How Does William Golding Create the Tensions in the Spire?

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Jordan Ashwood 12JD
‘The Spire' Essay

"The Spire is a novel full of tensions"
Explore the ways that Golding achieves these tensions and what they bring to the novel

‘The Spire' revolves around Jocelin and his quest to have a spire built on the cathedral. Through his blind faith, Jocelin accepts the cost that this building is having on the cathedral and the people that inhabit the cathedral. Tension is built throughout this novel in a number of ways, most notably in the impact that the building of the spire has on the people around Jocelin. Tension is achieved through two main parts of the novel, the battle between the church and the pagans, and the affair between Goody Pangall and Roger Mason.

Jocelin as a character is an aloof, detached man who is blinded by his faith. He has his vision for the spire and will do anything to have it built. He irritates and infuriates people with his unbridled zeal for the building of the spire. This conflicts with other characters in the novel and creates tensions between Jocelin and other characters. He creates a detached nature with the reader and other characters through his actions and his nature. This is clear even from the beginning of the book, where in the chapter house the conflict between the Lord Chancellor and Jocelin is marked. Here, Golding uses language such as "exploding" and "sunlight" for Jocelin, and describes the Lord Chancellor as his "face dark with shadow". Golding continues to show the division between Jocelin and the rest of the cathedral, with two deacons discussing how he is "proud", "ignorant" and how "he thinks he is a saint". It is implied that the man they are talking about is Jocelin. The dialogue between Father Anselm and Jocelin demonstrates the resentment felt by the rest of the clergy in what Jocelin is doing. They do not agree, but his aunt is the one funding the building of the spire, so they cannot do anything to prevent it. The language used here, early on in the book between...
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