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Golding's 'Lord of the Flies' is more than a tale about a group of boys stranded on an island during WWII. A life free from rules and adults seems like a dream, but it quickly turns into hell on earth. The boys face the ultimate challenge of remaining civilised without supervision nor guidelines. Through the use of symbolism, Golding reveals that humans detached from society's rules allows their innate evil to dominate their existence. Golding uses the contrast of his characters, Ralph, Piggy and Jack to establish that with time, the darkness of man's heart will eventually emerge, master their life and lead to the breakdown of society. His next essential use of symbolism is provided when the conch is smashed. This action indicates the collapse of civilisation and the acceptance of savagery. Ralph & Piggy adored the conch due to its representation of the order of civilisation. Since the conch is destroyed, there is no value of the rules that initially governed the island; the boys gradually morph into savages. Golding uses Jack to represent savagery through his description of Jack's hunting tactics & nakedness. In the opening chapters, Jack is the leader of the choir; this choir is associated with darkness and violence. They are described as dark creatures with black caps and cloaks to hide their faces. Jack has a thirst for power & a deep desire to control others, encouraging them to embrace their inner savagery too; fear and temptation drives others to join his tribe. If one carefully dissects the novel, the use of symbolism to present the theme concerning 'the darkness of man's heart' is clearly present. Golding uses his characters and additional articles on the island to demonstrate that man is inherently immoral. Man's immorality is concealed by the rules governing society. Once a man is liberated from rules, he will eventually allow his dark desires to dominate his being.
To “explore the darkness of man’s heart” is one of the key themes in William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies. As the boys on the island regress from well-behaved, well-mannered children aching for rescue to cruel, bloodthirsty hunters who have no desire to return to civilization, the boys naturally lose their sense of innocence that they possessed at the beginning of the novel. This novel is about young English boys Marooned on an uninhabited island, with no adult supervision, forcing them to create their own “civilization”. Three key ideas of darkness of mans heart are loss of innocence, characters and symbolism. Firstly, Golding highlights darkness of mans heart by showing the boy's loss of innocence. One of the key quotes to describe “Darkness of mans heart” is “Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart, and the fall through the air of a true, wise friend called Piggy”. This quote is at the end of the novel where the boys encounter the Naval officer, who appears out of nowhere to rescue them. When ralph sees the officer he realizes that he is now safe and will be returned to “actual civilization”. Ralph understands he has lost his innocence and learned about the evil that loiters within all human beings. In the Novel Golding does not expose this loss of innocence as something the children have done but he implies that the loss of innocence comes naturally. It is ironic how the boys become evil savage and cruel to each other creating a war just like the one they have fled from. Furthermore, Golding explores the darkness of mans heart by showing the good of young English boys then he shows how “how every person has a dark side”. The boys naturally lose the sense of innocence that they possessed at the beginning of the novel. Ralph, the novels protagonist, is a 12-year-old boy who is elected leader on the island. Ralph tries to create a civilization though- the boys are not co-operating and tension rises. Ralph loses his belief in the innocence of humanity, because he himself does not commit any immoral act, from memory. Whereas Ralph and Jack stand at different ends of the “battlefield” between civilization and savagery. Moreover, darkness of mans heart can be interpreted in the novel by using symbolism. “Lord of the flies” is the bloody, severed sow’s head that jack spears in the forest glade as an offering to the beast. This symbol becomes the most significant image in the novel when Simon confronts the sow’s head in the glade and it speaks to him. Telling him that the evil lies within every human heart. Lord of the Flies biblical meaning is named “Beelzebub, a powerful sometimes thought to be the devil himself. Golding uses Piggy’s violent death symbolically to represent an end to civilization and order on the island. Roger, the symbol of evil, releases the giant boulder that smashes the conch and kills Piggy his death is incredibly symbolic, especially in the way he dies being smashed by a boulder is not only an extremely violent way to die, but it is also senseless and meaningless. The moment is a snapshot for the most important theme of the novel Darkness of mans heart and savagery.
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