Lord of the flies

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uppladdat: 2005-02-02

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General information on author and book:
The Lord of the Flies was published 1954 by the famous writer William Golding. It’s a book about the darker side of people being forced to appear due to an extraordinary situation. Golding’s books are known to be very dark and he often brings out the evil parts of the human being.

Golding was born in Cornwall 1911, he studied hard and got accepted at Oxford University where he studied literature and physics. Later on, in 1940, he took part in World War 2 by joining the British Navy. The horrible experience of a brutal war changed his perspective on mankind and is probably the main reason for the darkness in his books. He simply couldn’t believe in human innocence anymore, believing that everyone and everybody was more or less guilty of having a more cruel and savage side. Golding was awarded with the Nobel price in literature 1983 and died ten years later in Wiltshire, England.

Characters:
Ralph:
Ralph is a 12 years old boy “built like a boxer”. He is blonde and due to his all positive features, he is chosen to be the leader of the kids. Ralph’s “no.1 enemy” is Jack with whom he keeps arguing and fighting. The main reason for their quarrels is the fact that Ralph is most utterly concerned about being rescued whereas Jack doesn’t really care. Ralph and Piggy are the ones that try to keep up the democracy and the order on the island.

Jack:
Jack is the oldest kid on the island, 13 years old. He looks upon himself as the natural leader and is very disappointed when Ralph is elected instead, this is the first event in the pile that eventually makes
Jack hate Ralph so much. Jack is described as a very ugly kid and he seemed to carry a lot of anger even before he came to the island which tells the reader that he has had a pretty rough life so far and kind of explains his crazy behaviour later on. While Ralph wants to act as an adult, Jack only wants to have fun, he doesn’t seem to miss the “real world” at all.

Piggy:
Piggy is no doubt the smartest kid of them all, though most of the others, Ralph unaccounted for, hardly see behind his fat figure and his glasses. Piggy, even more than Ralph, tries to cling on to civilization. His glasses are pretty vital to the kids since the specs are the only tool they’ve got to start fires with. When the children are divided in two camps, the “Evil Team” raids their old settlement and steals the glasses.

Roger:
Roger is the uttermost evil character in the whole book. Early on, he walks around wrecking sandcastles that the little’uns built, which gives you a bad feeling about Roger. Sadly enough, the feeling is confirmed as Roger turns into a really sadistic kid who enjoys causing pain and misery. Roger is kind of Jack’s right arm, he gladly tortures a pig Jack’s hunters catch and is the first one to deliberately kill another kid.

Simon:
Simon is pretty important to Ralph and the book overall. He manages to keep up Ralph’s spirit when Ralph is failing to do so himself by repeatedly saying that they’ll be rescued somehow. Simon enjoys taking a walk to his special place in the jungle. One day when he goes there, there’s a pig’s head impaled on a pole and stuck in the ground. The head is almost covered in flies and becomes the Lord of the Flies. Simon is later mistaken to be “The Beast”, something the kids think dwells in the jungle, and killed. Even though Simon is the one person to point out that the beast only exists in their minds.


Plot:
Different from many other books, The Lord of the Flies is not at all slow in the beginning, it starts off with a dramatic planecrash which sends the young passengers and the pilot swimming for the shores of an island in the Atlantic Ocean. This was not an accident, the book takes place during World War 2 and the boys’ plane was shot down by German forces (Damn ze Germanz to schell! :). The unlucky travellers were English boys, all of them between six and thirteen years old. Due to lack of organization in the water (can’t blame ‘em), the boys crawls up on the shores all scattered round. Everyone is alone or is accompanied by a few others.

Two of the main characters, Ralph and Piggy, meets each other on the beach and finds a conch shell. Piggy tells Ralph how to make a noise with it and he uses it to summon all the other survivors to a council where they take a vote for who’s gonna be the chieftain. Ralph is chosen, probably because of the fact that it was he who took the initiative and called them to the assembly in the first place. He sets a few rules, such as there’s always gonna be a fire on the mountain to enhance their chances of rescue.

This far the boys are, considering the circumstances, pretty happy being stranded there without any parents or adults to watch over them. They can pretty much act as they want during their time there which leads to unnecessary cruelty and savage behaviour.

As the book goes on the youngsters divide into two camps, one trying to uphold civilized manners and keep the fire going and the other just having as much fun as possible. Ralph is the chief of the “good tribe” and Jack is leading his deeper and deeper into savagery and madness.

