Two separate illustrations of an animal head and a fire on a mountain

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

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How does Lord of the Flies mirror reality?

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In short, literature is the recording of human experience.  So, ipso facto, it must reflect, or mirror life. (This is the cliche of "art imitating life.")

In his novel, "The Lord of the Flies," Golding writes an allegory in which the characters represent "types."  His island on which the boys land is a type of Eden, but because its inhabitants have been exposed to "civilization," they are not as pristine as Adam and Eve.  Instead, the boys represent two types; the "Apollian" and the "Dionysian" in a somewhat mythologial story.

Nonetheless, there real applications to "Lord of the Flies" and it characters.  The "Apollo," Ralph, represents the law-abiding citizen who realizes the need for order in a society, while the "Dionysius" is represented by Jack, who satiates his carnal desires and baser nature.  Thus, the society of the novel is a bipolar one in which the more humane side is in conflict with the baser, more savage nature of man.  Without the restraints of a civilized society, the Rogers, who are only controlled by rules and laws, give reign to their savage nature, and dominate and ultimately destroy the others.

In the present-day world, there are examples of what happens when the restraints of an orderly society are removed. As Golding writes of Roger:

[His] arm was conditioned by a civilation that knew nothing of him and was in ruins.  [On the island he] is liberated from shame and self-consciousness.

With the acceptance of violence in movies and other media, many are now "liberated from shame and self-consciousness," and commit acts that are of a savage, not civilized, nature.  Certainly, the deterioration of societies today is mirrored in the novel, "Lord of the Flies."

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