How does Golding use violence in the novel ‘Lord of the Flies’?
In the novel ‘Lord of the Flies’, Golding uses the theme of violence surfacing throughout the text. One reason for this was, Golding believed that every individual has the potential for evil and that the flawed human nature is seen in ‘mankind’s essential sickness’. His belief in this arrived through his time spent in war, so his aim was to challenge Ballantyne’s novel ‘Coral Island’, and in which Golding’s book the truth would be shown about his own thoughts of the darkness of mankind. As the theme of violence is in the heart of the novel, another reason of this is due to the quick breakdown of civilisation on the island. Through the breakdown, an ideal situation of violence and fundamentally evil humans is set and violence is flourished through conflicts manifesting.
The island begins to as a utopia for the boys, ‘the shimmering water’ explores the island as being a paradise and an obvious place of beauty. However dark traits of the island start to become prominent which begins to open Golding’s theme of violence; the plane crash on the island is described as a ‘scar’. This implies that before this mark had been left, the island was perfect and untouched whereas now the arrival of the outside world has immediately destroyed its beauty. The use of the word ‘scar’ could also suggest the state in which the plane has arrived from; as the war was ongoing the use of the formidable word shows the ruin in which the world back home was in. Furthermore, this instantly reveals the purpose of the boys arrival on the island, the war has led them to be evacuated so even though the horrors of the island are yet to come, the irony of the barbaric actions back home is introduced. Another example of the darkness on the island which is already seen is the description of the ‘skull-like coconuts’. In this, Golding compares something commonly related to a tropical island, being the ‘coconuts’, to in contrast be described as ‘skull-like’ which is related to death. Golding uses this to foreshadow the death and destruction on the island which is to follow. Similarly the heat is used to portray how the simple beauty of the island can be disturbed and easily turned into a dystopia. ‘The heat hit them’ implies that the usual attraction of the sun is turned into something negative. The use of the word ‘hit’ suggests a violent act, and could also infer that the island is already against them as these aggressive images are shown.
When the character of Jack is first introduced into the novel, along with his choir boys, they are described as the ‘black bat-like creature’; the use of dark animal imagery foreshadows the potential of mankind’s evil nature coming into play later on. Golding uses the word ‘creature’ to imply that we are not yet aware of Jack’s conceivable ruin of the island as ‘creature’ is usually related to the unknown. As the choir boys and Jack are almost seen as being one individual through this quote, ‘black bat-like creature’, the presumption that these boys will stick together is made. Jack’s description of his physical appearance is continued, ‘his hair red beneath his black cap’. As the colour red is generally associated with anger and danger, it portrays Jack’s fiery and possibly short temper, and him easily resorting to violence.
Within the first couple of chapters of the novel, Golding portrays the needs for civilisation and value which the boys strongly desire, suggesting their early innocence on the island. The boys want to try and replicate the rules and society of their home life; this is ironic as their life back home was in chaos, following Golding’s idea of ‘mankind’s essential sickness’. When the conch is introduced onto the island, many of the boys take this idea of order extremely seriously. For example, Piggy ‘cradles’ the conch portraying that the shell is of high importance and extreme value, due to the fact that its significance is...
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