Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 166
Golding's most distinctive technique in this novel is linking symbols to develop his themes. Throughout the novel the spire represents the idealism or vision that enables man to do what seemingly cannot be done. The spire stands despite inadequate foundations and lifts men's hearts and minds. But opposing the spire is what Golding terms the cellarage, a pit dug at the center of the nave. It represents the evil that was also necessary to build the spire — the murders and exploitation. The apple tree, with its associations with the Fall, is an apt symbol for the nature of man.
Linking these three symbols, particularly at Jocelin's moment of self-awareness, Golding reiterates the theme of the simultaneous existence of opposites in man. When Jocelin on his deathbed sees the spire through his window, he says, "It's like the apple tree!" "It" can be both man and the spire. Root and blossom, cellarage and spire, evil and highest aspiration, the opposites are inseparable in tree, tower, and man.
Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 51
Babb, Howard S. The Novels of William Golding, 1970.
Crompton, D. W. A View from the Spire: William Golding’s Later Novels, 1985.
Kinkead-Weekes, Mark, and Ian Gregor. William Golding: A Critical Study, 1968.
Oldsey, Bernard S., and Stanley Weintraub. The Art of William Golding, 1965.
Tiger, Virginia. William Golding: The Dark Fields of Discovery, 1974.
Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 98
Bernard S. Oldsey and Stanley Weintraub, in The Art of William Golding have posited two literary precedents for The Spire. T. S. Eliot's play The Rock (1934) and Henrik Ibsen's play The Master Builder (1892) both concern church-building. Both Eliot and Golding point out that the cost of creating the visible structure that reminds man of an invisible power can be extremely high. The Spire is similar to Ibsen's play in its exploration of...
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- Critical Essays