Lord of the Flies by William Golding

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What does the ocean symbolize in William Golding's Lord of the Flies?

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William Golding wrote his Lord of the Flies in response to a Victorian story about English boys stranded on an island entitled, "The Coral Island."  In this novel, however, the boys are without wickedness and cunning, reaffirming the moral values of Victorian England, whereas in Golding's work, the boys degenerate into "the heart of darkness."

As they are stranded on an island, the ocean symbolizes a barrier to Ralph, Piggy, Jack, and the other boys, isolating them from the world that they have known.  Its waves erase any marks on the shore; likewise, the waves seem to erode the vestiges of society that slowly slip from the boys.  They remove their clothes and bathe in the waters of the ocean, perhaps rebaptizing themselves as their primordial selves shedding their conditioned behavior for their inherent savage nature.

One example of the use of the ocean as a symbol is in the passage in which Roger looks down at the littl'un Henry who sits by the seashore playing with the "detritus of...

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