I refuse to write anymore about the plot since I think you’ve read it and retelling a book just sucks… and I hate it, so very, very much ‘-_-‘

Behold ViXxt0rs m4d th0ughts 4b0ut t3h Lord of the Flies:

Well, first off I’d like to say that I enjoyed reading LotF. I wanted to put it down and go to sleep but things just kept happening and there came blood and I was scared! ANARCHY!! ANARCHY I SAY!!

So, maybe I should start with my opinion and m4d thoughts… BEHOLD!
Seriously, I have no idea whatsoever where to begin… ph00k.

I believe that LotF is about the human psyche and what happens when the basic rules of society is broken. Anarchy. It started off just fine, they held an assembly on the beach, made up a few rules and chose Ralph as their chieftain. This is where I think they made their first mistake, rules but no punishment for breaking them? Now that’s just silly. I’m not saying that they should torture someone for taking a piss in the wrong bush, but they should come up with some kind of agreement about what to do with kids who doesn’t take their situation seriously.

Another thing the book teaches us is that you can always manage to stuff in an extra adult on trips like this. Parents represent punishment for many a kid, if they do something wrong there’s almost always a parent or an adult there to yell at them or worse, especially at that time when hitting a child wasn’t unusual at all.

The kids must have felt unsure of what to do when no authorityfigures where around to tell them, this is where Ralph comes in. He tried to organize the kids, which led me to think that he probably came from a family where he felt safe and secure. He needed to know that some things are steadfast, wherever you are. Ralph mature a lot on the island and the more mature he gets, the stronger the hatred for him Jacks feels.

Jack, on the other hand, had probably quite a tough childhood where he needed to assert himself in different ways. This reflects for example his reaction when Ralph was chosen as the leader instead of him, he wanted the leadership to satisfy his ego and to get acknowledgement. Jack’s right hand man, Roger, was probably a quiet and perhaps bullied kid at home. In the beginning he’s kind of silent but as book goes on, he becomes more and more evil. Just as Ralph represents order and civilization, Jack anarchy, Roger represents pure evil. This is foreshadowed when he throws rocks at the little’uns just for the pleasure of scaring them and when he enjoys torturing the pig they caught. He is a sadistic bastard if you ask me, though I don’t believe he was born that way as much as his surroundings shaped his during his childhood.

When Jack and his hunters finally kill their first prey, everyone is over-exited dancing around the fire like savages and they react the capture and the kill. Even Ralph is strongly affected by the group-pressure and during the insanity the kids, blinded by their own savage behaviour, accidently hurt the kid on whom it fell upon to play the pig. This is Golding’s way of telling us that even the “good guys” are evil when the circumstances are right.

I believe Jack’s mask of face paint liberates him of common sense, letting him do as he pleases not having to worry about serious matters. Roger painting Jack’s face is the beginning of their evil relationship.

So, what about he beast?
It’s the boys’ greatest fear, for sure. At the beach assembly, a little kid with a birthmark said that he saw a beast in the jungle. This wasn’t really the smartest thing to say, since it’s the reason for the future madness. When the little kid disappears after the great fire started by the first fire, nobody has actually seen the beast, which makes it kind of hard to defeat, undefeatable if you will. Whereas the boys first looked up to Ralph to guide them and to take care of them, they are now drawn to the security of Jack and his hunters, since it seems like the only way to stay safe from the beast.

The Lord of the Flies is the hunters’ sacrifice to appease the Beast. I think that since they couldn’t kill it they felt a need to please it.

The symbolism is very important in LotF, for example when they trade Ralph for Jack as their leader, they trade order for disorder and when the fire goes out, so does their hope of getting rescued.

The conch, which made any kind of civilization possible in the first place gets shattered into pieces when Piggy is killed at castle rock. When that happened, I think they shook off their last mental restrains and that is why they started hunting Ralph like an animal.

Simon is the one that represent pure goodness, the group’s very own little saint. The reason Golding kills him off is because he thinks it’s an evil world we live in and if you don’t adjust to it you won’t survive, or something like that :]

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  • Jonas Smyth 2008-02-11

    Mycket bra skrivet! Får mig at


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Viktor Poromaa [2005-02-02]   Lord of the flies
Mimers Brunn [Online]. http://mimersbrunn.se/article?id=3286 [2017-04-28]

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