Wednesday, July 31, 2019

How Does Golding Show Conflict in Lord of the Flies? Essay

In lord of the flies, Golding presents a strong sense of conflict, between the boys, the boys and nature and the boy’s personal lives. The theme of conflict is an important one within the novel, as it helps to represent the disagreement and fighting of World War II which was happening during the time that Lord of the flies was written and that Golding experienced first-hand. Golding’s main message in Lord of the flies was how cruel men could be to one another and conflict is an obvious link to this idea. We begin to see conflict very early in the novel, even before the story begins, as Golding tries to introduce the key themes at the start of the novel. The boys are actually brought to the island itself by the conflicts of World War II. While conflict and violence is happening in the macrocosm that is the world, it starts to arise on the island, a microcosm of the world. We also see conflict and tension between Ralph and Piggy for a number of reasons. Ralph straightaway thinks of himself as superior to Piggy because he is physically more attractive and athletic then Piggy. While Jack is described as a ‘fair boy’ a stereotypical sign of goodness and pureness who ‘might make a boxer as far as width and heaviness of shoulders went’ and with ‘size and attractive appearance’ that ‘marked him out’. Piggy on the other hand is ‘plump,’ ‘shorter than the fair boy and very fat’. Ralph also mocks piggy by calling him by the nickname he dislikes. This is a deliberate act of cruelty as Piggy says confidently: ‘I don’t care what they call long as they don’t call me what they used to call me at school†¦They used to call me â€Å"Piggy†.’ But Ralph ignores this and mocks Piggy, he ‘shrieked with laughter †¦Jumped up..†Piggy!†Ã¢â‚¬â„¢. He is also rude to him by disregarding his health problem, saying, ‘sucks to your ass-mar!’. This immediate superiority Ralph feels over Piggy and his cruelty towards him could be a representation of how people in society generally act and think, and the behaviour towards thinkers or people with disabilities, that appearance and physical attractiveness is important and superior and that health impairments such as very poor eyesight and asthma marks so meone out as being different and therefore strange. It is also important that Golding has shown that Ralph has the capability to be cruel. Although we later find out that he is a representation of democracy, Ralph as a person can’t be holey good but he can’t be holey evil either. This links to Golding’s main message of Lord of the flies, which was inspired by seeing the awful things men could do to one another: that man, no matter how good, democratic or orderly can be holey good and are capable of being cruel, mostly for no valid reason and often as a result of discrimination and hunger for power. We also see a feature of emotional conflict between the boys. Ralph’s father is in the navy, another person who contributes to the conflict within the world and the island. As well as this, he is not only in the navy but a commander in the navy and taught Ralph how to swim. When Ralph asks Piggy about his father, piggy ‘flushes suddenly’ and replies: ‘‘My dad’s dead’ he said quickly, ‘and my mum—‘†¦Ã¢â‚¬â„¢I used to live with my auntie†¦Ã¢â‚¬â„¢. His words give us the indication that his father is dead, his mother has left him and that his auntie used to look after him but no longer w ants him. His upbringing, especially in comparison to Ralph’s, makes him feel insignificant and upset and evokes pathos in the reader. From this, and his cockney accent (‘all them other kids’, ‘we was attacked’) we can conclude that Piggy represents the underclass in the 1950s. However, out of all the boys, the majority of which attended private school or were educated in grammar school, piggy is the best one, even though he has had to live in care and has been neglected through his childhood, all things which Golding uses to make the reader feel empathy and sympathy towards him. As a character, Piggy is the cleverest among the boys: ‘what intelligence had been shown was traceable to piggy’ but he is really a weak boy with good ideas. Golding could be making a point that your background does not necessarily determine how intelligent you are and that a lower class child can be very intelligent. We experience more tension between Ralph and Piggy due to Ralph’s attitude that he is superior, through linguistic conflict. Piggy continuously asks Ralph questions, such as ‘what’s your name?’, ‘you haven’t seen the others have you?’ and making comments and telling Ralph about himself: ‘My auntie told me not to run†¦on account of my asthma’ and ‘I expect we’ll want to know all there names’. He is enthusiastic and keen to talk to Ralph, possibly due to the usual lack of attention he receives back home. However Ralph ‘tried to be offhand and not too obviously uninterested’ and replied to Piggy’s comments with just a shake of his head or not even acknowledging him at all. As well as this, when Piggy asked Ralph his name he ‘waited to be asked his name in turn but this proffer of acquaintance was not made’. This yet again shows how Ralph thinks of himself as superior to Piggy and doesn’t feel he needs to treat or show piggy the same respect and interest that he gave to Ralph. Piggy also partly creates a gap between himself and Ralph by following Ralph and showing so much interest in him. Piggy ‘hung steadily at his shoulder’ and ‘stood by him, breathing hard’. This could show that Ralph has a natural sense of leadership about him which makes Piggy feel as though he should look up to him. However, it is mainly due to the fact that Piggy is neglected, of love and also friendship, which makes him feel he needs to attach himself to someone like Ralph. As well as this, Piggy is frightened by the prospect of ‘no grown-ups’ and needs a sense of authority, like Ralph, to latch onto. We can see how nervous and lacking in confidence Piggy can be, due to neglect as he ‘took off his glasses†¦then started to wipe them’, an action he seems to be doing all the time. This fidgeting behaviour is especially seen when Piggy is feeling particularly insignificant and upset talking about his upbringing: ‘†My dad’s dead,’ he said quickly, ‘and my mum—‘†¦. He took of his glasses and looked vainly for something with which to clean them on’. Another important conflict within the book can be seen between two of the main leaders, Ralph and Jack. Before the boys even interact with each