English 9, Period 1
7 November 2011
Behind the Words
William Golding’s Lord of the Flies (1954) is an allegory where young British boys are stranded on an island without the help and guidance of adults, and they originally behave with a cooperative democratic system, led by a charismatic boy named Ralph, as they have become accustomed to in England, for “‘…we’re not savages. We’re English, and the English are the best at everything. So we’ve got to do the right things.’” (42). Unfortunately, the boys as a whole are lost to the unfamiliar bestial nature inside directed by a lead hunter named Jack, the leader of his school choir contradicting their later savagery, and they commit regrettable actions that they normally would not do. In developing the major theme of the novel, civilization vs. savagery, Golding employs numerous symbolic objects and acts to represent and emphasize the major struggles and tension between civilization and savagery. When Ralph is approached by an intellectual, overweight boy named Piggy at the beginning of the novel, they soon realize that they must contact the other boys on the island. They are able to call the rest of the boys by discovering a conch shell that Ralph can blow and signal everyone on the island to congregate on the beach and discuss plans of survival on the island. The conch shell represents civilization and the benefits of having a united political system because “‘We can use [the conch] to call the others. Have a meeting. They’ll come when they hear us’” (16). Without the conch, the boys would have been scattered around the island, and they all would have had a less probable chance of survival because there would have been no collaboration of skills between the boys, so the conch is necessary in the advancement of the social order on the island. The conch also helps the boys talk without interruption at meetings because “‘We can’t have everybody talking at once. We’ll have...
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