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English Literature

Lord of the Flies

Themes - Test

Below are some quotations about destruction and violence in the novel.

Find a comment to explain each one.

a. It is frightening that Henry, who is only about 6 years old, enjoys tormenting these creatures. We usually assume that young children are innocent, but this quotation suggests that violence is part of them already. So, perhaps violence is something we are all born with. The quotation reminds us of Jack when he kills the first pig and triumphs for having outwitted a living thing.

b. The storm that occurs on the night that Simon dies suggests that nature itself contributes towards the violence. The island is playing its part again. There is a tense atmosphere - the littluns scream when the thunder and lightning start. There is a sense of inevitability that something horrific will happen.

c. This dramatic climax to a hunt provides the pig that Jack uses for the offering to the beast. The long sentence creates a crescendo that ends on the word terror. Who is terrified, the pig or the boys?

It is a frightening event, but immediately afterwards Jack and his hunters are laughing over it - they have enjoyed the hunt so much they act it out. They are immune to feeling horror for what they have done.

d. The conch was a symbol of the civilised society that the boys had tried to establish on the island. Its violent destruction is symbolic of how any civilisation there was has been destroyed by violence.The conch is destroyed by the rock levered by Roger that killed Piggy. It is significant that Piggy and the conch 'die' together, as Piggy tried to maintain civilised values and rules.

Chillingly, Jack celebrates the destruction of the conch as there is nothing now to stop him wielding absolute power.

e. The Captain's words to Ralph are meant as a joke, he does not realise the seriousness of the situation, or that he has just saved Ralph's life. The arrival of the civilised adults contrasts with boy's situation and highlights just how far things have gone: they have been having a war. Free from civilisations constraints the true darkness and evil of human nature have been revealed.

f. Ralph realises, humans are really cruel, violent and evil. Civilization and 'rules' keep this evil, destructive instinct under control, but away from civilisation, it is impossible. It is interesting that we usually associate the heart with love; Ralph sees it here as full of hate.

1.

"What have you been doing? Having a war or something?"

2.

"Ralph wept for ... the darkness of man's heart"

3.

"She squealed and bucked and the air was full of sweat and noise and blood and terror."

4.

"Evening was come, not with calm beauty but with the threat of violence."

5.

"The conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist."

6.

"Henry watches creatures on the beach. He pokes them with a stick. He became absorbed beyond mere happiness as he felt himself exercising control over living things."