other we can foresee that there will be tension between the two characters. Jack’s choir is describes a ‘creature’. This description could indicate that the choir (le d by Jack) cloud later become more savage, like a ‘creature’. As well as this, the colour black that Jack and the choir’s uniforms are made from is symbolic, with black being symbolising evil and bad things. The description of Ralph is set in antithesis of Jack – Jack is described as ‘black’ and ‘ugly’ and Ralph as ‘golden’. Later in the book we see that the two boys makes choices and live in ways that would be expected by their description, Jack as savage and cruel and Ralph as democratic and reasonable. Golding could be implying that one can make valid judgements from appearance. He also writes that Jack was ‘underneath the floating cloak†¦tall, thin and bony. His face was crumpled and freckled and ugly with silliness’. This description once again draws up an image of Jack being a ‘bad’ character because of his ugliness. However, by using the modifier ‘without t silliness’, Golding modifies the statement on Jack’s appearance, that although he is ugly, the children would not be able to laugh at him. This could represent Jack’s power and intimidation towards the other children through sheer appearance and manner. Jack also speaks in imperative sentences (e.g. ‘choir, stand still! ) and the boys ‘huddled together’ in fear of him and stand with ‘wearily obedience’. This shows us they are used to taking orders from Jack. We can also see that Jakc thinks of himself as having superiority, as he wants to be called by his surname ‘Merridew’. Jack is obviously from a posh background and will have been to private school. Having characters like Jack and Ralph as leaders, boys who attended public school, could be Golding’s representation of society, how many leading roles and responsibilities are taken by upper-class privately educated people, while many lower-class people, some who may be intelligent like piggy, are left behind, as they have not been in an environment where being confident and superior is normal and expected. When it comes to actually voting for a chief, ‘the most obvious leader was Jack’, described by Golding as ‘this was the voice of one who knew his own mind’. This shows us that Jack already asserts himself as a leader in opposition to that of Ralph who doesn’t. However it is Ralph who is chosen by the boys to be chief. It is not only ‘his size and attractive appearance’, but there was also ‘a stillness about Ralph†¦that marked him out’ and ‘most powerfully there was the conch†¦the being that had blown that†¦was set apart’. The conch links to democracy, order and civilised society and there is a link between Ralph, ‘the being that had blown that’, that the boys also see. Golding would have been making the point that the boys chose, even when they didn’t know him, Ralph, the link to democracy, order and civilised society, to be their chief because a democratic leader is the right leader to have and the boys can see this and therefore choose Ralph even without knowing him. When Jack did not get voted as chief, ‘the freckles disappeared on jack’s face under a blush of mortification’. This shows us how embarrassed, angry and upset Jack was for not being chosen as Chief. This could be a point of conflict between Ralph and Jack within the book, however Ralph tries to keep peace with jack and ‘looked at him, eager to offer something’. This demonstrates Ralph’s eagerness to be a good and fair leader. However, another point at which Ralph tries to avoid conflict between Jack and himself is when laughs at Jack’s name calling at piggy and says, ‘he’s not fatty†¦his real name’s Piggy!’. This brings Ralph and Jack closer and creates common ground between them but yet again demonstrates the fact that Ralph can be capable of cruelty. We also see Ralph’s attempts to avoid conflict with Jack over the role of leader by allowing jack that ‘the choir belongs to you obviously.’ This action gives Jack some leadership and makes him feel more powerful as well as foreshadowing Ralph’s later attempts to break the conflict between him and Jack and bring the two together again. Nearing the end of the chapter, we experience the boy’s conflict with nature. This is represented by Golding, when the boys go to push a rock down from its original place on the mountain top. During their attempt, ‘the great rock loitered, poised on one toe’. This behaviour, and other actions, is typical of the way humans have often treated the planet, destroying natural objects or areas from their original state for human need and want. Golding was aware that humankind is stupid enough to destroy the very land that gives it food and life and we see this idea explored further in the novel, when the boyâ₠¬â„¢s destroy a lot of food and firewood, elements that keep them alive, in a n uncontrollable fire. This, and the rolling of the rock, demonstrates that even if the boys are intelligent or strong humans, they will never really overpower nature and that it will always be in conflict with them. As well as this, the rolling of the rock down the mountain side is proleptic of Piggy’s death. We later also see that Jack experiences self-conflict. During Simon, Ralph and Jack’s expedition of the island they come across a pig which Jack tries to kill, but isn’t able to. He felt he couldn’t, as he understood ‘what an enormity the downward stroke would be’. The boys also ‘knew very well why he hadn’t: because of the enormity of the knife: descending and cutting into living flesh: because of the unbearable blood.’ This shows us that Jack is not yet be far enough removed from civilised society to be able to kill a pig. However, he ‘snatched his knife’ and ‘slammed it into a tree trunk’, saying, ‘Next time!’ and ‘he looked round fiercely, daring them to contradict’. This shows that his natural, evil, menacing and savage instincts are in him that only now on the island are recently coming across. Notice how Golding uses the verb ‘flesh’, a word which is not clearly specific to a pig and could easily be confused with the ‘flesh’ of a human. This shows us that when jack does ‘next time’ kill, his knife could be coming down into the flesh of a pig, or the flesh of a human. It is important that Golding has introduced the variety of conflicts in the first chapter, so that the key themes are established early on and can develop throughout the book and as to foreshadow events that will happen later on in the novel.

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