What is an excerpt from Lord of the Flies that has interesting diction that affects the reader?

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Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Golding really is a master of diction in Lord of the Flies; poignant examples abound throughout the novel.  One particularly rich example occurs in the scene when Simon encounters the Lord of the Flies in chapter eight:

"There were no shadows under the trees but everywhere a pearly stillness, so that what was real seemed illusive and without definition.  The pile of guts was a black blob of flies that buzzed like a saw" (138).

Golding's word choice evokes imagery of death, decay, and destruction.  He builds on imagery through very specific color choices, like "pearly" and "black blob" to create contrast and deepen the startling ugliness of the sow's head on a stick.  The connotation of "pearly" suggests something wholesome and innocent, like 'pearly gates' of heaven, but Golding sharply defies the natural beauty of the jungle with the destruction caused by Jack and his hunters, the resulting "black blob of flies." 

The author's diction in reference to the Lord of the Flies evokes harsh, disturbing imagery; for example, his choice of the word 'guts' feels abrupt and ugly to the reader.  Golding attempts no delicacy in reference to the sow's rotting decay.  The hunters killed her brutally, and Golding's language reflects the utter sense of desecration of the "indignity of being spiked on a stick" (137).

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A good example of particularly interesting diction takes place in Chapter 4 when Jack paints his face for the first time. Of this, Golding writes the following:

"Beside the pool his sinewy body held up a mask that drew their eyes and appalled them. He began to dance and his laughter became a bloodthirsty snarling. He capered toward Bill, and the mask was a thing on its own, behind which Jack hid, liberated from shame and self-consciousness" (89).

Golding's choice of words presents the image of a captivating, yet grotesque perception of Jack's newly painted face. Words such as "drew" and "appalled" invoke an enticing, yet macabre portrait of Jack. Golding goes on to describe Jack's laughter as "bloodthirsty snarling," which depicts his increasingly savage nature and associates his idea of fun with brutality. Jack's mask is described as "a thing of its own," which conjures the idea of an alternate, evil personality that Jack can hide behind. Golding also uses the word "liberated" to describe Jack's state of mind. Jack essentially becomes a frightening, uninhibited savage after painting his face. This striking description of Jack's mask foreshadows his increasingly savage behavior and justifies his brutal actions.

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Lord of the Flies

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