Is there a passage in the text that best summarizes the author's central insight/theme?(i.e. What main theme does the writer explore that rises out of the conflicts in William Golding's Lord of...

Is there a passage in the text that best summarizes the author's central insight/theme?

(i.e. What main theme does the writer explore that rises out of the conflicts in William Golding's Lord of the Flies?)

Asked on by jakielegs

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Perhaps the passage that is most central to the theme of William Golding's Lord of the Flies is in Chapter 8 when the intuitive Simon steals away from the others and seeks his secret place in the jungle.  There, he discovers that the hunter's have left the pig's head impaled upon a stake.  Simon is confronted by this head and views it as it drips blood with flies buzzing around it.  Simon looks the beast in the eye and faces it with the recognition that it is Beelzebub, who issues the evil in man:

The half-shut eyes were dim with the infinite cynicism of adult life.  They assured Simon that everything was a bad business....

"You knew, didn't you?  I'm part of you!  Close!  Close! I'm the reason it's no go?  Why things are what they are?"

Since some critics feel that Golding wrote Lord of the Flies to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature, Simon's intuition that evil is innate, rather than in any beast, is very telling.  For, all evil, then, issues from man himself.  Like Roger, whose arm is "conditioned by a society in ruins," man's nature is intrinsically sadistic and savage.  Once the trappings of society are removed, he reverts to his inherent savage nature, becoming a predator that kills those weaker than he.  When Piggy asks for his glasses back, saying "What's right is right," his words are empty for one such as Jack.  As Golding himself once commented,

The moral is that the shape of society must depend on the ethical nature of the individual and not on any political system.
davidwheeler's profile pic

davidwheeler | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

The final three pages when the boys are rescued. This passage is full of irony. The boys are rescued by a ship which has been fighting in the war; the war meant that the boys were evacuated and crashed on the island; starting their own war by killing each other is simply an imitation of the adult world. Golding's view of humanity is bleak.

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