How does Golding present the theme of good versus evil in the novel "Lord of the Flies"?
William Golding's novel "Lord of the Flies" is at first impression a dramatic adventure story about a group of boys stranded on an island, whilst being evacuated from a war-torn world. However to the perceptive reader a more meaningful level of Golding's "Lord of the Flies" emerges. The novel is designed as an allegory; to a get a warning across to mankind about what Golding called the "Essential sickness of mankind". The island acts as a microcosm for the outside world; the boys themselves convey the flaws and the evil that seems to thrive in the mind of mankind as a whole race in a more deep and abstract way.
In the opening the chapter the reader is presented with the first idea that is continued throughout the whole novel. The idea is man's negative impact on the island; "the long scar smashed into the jungle" is the first quote given to the reader about the impact man has on the island. The language used by Golding in this quote is very violent sounding and harsh, this helps with the idea of the quote. The word "scar" in the quote is quite significant to the idea of the negative impact; a scar is left by a deep wound and can be often associated with war and violence. The shuttle crashing on the boys' arrival has left the scar in the landscape and so being still innocent and unaware to a degree the boys have already become subjects to the violence, destruction and evil inherent to mankind in the novel "Lord of the Flies".
Good and evil is presented through the characters early on in the novel. Ralph represents all things democratic and just, in the first few pages of the novel the reader can already tell that he is good rather evil. Ralph is ultimately good and Golding chooses to present this in the opening chapter through his eyes, "eyes that proclaimed no devil". It is often said that the eyes are the windows to the soul and if Ralph has "Eyes that proclaim no devil" then surely it means that Golding intended the reader to understand him as being good rather than evil. Nature is almost always presented, as being good although it is often opposed to mankind and the destruction is spreads although in the novel the forest is presented as evil. Ralph is able to resist the evil, "forest sliding over his skin". The quote suggests that the evil of the forest couldn't penetrate his skin; it is as though good and evil counteract each other if the will is strong enough.
The next encounter the reader has with the theme of good versus evil is the arrival of Jack and the choir. Darkness is associated with evil in the novel and the first reference that involves the boys is, "not all shadow". This is a relevant quote as it is true that not all the boys in the choir are dark, as some do not become hunters. It is as though in a very bleak novel there is almost a tiny spark of hope that not all is evil, although later in the novel Simon (the representation of all things good) is murdered. Jack is a representation of darkness and evil, this is backed up by the quote, "peered into what was to him almost complete darkness". This quote is quite significant to me as I feel that the idea of Jack not being able to see the light is important. If light is goodness in the novel and Jack can't see it then I feel that it makes him evil to a degree as the light, or goodness is not there in his eyes. And yet again if eyes depict the soul then surely it means his soul cannot see light so consequently it would appear he was already overrun by darkness.
Clothing plays an important part in Golding's portrayal of mankind and good versus evil. The choir as dressed in black and the quote, "hidden by black cloaks" has an ominous feeling to it on its own. The colour and language used in this one quote already gives the reader a feeling of dread. The word "hidden" is a word that gives me the impression of something that doesn't want its identity to be...
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