William Golding’s Lord Of The Flies: Mockery Of Mankind

June 7, 2022 by Essay Writer

From early on, children are protected from the harsh realities of adult life. Parents and guardians shelter their children from the conflicts and complications that life throws at them. In William Golding’s allegory, Lord of the Flies, the boys express their beliefs on the “majesty of adult life, ” believing there is a respectfulness in adulthood, the ability to resolve disagreements peacefully and with a level of civility. There is irony in Golding’s message, given that the two instances of adults being present on the island involved war; the parachute man’s death and the naval officer coming to the rescue. The children believe that there is a dignity to adulthood, yet the adult appearances show that the nature of adult life is just more violence, destruction, and death.

The parachute man’s first appearance is presented as “a sign… from the world of grown-ups, ” as his plane crashes with a “sudden bright explosion”. The parachute man dies during the explosion. Golding regularly uses fire to symbolize destruction throughout the novel, the explosion in itself is a symbol for devastation and evil, but it is also a reference to the time setting of the novel, WWII. This instance of adult presence is contradictory to the beauty or dignity in adult life, as this man is involved in a violent war that will last for almost six bloody years. It’s a warning that more death and demolition will come to the island. The naval officer’s presence is also related to war and destruction. The officer may have saved the protagonist, Ralph, from Jack and his tribe, but as he “allowed his eyes to rest on the trim cruiser in the distance” we see that he is just as involved in a manhunt himself. A trim cruiser is a ship that is mainly used for its speed and not protection, used for catching up to enemy ships. The characters will be saved and brought back to civilization on a warship meant for hunting down their opponents. In being saved, it is expected that the rescued will find peace, not more trauma and chaos in war.

The author purposefully includes the two instances of adulthood to add on the irony of the human existence. The boys are ignorant to the fact that there is no beauty in adult life or the human nature as “the three boys stood in the darkness, striving unsuccessfully to convey the majesty of adult life”. Being in the dark is a common phrase meaning to keep information from someone. The characters are kept in the dark about the nature of adult life and Golding uses the adults in the novel contradict the common belief that adulthood is in any way dignified. William Golding uses irony to put forth his beliefs on the faults of mankind. Though the novel displays the “darkness of a man heart” through children, the few appearances of grown-ups exhibit the cruelness and evil of man as well. The characters believe that nature of adulthood should be respected and dignified, yet the two impressions of adulthood show there is no difference in being a grown-up or a child. In both instances of adults being present on the island, they were involved in conflicts that couldn’t be solved peacefully. Both appearances exhibits war, the hunting one of your own, and killing; the boys were at war with each other, Ralph was hunted, and Piggy was killed.

From both instances, it’s shown that humans are cruel by nature, it’s just that a child’s innocence is sheltered from the defects of humanity for as long as possible.


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