Lord of the Flies Tone

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William Golding's utilization of imagery, diction, and figurative language in pages 16-18 collaborate to create an air of peace and joy while masking its more menacing underlying tone. While Ralph blew the conch shell, "his face was dark with the violent pleasure of making this stupendous noise, and his heart was making the stretched shirt shake" (16). Golding's use of imagery here reveals Ralph's joy and excitement at blowing the conch, but also describes his pleasure as "violent", possibly hinting at a future darkness. Golding also employs diction to set the tone when he mentions the twins, Sam and Eric: "They breathed together, they grinned together... they raised wet lips at Ralph, for they seemed provided with not enough skin, so that their profiles were blurred and their mouths pulled open" (17). Here, the boys are depicted as tired and happy, but Golding moves on to give the boys gruesome features that seem almost out of place in the lighthearted words used in this passage. Also contributing to the tone in this section is Golding's use of figurative language. "Here, the eye was first attracted to a black, bat-like creature that danced on the sand, and only later perceived the body above it" (17). Golding compares the figure of a boy to a bat, an animal that can be considered dark and mischievous, and although that figure "danced on the sand," the writing once again gives way to a more menacing undertone. Altogether, William Golding's use of words creates a tone that at first glance feels safe and secure, but when closely examined hints at sinister thoughts.
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