Lord of the Flies an entirely dark book? Golding's book is often seen as expressing a dark and negative view of humanity. Is it as dark as it seems, or is there room for optimism? If you can,...

Lord of the Flies an entirely dark book?

Golding's book is often seen as expressing a dark and negative view of humanity. Is it as dark as it seems, or is there room for optimism? If you can, provide 3 arguments and maybe a quote or two for each. Thanks!

Asked on by marisam11

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accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Well, I don't think this is the kind of book that I would turn to if I needed cheering up, let us just put it that way. Even the good characters in this novel such as Simon and Piggy are shown to be swept away by the immensity of the evil that is shown to be inherently present in all of us. Not much good news about humanity in this novel, then.

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I agree that not every character in the book is evil.  I think the point is that stronger personalities will survive.  We are cruel, and we will gang up on the weak so that we are not weak ourselves.  Piggy is a great example of that, and what happens to him says it all.

lmetcalf's profile pic

lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

I see Simon's character as a note of optimism for humanity. Even though he dies a brutal and senseless death, he lived his life in a positive way and made a positive impact on the the littluns. Even in the face of Jack's tribe and its evil ways, Simon tried to do what he thought would better his fellow man. More people like Simon might have made the island a different place, and all one can do is the best he can for as long as he can.  But that, to me, is an optimistic perspective.

wannam's profile pic

wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

I would agree that the only real optimism I see is with Ralph and a few of the other boys who try to maintain a civilized attitude.  The story highlights the worst parts of human nature but it also highlights some of the best.  Perhaps we can see optimism in the encouragement to be more like Ralph than Jack.  To me, the book seems to show that humanity has some innately evil qualities but we can choose to rise above them.  We can choose to be better than our instincts.  We can rise above the mob mentality and do good things even in bad times.

vangoghfan's profile pic

vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

A book that may help you is titled Lord of the Flies: Fathers and Sons, by Patrick Reilly.  It has been described by its publisher as follows:

Patrick Reilly illuminates Lord of the Flies's place within the Swiftian tradition and looks beyond the novel as a tale of pure lament, finding it a work of joyful imagination that expresses hope.

I have to confess that this is not my own impression of the book. I'd be interested to know how Reilly makes his case.

 


literaturenerd's profile pic

literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I think that pohnpei makes a good point. The only "silver lining" to the book not being completely dark is the fact that Ralph does not die in the end. While some may disagree, and they ave the right to, about this, one can search for hope in texts such as this in any way they seem plausible. The fact that Ralph does not die is the only thing keeping the text from being completely dark.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

If it were completely dark, wouldn't Ralph die?  I would think that maybe that is some sort of a ray of light.  Maybe we are supposed to feel good about the world because civilization eventually comes in and saves Ralph.  So I'm saying that Ralph's survival is a ray of light.

lsumner's profile pic

lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted on

The only optimism I see in the book is that Ralph breaks down and cries for the deaths of his fellow companions when he is rescued. He does realize the evil ways of Jack and his hunters. He is forever changed by the actions of Jack and his hunters. Ralph is saved from the evil ways of Jack and his hunters. He maintained some sort of civilization among the savage behavior of Jack and especially Roger.

[Ralph] seems to be genuinely interested in the welfare of the entire group and can get along with all kinds of people. Perhaps he gets his sense of natural authority from his father, a commander in the Navy. He also has above-average powers of observation.

http://www.enotes.com/lord-of-the-flies/characters

stolperia's profile pic

stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I don't see very much optimism in the book. The efforts of some of the boys to retain the rules and procedures of civilization are overwhelmed by the thoughtless cruelty of others. Innocence is easily swayed by the appeal of action, especially action that involves previously forbidden attractions like weapons and that supports mob mentality.

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