Lord of the Flies

Topics: Utopia, Lord of the Flies, Dystopia Pages: 10 (3959 words) Published: November 23, 2012
The idea of establishing an ideal state where everyone can live in peace goes back to Plato and his Republic wherein he envisages an ideal state. Thereafter the notion was touched upon by many others in literature. Among them being Sir Thomas More’s Utopia, which depicts an ideal state in nowhere and has been a prototype of many modern Utopias. But by the passage of time this notion of Utopia got subverted, the ideal state gave way tothe horror and nightmare of dystopia. In my paper I intend to trace both the Utopian and dystopian elements in William Golding’s novel Lord of the flies. This text tells the story of the journey of a group of innocent children, victims of a plane crash, and their struggle for survival in a deserted island which is nothing short of a heavenly abode. At this juncture peaceful co-existence is expected. And it starts out like that, initially, they start applying rules and regulations, calling assemblies and electing a leader in order to prevent chaos and disorder. However, as time passes the children turn into deadly beasts, trying to kill each other. By the end it becomes evident that Utopia is not something practical; it is just a theoretical notion, something to just write and dream about. Lord of the Flies was extremely successful and is considered as one of the great works of literature of the twentieth century. It is an allegory of the intrinsic cruelty of man, based on Golding's own wartime experiences. It reflected very aptly the post-war disillusionment with human nature. This novel can be analysed in various perspectives as it deals profoundly and honestly with people who are under pressure and also because of the author’s sympathetic and intense vision of the problems that modern man faces in his lifetime. His portrayal of human beings and the nuances of their behaviour are very much grounded. He knows the varied reactions of different types of people when they come under similar conditions, and the internal tension experienced by them. He illustrates important general principles of human behaviour and human relations. At first glance Lord of the Flies seems like yet another adventure tale of a group of English school boys who are isolated on a natural paradise-like island in the Pacific Ocean. It is grimly interesting to note that Lord of the Flies appears to be a parable of the adventure story of the Coral Island by R. M. Ballantyne (1858). Golding's young characters, Ralph, Jack, and Piggy, a lot different than their predecessors project an attitude on the nature of boys. The fact that the protagonists of Lord of the Flies’ arechildren ranging six to twelve sets it apart from the whole lot. Children capable of perpetrating heinous crimes and such violence undoubtedly raisesuspicion and fear about the whole humanity, the depth of decay. "Golding's sets the novel on a desert island on which a marooned party of boys from an English cathedral choir-school gradually falls away from the disciplined harmony of the boys' musical background and from a disharmonious world of grown- ups at war".1 From the beginning of the novel, the reader is confronted with two forms of reality. The first one is in the title and the other one is the text itself. The title of the book suggests a world in which something like this will happen. The text begins with a famous and well- known sort of story: Boy making their own lives on an island, apart from adults. The immediate model is clear enough: Ballantyne's The Coral Island (1858), in which three adolescents, Ralph, Jackand Peterkin create a happy simple life on a Pacific Island. In all previous works in the adventure tradition involving children - before this one - the adolescent characters are very nice and responsible. For them everything is a game. In fact Golding himself, shortly after the publication of his novel, said: “The theme [of the book] is an attempt to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature. Before the [second...
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