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Lord of the Flies as a Symbolic and Allegorical Work

An investigation of Golding's novel as allegory.

Golding is the writer of pre-war era. The world war one was a disaster to all humanity, it disillusioned the entire world especially it was a great shock to the whole Christianity. Different writers wrote about this disillusionment. The World War Second came as a monster and atom bomb became the means to destroy the humanity. The use of atomic bomb was such an act that only refers to evil. Golding is one of those writers who deal with the theme of evil. According to Golding?s view evil is not external to individual it is internal to individual; it comes from inside the man. Golding himself says, ?Man produces evil as bee produces honey?
In the novel ?The Lord of the Flies? Golding deals with the same theme in allegorical terms. This theme has biblical undertones in it, as Golding deals with the degenerated nature of human beings, because of their original sin. But Golding?s view is sociological rather than religious. This theme of evil nature is repeated in Golding?s other novels like Pincher Martin and The Inheritors, Philippa Tristram says in this regard, ?In all his novels he has be en concerned with man?s fallen nature and with the relation of the fall of blighting self-consciousness.? To William R Mueller, the novel is the parable of fallen man who is guilty of original sin and therefore, is by nature sinful.
Besides being an allegorical work most the critics takes it as a parable or a fable, as it has some moralistic views. As Bernard Dick This novel is an allegory as Golding treats the theme of good and evil in allegorical terms. Raymond Las Vergans says about this novel that this novel is, ?a philosophical allegory on the duality of human nature.?
As the evil is an abstract theme so Golding uses the device of allegory to convey his view point more effectively, which means that nothing in this novel is said directly but the main ideas and theme are frequently represented indirectly through symbols. Ian Gregor says,?We are made aware that much more than this story is being told; indeed a clearly focused and coherent body of meaning appears to be crystallizing out of every episode.?
The novel ?Lord of the Flies? begins like an adventure story like ? Coral Island?, but as the story proceeds the allegorical quality of the novel reveals itself.
The island on which the boys find themselves is allegorically our world in miniature. The impulses and the behaviour of the boys are those of adults. The tussle between Jack and Ralph for leadership is the allegory of our political leaders who always fight and kill for the sake of power. The way the boys are being seduced by Jack, the leaders of our world exploit the masses. Our world is very fertile like the island, but in their ambition to get the power the leaders destroy this world just like the boys who burn the whole island to ashes without realizing that they are destroying their own means of survival. The division of the boys in littlens and biggens is the allegory of the classes in our world. Littlens allegorically the common people, while the biggens are the allegory of the ruling, powerful and political classes.
The island is also the allegory of Garden of Eden, fertile which brings freedom and happiness to the boys. They play, swim, eat and hunt and they are very happy. After the entrance of the beast in the shape of a snake the island gradually begins to corrupt. After being corrupted by the evil the island becomes the allegory of Inferno or blazing hell.
The shell or the conch is allegory of order, civilization and democratic power. The conch gathers the boys as well as summons them to order, democracy and rationality. As soon as the conch breaks the boys regress to their primitive stage of cannibalism.
Piggy?s specs are the allegory of the power of science and intellectual endeavour in society and civilization as they are used to make the fire for the boys.
The fire is allegorically very important. In the beginning it is the allegory of rescue as Ralph himself says, ?The fire is the most important thing on the island. How can we ever be rescued except by luck if we don?t keep a fire going??
The signal fire is also the connection between the boys and the civilization. Allegorically it also represents the comfort and safety for the boys who are afraid of the beast. In the end Ralph admits the double function of the fire; ?Certainly one was to send up the beckoning column of smoke; but the other was to be a hearth now and a comfort until they slept.?
Painted face is allegorically the mask of evil, which hides the identity of the boys. It conceals their civilized identity as well as makes them free of shame. The mask was the thing ?behind which Jack hid, liberated from shame and self consciousness.? Jack does not kill the pig unless he paints his face, even he himself does not recognize his own self after painting his face, and ?He looked in astonishment, no longer at himself but an awesome stranger.?
The beast is allegorically very important. The beast is imaginary, as there exist no beast but within the boys and it is only Simon on whom the truth dawns as he says about the beast ?may be it?s only us.? The Lord of the Flies tells the same thing as he says ?Fancy thinking the beast is something you could hunt and kill!??. you know didn?t you? I am part of you? Close, close, close! I am the reason why there is no go? Why things are what they are?? Nobody is the exception as Lord of the Flies says ?we shall do you, see? Jack and Roger and Maurice and Robert and Bill and Piggy and Ralph. Do you see?? The belief on the beast grows stronger and more pronounced with the growth of the evil and the savagery of the boys. And in the end the boys treat the beast as God as they offer him the head of the sow.
The Lord of the Flies is allegorically the most important aspect of the novel. The Lord of the Flies is the translation of the name of the biblical Beelzebub, a powerful demon in hell. It is the sow?s head on the stick. The hallucinatory conversation of Simon with the Lord of the Flies is thematically very important part of the novel/ This Lord of the Flies is the physical manifestation of the beast. Allegorically it is the power of evil and a kind of satanic figure who evokes the beast with in human beings. Mark Kinkead Wekes says, ?The pig?s head is not an allegory of anything abstract or out side the boys, like a Devil, it is like the parachutist, a solid object with a history that human had provided.?
The flies that hover rounds the dead head are allegorically the instincts of human beings that always surround them and push them forwards to evil.
As the novel is allegory each character signifies an important idea or theme. Piggy is the allegory the scientific and intellectual aspect of society. He is a father like figure who always advises for good. Jeane Delbaere Garant says about piggy, ?Piggys protruding belly is the image of his affirmation, of his determination to change the world instead of accepting it.?
Simon is the allegory of the natural human goodness. He is a Christ like figure could discover the truth but unlike the Christ he is sacrificed before he can deliver it to others. Jeane Delbaere Garant says, ?Simon is the passive element: like the candle buds in his shelter.?
The character of Ralph is the allegory of order, leadership and civilization more over; he is the allegory of the confused that are always confused in the selection and the recognition of good and evil. Jack is allegorically a character who accepts the evil and practices it without shame.
To conclude the novel The Lord of the Flies is an allegorical work. Many images and characters are used as allegory. E. M. Forster rightly says that it ?begins like a Ballantyne yarn, but ends grimly otherwise.?

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