Biblical Allusions in Lord of the Flies

Topics: Book of Revelation, Number of the Beast, Allusion Pages: 6 (2549 words) Published: October 30, 2012
Did your parents ever tell you about the first time that you disobeyed them? Mine have. I was next to a hot wood stove at my grandparent’s house, and my parents told me not to touch it because it was hot. But, of course, I just had to touch it now that I was told not to. I wasn’t egged on by my sister or my cousins; I touched that stove of my own accord. And of course, it all went down from there. My inward desire to be stubborn and selfish was expressed though disobeying my parents- In the end, I got burned. Similarly, in Sir William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, biblical allusions are used to give additional meaning and depth to the book and to show the ways in which humans transfer their inner evil into outward behavior. Evil doesn’t begin from the outside world; instead it begins in the core of human beings. The novel Lord of the Flies shows the breakdown of society without authority, a code of conduct, and failure to maintain morality. Although the story seems straightforward at first- just some boys on an island- the true meaning can be hidden from the reader using biblical allusions. These biblical allusions are not a central theme as Lord of the Flies is not specifically religious. There is no direct mention of the Bible; however, certain characters and symbols directly connect to it. Golding uses these allusions to form a more complex story with additional layers. Interestingly, Golding hardly believed in God. After his traumatic experiences in World War II, he tried “to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature.” There is little more innocent than a group of young boys singing in a church choir. However, the boy’s innocence is presented as deceptive. In a letter to a friend sent privately, Golding says that “one of our faults is to believe that evil is somewhere else”. He believed that people mistake the origin of evil as being external, yet the boy’s evil was internal despite attaching it to their characteristically Satan-like surroundings. Jack’s behavior in the book is not the cause of evil, merely a symptom of the greed, selfishness, and power to rule that lies within everyone. The title of the book alone, Lord of the Flies, is the literal translation of ‘Baal-Zebub’, the Canaanite god of evil. In other words, ‘Lord of the Flies’ means the devil, the antithesis of God. Therefore, before even opening the book, the reader can forge a clear link with religion. This suggests a possible interpretation for the book: that religion is a direct contrast to evil. The Lord of the Flies is also one of the most important and poignant images in the book. The severed head of the sow murdered by Jack is described as being “dim-eyed, grinning faintly, blood blackening between [it’s] teeth”, “an obscure thing” covered with a “black blob of flies.” This vivid description of its outer ugliness represents evil in its purest form. Furthermore, the alliteration of the letter ‘b’ is harsh and guttural, which reflects the inner ugliness it possesses. The Lord of the Flies brings out the inner beast in most of them, causing the situation in this passage to juxtapose good and evil. In the first chapter of Lord of the Flies, Golding gives clues to his readers that the context of the novel is going to contain biblical allusions, as the life of some of his characters were deeply Christian before they were even stranded. Jack, one of the main boys on the island, says that “[He] ought to be a chief, because [he was] chapter chorister and head boy. [He could] sing C sharp.” Choirboys are a typical image of naivety, innocence and youth, and are most often pictured as singing from hymnals during religious ceremonies. However this religious background does not stop Jack and his fellow hunters from later committing severe and serious crimes on the island. Another biblical allusion occurs “when [the boys were] coming down (and) [Piggy] looked through one of [the] windows. [He] saw the other part...
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