Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies book cover
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in Lord of the Flies, where is the ‘darkness’ and the ‘light’ on the island? As metaphors, what or who do you think the darkness and light represent ?

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Lord of the Flies centers around the boys' descent into evil. Light and darkness are represented throughout the novel. Evil is itself represented by darkness. Most bad deeds take place under cover of darknessThe longer the boys stay on the island, the more pervasive the 'darkness' is. Interestingly, Jack and his 'tribe' are drawn to the dark, interior of the island

whereas the more "civilized" group of boys huddle together for security on the beach.

Each boy has experienced his own internal torture as he copes with his own interpretation of the beast, not yet aware that the decision to follow Jack 

will lead him to become the beast. 

In contrast, the fire represents hope and gives light in the dark. Fire, although it has detructive elements, also provides warmth and so is associated with safety - although ultimately it will be the out of control fire that will lead the rescuers to them.

Piggy's glasses, a symbol of logic and good sense are a light symbol. They also help provide fire and therefore hope.

Simon's own inner conflict and struggle with the beast is highlighted using the light and dark imagery. Simon is compared to Jesus - and light would therefore be symbolic of his purity and his insightful nature.

Interestingly, Simon does take shelter from the sunlight and is able to relax as

the heat and urgency cooled away.

His spiritual nature would understand the symbol of light and dark and how both have a place - although the darkness of rest and not the darkness of evil, as unfolded in Lord of the Flies. 

There is also the untamed element of darkness. Darkness is often unexplored and so there is a wild side, an unexplored and unknown, even hostile side. Within the hostile environment in which Ralph finds himself when he is being hunted by Jack, Ralph uses the

obscurity the dense foilage offers

and which represents protection and temporary security in a hostile environment. By the end, he understands that innocence has been lost and he cries:

 for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart.

Metaphorically, it is the 

evil that is inherent in human beings, an evil that is released when the restraints of civilization are loosened or removed.

Perhaps it is the duplicity of darkness and light that allow Simon and Ralph to find comfort from both. The conflicting nature of humanity is also highlighted in this way. Golding believed that everyone has the capacity for evil and the descent into savagery. Similarly, everyone has the capacity to turn into the light and embrace all that is good.

Ultimately, the boys are saved from themselves by the fire as it alerts the passing warship. Ther is always light after dark!  


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