LITERARY TREND AND AUTHOR CANON
LORD OF THE FLIES (published 1954)
The starting point is the realistic situation of a group of boys who are stranded on a desert island. The story embodies abstract ideas about human beings’ inherent savagery and violence and the dangers of totalitarian leadership and mob mentality. Traditional allegorical fiction uses characters who are symbolical and explores the way larger forces impact individual lives. Golding constructs complex characters, with certain degrees of ambivalence, who change throughout the novel.
The characters in the novel live in a nightmarish, oppressive society that results from their flawed natures. Initially, the setting appears as an Eden, it later becomes a dystopian landscape, where the children are hungry, dirty, fearful, and tyrannized by a sadistic leader. The novel employs fear, suspense, and violence to warn about the dangers of totalitarianism.
The novel presents the conflict between two competing impulses that define human beings: the instinct to live by the rules against the instinct to gratify immediate desires and enforce one’s will. Throughout the novel, civilisation is associated with good, and savagery with evil. The boy’s moral and disciplined behaviour dissolves into a brutal and wild barbaric life in the jungle.
A group of boys, aged 6 to 12, are stranded on a remote island after their plane crashes. With no adult supervision, they try to organise themselves and survive. Their first leader is Ralph, who builds shelters and a fire signal. Jack, another boy, wants to determine the boys to go hunting the wild pigs on the island. He convinces some of them, and they leave the signalling fire unattended and miss a ship. The boys, led by Jack, revolt against Ralph, and Jack becomes leader. They start hunting pigs and after that, they throw a party, during which one of the boys is killed by accident. Another boy is killed when he tries to talk it out with the “savages”. In the end, as the boys are hunting for Ralph, they are rescued by a ship of the British Navy.
Characters presented in the analysis of the literary fragment should be adapted to the fragment itself.
POINT OF VIEW
The author reveals the worst and darkest side of human nature (barbarism, murder) but only uses exaggeration and poetical language to highlight the idea.