How does Golding use characterization to present the theme of power in Lord of the Flies?

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gbeatty eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Golding uses characterization several ways to present the theme of power in this novel.

The first way he does this is through selecting characters who are themselves, but who also symbolize different positions in the debate.

Ralph represents the forces of civilization, restraint, and order. He's the son of a navy officer, and tries to convince the boys to keep a fire going, both as a symbol of civilization and to signal rescue.

Jack leads the other group of boys. Jack embraces the wildness of the island, and seizes power through violence and ritual. The novel essentially sets up a choice here: you can take the quick and easy route to power (like the dark side of the force in Star Wars) or be responsible and civilized.

The character of Piggy also plays a role in dramatizing the theme of power. Piggy's essentially an intellectual, not a leader. He's made fun of and his glasses are broken before he is killed. These actions show that in a struggle for power, the rational mind is diminished, blinded, and killed.

 

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Lord of the Flies

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