William Golding’s Lord of the Flies: A Laboratory Demonstration of Human Behaviour Sans the Restraints of Civilization”

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Nobel Laureate Sir William Golding’s Lord of the Flies(1953) has become a compulsory stop on the route of any surveyor of the English novel published in the second half of the twentieth century. During an atomic war, an aeroplane carrying a group of young English school boys is shot down and the party is marooned on an island in the Pacific. The boys, with no elders around, initially try to organize themselves by laying down rules and calling assemblies by means of a conch. Their leader at this stage is Ralph, symbolizing the good, helped by an obese, asthmatic Piggy, symbolizing practical commonsense. But the group slowly regresses to savagery led by the hot-blooded choir leader Jack Merridew, symbolizing evil. There ensues a spate of …show more content…
Individual opinions do not matter; it is the majority who controls the oars and rows the boat where they will.
Writing in the aftermath of World War II, Golding deliberately experiments in a refreshing and realistic mode. His is not the romanticized utopia or the escapist bliss of Ballantyne’sCoral Island of which the novel is an anti-thesis. His group of boys is intensely alive and real. They talk as real school boys would do and their actions do not have a single tinge of artificiality.
When they arrive on the island, their pilot is already dead but they try to make up for the absence of grown-ups by attempting to frame their own laws under the guidance of the democratically elected Ralph, who wields the conch, the symbol of authority and Ralph’s comrade Piggy. But this society is destined to remain a dream because Jack and his hunters unleash terror on the island and with the ceremonial chant “Kill the beast. Cut his throat. Spill his blood” (86), they hunt both beasts and humans.
Helped by Roger the sadist, Jack soon wins over a lager fellowship who track down Piggy, route Simon the mystic and kill several others besides. The darkness of man’s heart is personified in Jack Merridew and his troupe of hunters. The Old Testament Beelzebub is the head of a pig which Jack puts atop a stick to placate an illusory beast. But as Simon understands, and as it

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