized in different ways such as the sun appearing after rain and the coming of peaceful dusk. Among the examples Golding uses to symbolize hope in the boys can be found in the beginning of chapter 1. The statement “The undergrowth of the side of the scar was shaken and a multitude of raindrops fell pattering” (Golding, 1) is used to symbolize hope within the boys because the way the rain stops and how the sun has come out resembles a new beginning for the boys to look forward to. Another example of hope in the boys can be found at the end of chapter 3. The statement “Now the sunlight had lifted clear from the open space and withdrawn from the sky” (Golding, 60) clearly illustrates how Simon feels hope that he will be at peace with nature. This is signified by cool, calm darkness setting on the jungle and the opening of the candle buds and flowers. Golding also uses weather to create a mood of gloom and impending evil. An example of this is the statement “Over the island the build-up of clouds continued” (Golding, 163). This creates an ominous mood among Piggy and Ralph symbolized by the large clouds covering the sky signalling that it was going to rain. Besides that, Golding also manages to use rain and thunderstorms to symbolize frenzy and fear. An example of this can be found in the statement “The dark sky was shattered by a blue-white scar” (Golding, 171). The element of lightning and thunder here symbolizes how the boys are increasing scared and in a frenzy as they dance and chant. Besides Golding’s examples in The Lord of The Flies, elements of weather are also used in movies regardless of language. For example lightning is sometimes portrayed in movies when the characters suddenly realize something or when a dramatic event has taken place. In conclusion, elements of weather are a great way to symbolize the inner feelings of characters and William Golding has used them to great effect in his novel.

In conclusion, the power of weather as a symbol cannot be underestimated. Elements of weather have the ability to portray character’s emotions, foreshadow future events and to also catch and hold reader’s attention. Golding, realising the importance of weather as a symbol has used it consistently throughout the book. All major events have been related to elements of weather successfully. As a result, Golding has managed to make the readers feel what he intended them to feel. So in brief, Golding’s usage of the elements of weather in the Lord of the Flies has symbolized a universal assessment of the action, has made the novel more interesting and has represented the inner feelings of the characters.

Work Cited: Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. educational edition. Great Britain: Faber and Faber Limited, 1996.