Lord of the Flies: themes, characterization and symbolism.

Essay by lol@yourfaceA-, September 2007

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Within all humans lies a conflicting urge: to respect, follow rules and remain civilized or to break out and live on ones immediate desires. Eventually, the second desire will overrule the first and humans will become savage and evil beings. This is one of the key issues expressed in William Golding's Lord of the Flies. The novel explores this issue through various techniques. The primary techniques implemented are characterization, themes and symbolism.

Characterization is a significant technique used to express the issue in the novel. Lord of the Flies is an allegorical novel; the major characters represent certain philosophies or beliefs in society. The island acts as a microcosm with all the characters becoming part of the community. There are two major characters explored in Lord of the Flies; Ralph and Jack. Ralph essentially represents the civilized and logical nature of all humans. His proactive thinking and confidence ensures he is made chief at the beginning of the novel.

However, towards the end of the novel, the boys become more savage and the power is shifted to Jack. Ralphs main desires on the island are to be rescued. This demonstrates his strong connection with the civilized world. He realizes in order to be rescued, a fire must be maintained and this becomes his priority. Ralph's attitudes also illustrate his civilized nature. He respects and follows rules and believes without boundaries, the island society will not function. His strong attitude is shown through the quote "the rules are the only thingy we've got."Jack, being the antagonist completely rejects Ralph's values and represents the savage, primitive and power hungry nature of humans. At the beginning of the novel, Jack is described as the lead choir boy, a very conservative position. However, as the novel progresses, Jack's inner desires are...