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"Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall...

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leila324 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 14, 2011 at 2:30 AM via web

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"Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of a true, wise friend called Piggy."

Within the quote from Lord of the Flies are there any literary devices present like hyperbole, metaphor? There must be one!

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susan3smith | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted March 14, 2011 at 5:37 AM (Answer #1)

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This quote from the last chapter of Lord of the Flies is one of the most memorable ones.  You are quite right that there are some literary devices used to make such a line so full of pathos.  "The darkness of man's heart" is a metaphor for evil, savagery, power struggles that so plagued the boys on the island.  In this particular metaphor the literal reference to evil and savagery is implied rather than being directly stated; the figurative term "darkness of man's heart" is stated. 

"Fall" in the next line is both literal and figurative.  Piggy did fall through the air to his death; but "fall" can also be a metaphor for Piggy's decline in influence and power throughout the novel.  As Jack grows more brazen and powerful, Piggy becomes more and more helpless.  His glasses are broken and later stolen.  Before his death, he is trying to talk some sense into the boys but his words only result in mocking laughter and a deliberate murder. 

I can't help but think that the first two words, "Ralph wept" are an allusion to the biblical verse "Jesus wept."  Ralph, like Jesus, is indeed weeping for man's inhumanity to man.

If your analysis could include rhetorical devices, you might note that the sentence contains parallelism;  repetition of the same grammatical structure.  Each item in the three-part list is comprised of a noun followed by a prepositional phrase.    

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 14, 2011 at 5:47 AM (Answer #2)

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On the last page of William Golding's Lord of the Flies, having been rescued by the naval officer from death at the hands of Jack and the hunters who have descended to pure savagery, Ralph assesses what has happened on the island where the boys have been stranded.  Overcome with emotion, Ralph begins to sob, weeping for what in themselves has been lost.  Certainly, their child-like innocence is gone, and Simon is dead.  Ralph recognizes "the evil that men do" [Julius Caesar] instrinsically; finally, he understands what it has been about which Simon was inarticulate at the assembly held in Chapter Five. "The darkness of man's heart" is a metaphor for Simon's understanding of the evil that is inherent in human beings, an evil that is released when the restraints of civilization are loosened or removed.

As he remembers his wise friend, Piggy, Ralph shakes and sobs, too.  Poor Piggy, who was so cruelly killed by the sadistic Roger, "who carried death in his hands" and sent the pink granite rock upon Piggy, striking him with a blow from chin to knee.  Piggy fell forty feet and landed on his back across a red rock; his head opened and his arms and legs twitched in death.  Then, the sea swept Piggy's boy from Ralph's view.  Piggy's death is metaphorically expressed in Ralph's thoughts of his "fall through the air."

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