Lord of the Flies - Themes overview

Themes are ideas that run all the way through a literary text. By analysing them you can discuss the writer's intentions. What choices have they made? Why? What are they trying to get the reader to think and feel? Analysing themes allows you to write comprehensively about a literary text.

Themes of Lord of the Flies, showing the severed pig's head to represent evil, a hand wielding a spear to represent power, and a desert island representing the island

In Lord of the Flies there are several themes which could be analysed. Three main ones are:

  • evil
  • power
  • the island

Social and historical context

In his first novel, Lord of the Flies, William Golding examined themes which he would return to again and again throughout his writing career. His second novel, The Inheritors, for instance, told the story of how a brutal version of prehistoric mankind wiped out a much gentler tribe.