Appearance vs Reality in Lord of the FliesCan anyone please explain in detail the theme Appearance vs Reality in the novel Lord of the Flies? how its relevant to the text and the cause of...

Appearance vs Reality in Lord of the Flies

Can anyone please explain in detail the theme Appearance vs Reality in the novel Lord of the Flies? how its relevant to the text and the cause of it?  It would be better if quotes are included :)

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Chapter 5 of Lord of the Flies by William Golding, a concerned Ralph has called a meeting later in the day than usual because he is worried about the breakdown in order among the boys.  Significantly, he looks around the place of assembly where there is the beach and the ocean's side, representing reality; then, he see the lagoon, symbolic of illusions. In front of him is the "darkness of the island," which gives rise to the boys' nightmares.  Now that the sun is lower and not blinding, it slants in at one side "so that the shadows were where they ought to be."  Ralph falls into a pensive mood; he wonders,

If faces were different when lit from above or below--what was a face?  What was anything?

At this point, Ralph realizes that appearances can be deceiving.  He has been convinced that civilization with its rules has held the boys together, but now he is not so sure that civilization is not a facade.  Civilization may not be real, just as the masks disguise the faces and savage nature of Jack and the hunters, and just as the "beast" or the Lord of the Flies disguises the real evil in the natures of the boys.

The ensuing debate at the meeting on what the beast is reflects this ambiguity of reality.  Even when the intuitive Simon attempts to articulate what the beast really is,

Simon became inarticulate in his effort to express mankind's essential illness.

The compexity of life is too much of a burden for Simon, Ralph, or even Piggy as the shadows fall on the boys and the illusions of the lagoon change as civilization breaks down. The boys create different stories about the beast, and the masks of the boys hide the savagery within them. Appearances are certainly deceptive for all.

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