Lord of the Flies - Darkness of a Man's Heart

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Year 10 Common Task - Semester 1, 2013

Classic 20th Century Novel Study - Lord of the Flies

Originally published in 1954, William Golding's Lord of the Flies has become one of the classics of contemporary literature. The novel is about a group of young boys stranded alone on an island and left to fend for themselves. In an attempt to model their previous world without the influence of adults, the order that had once existed soon decays and is replaced by the chaos that destroys their ordered and civilised cultures. Though fictional, Lord of the Flies deals with deep moral questions of how humans are essentially barbaric in their most primitive state. Golding conveys his idea of the 'darkness of a man's heart' successfully through effective use of allegory, symbolism, and his perception of a dystopian society.

Lord of the Flies can be viewed as a political allegory of the Cold War.

Golding served in the Royal Navy and recalling later his war experiences, he remarked that "man produces evil, as a bee produces honey." The Cold War was a struggle between two super power ideologies - Democracy and Communism, signified by Ralph and Jack respectively. Near the close of the novel, the boys are rescued by a naval commander who came ashore in his boat whilst the boys were playing savages. The irony is that after he brings the boys home, the naval commander will return to sea and engage in a far larger game of violence called war. Thus, Golding makes a point that the island is a microcosmic representation of the conflict between democracy and communism in the war. When the boys are first deserted on the island, they behave like children, alternating between enjoying their freedom and expressing profound homesickness and fear. By the end...