In Lord of the Flies, why do you think William Golding plotted the story so that the boys would go up the mountain in the dark?
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Lord of the Flies by William Golding outlines the potentially disastrous effects of badly managed responsibility and unchecked selfishness as Ralph, ill-equipped to be chief and to lead a group of unruly boys to safe rescue, and Jack, unable to show compassion or recognize the needs of others, clash and intensify problems for the boys on an island with no "grown-ups." Golding consistently exploits the imagination of the reader as he knows that assumptions will be made readily. There is the conch shell, the Beast, the mountain, Castle Rock, the fire, the painted faces of Jack and his hunters and so on, all of which contribute to the reader's understanding of the boys' helplessness. The shell, for example, becomes a symbol of order and civilization and therefore when it smashes "into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist," the reader knows that anarchy has set in.
William Golding builds momentum and explores the effects of the imagination on real events by setting certain incidents at significant times. The darkness is a permanent feature and even having assemblies later than usual changes Ralph's perspective. He wonders, as he realizes how different everything looks, "If faces were different when lit from above or below-what was a face? What was anything?" Ralph also understands that there are certain things that increase the boys' fears, such as "too much talk about ghosts." This information helps the reader see the island from the boys' perspective as, for the boys, "The sun was bright and danger had faded with the darkness." From an idyllic place in the daytime where the boys having few cares or concerns and not an adult in sight, the island at night transforms into a place that hides many unknowns.
Searching for the beast in the dark is significant because Ralph wanted to wait until morning; the reader can sense that his authority is waning. Furthermore, darkness can be confusing and overwhelming and Golding is building up towards this as the boys search for the beast in the dark. Ralph's ability to reason has been affected by what he saw in the dark; he believes it to be the beast, ensuring that the theme of appearance versus reality is prominent in the reader's mind. Darkness encroaches on the boys more and more from the "Shadows and Tall Trees" of chapter seven when they see the beast in the dark, through to the very end when Ralph will weep "for the end of innocence (and) the darkness of man's heart..." which completes the picture.
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