Death and Social Collapse in Lord of the Flies

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Death and Social Collapse in Lord of the Flies

By | November 2012
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The Death and Social Collapse in Lord of the Flies

Man’s relationships with death are themes often used in literary works to depict mankind’s spiritual, emotional, and social weaknesses. Sometimes authors use the theme of social collapse to interpret how the relationships of characters begin to wear off, which is also shown in William Golding’s novel, Lord of the Flies, where he further enhances his theme by his portrayal of death and the crumbling structure of civilization. It is evident that Golding illustrates the theme of death and social collapse by demonstrating the concepts of the demise of characters, collapse of governments and loss of civilization on the island.

As the novel progresses, the demise of characters becomes more prominent once there is a significant decline in morality on the island. The death of the mulberry-marked boy is the first of several events that ultimately lead to the destruction of society. During the unintentional forest fire that occurred due to the boy’s irresponsible actions, Piggy noticed, “That little’un had a mark on his-face-where is-he now? I tell you I don’t see him” (Golding 47). This demonstrates that the death of this mulberry-marked boy resulted from the inexperience of Ralph and Jack as leaders and foreshadows the evil to come. They boy’s unfortunate end serves as a reminder of guilt for Ralph, who does not notice that the child is missing until Piggy notifies everyone. The mulberry-marked boy’s death signifies a weakening of the newly formed societal structure on the island and predicts further instability. Simon’s death indicates the fear of the beast which is held within the boys. As the beast approached from a distance, the boys chanted, “Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood! ... The littluns screamed and blundered about, fleeing from the edge of the forest, and one of them [breaks] the ring of biguns in his terror” (Golding 168). Simon is one of the few on the island with the capability to...
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