After reading Lord of the Flies, could you say there is a question of hope - or is the novel entirely dark?If you can give examples of hope in the novel.

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When the boys start out, they use knowledge to make fire which can be used as a source of good. It creates warmth, can cook food and will create smoke to signal a rescue. Fire is one of the traditional symbols of technology and knowledge and is linked/symbolized by Piggy’s glasses and his attempts to improve their life on the island through knowledge and science. Ralph’s initial calmness and sense of order create the possibility for a ‘good’ society on the island. He is pitted against Jack as “civil” versus  “barbaric” and Ralph eventually resorts to barbarism in order to survive. But this conflict implies that the possibility of good. Any time there is a conflict between good and evil, hope is implicit or inherent or always already possible. The nature of conflict implies that two opposing forces exist. The very existence of ‘good’ necessarily means that hope is always available. Maybe Simon is the perfect example of good in the novel. Overall, it was not an easy transition to darkness and barbarism. That means that there was resistance to this; individually in certain situations and socially. Conflicting attitudes are evidence of this resistance.

Resistance to evil = hope.



lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a great question because the novel is so filled with the uncivilized behavior of the children and the behavior devolves as the novel progresses -- all the way to the point that Jack is willing to destroy the whole island in his savage pursuit of Ralph.  The positive, noble characters are systematically destroyed by the evil of the other characters, most notably, Simon and later Piggy.  With all that said though, there is a small ray of hope at the end of the novel.  When the naval commander stands there and surveys the situation, the boys all look down in shame.  They are almost immediately brought back to the reality of civilization as it is represented by the officer.  If they felt no shame, then I would say the novel would be considered entirely dark, but the fact that Ralph fights to the bitter end, and the boys recognize their consciences again, gives the reader a note of hope that maybe not all is lost for the boys -- and for society as a whole, as it is represented by all of the characters and events in the novel. 

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would agree with Post #3, but it's a little hard to think that the boys' shame in the face of the naval officer is so hopeful.  After all, this is a guy who is involved in a pretty terrible war -- one that is bad enough that the kids were having to get evacuated.

I think Golding is making the point that even the "civilized" world isn't.  The adults pretend to be civilized and to disapprove of the boys, but they're just as savage since they are having this war.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Written in the wake of the war that Ernie Pyle called "hell," Golding's Lord of the Flies portrays man as an inherently evil creature.  For, early in the novel appears Roger, who sadistically hunts down the youngsters.  That Simon is the only one to recognize Beelezebub also, and that he is unable to communicate this knowledge is the nemesis of Simon, Ralph, Piggy, and order suggests the darkness of this novel.

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are only the slightest slivers of hope in the novel, and even as we get a glimpse of them they disappear. For example, when the boys are playing in the sand and Roger throws rocks near him but does still have enough restraint and civility not to throw at him. That doesn't last very long, as Roger degrades into a savagery which is even more sadistic than Jack's. No hope is given, as Golding intended. 

e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Piggy, as a symbol, can be taken as a figure of hope. He never loses his sense of honor or his sense of civility. When he demands his glasses back from Jack, he justifies this demand as a course of action driven by "what's right" and not for personal reasons. This adherence to a code of conduct is hopeful in the face of all the erosion of civility presented in the other boys. 

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Lord of the Flies

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