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#166507 - Sat Apr 19 2003 07:30 AM Re: Lord of the Flies
izzi Offline
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Some excellent points to think about there!


Quote:

So, the author may have one view, but he may end up inadvertantly supporting another. Or, we may just take from it what we wish to take from it.





This is exactly what makes this such a cleverly written book as it can be read at varying levels of complexity. To the younger reader it's just a "boys' own adventure story" and to others who look for symbolism, imagery and the broader perspectives it will be read in an entirely different light. There is no right or wrong way to interpret Golding's book, everyone will see things in a different way.

Skylarb...you quoted Golding as having said "The boys were below the age of overt sex, for I did not want to complicate the issue with that relative triviality. They did not have to fight for survival, for I did not want a Marxist exegesis. If disaster came, it was not to come through the exploitation of one class by another. It was to rise, simply and solely out of the nature of the brute."


Golding had obviously given a great deal of thought to the characters he created. How about tossing a few "what ifs" into the scenario here?

What if the timing were different and it was set in the modern day?
What if it were just adults or schoolgirls who had survived the plane crash?
What if Jack had been elected leader?
What if there were no clear cut practical Piggy or saintly Simon characters?

What would've been the outcome had Golding written the book differently?
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#166508 - Sat Apr 19 2003 02:46 PM Re: Lord of the Flies
skylarb Offline
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Well, I suppose if Golding had his way, the outcome would have been the same! No matter what, evil arises sooner or later, soley by the nature of the brute, according to him.

But, let's play the game and say he doesn't have his way, and the circumstances are different. I think if Jack had been elected, for instance, things may have been different. He is the stronger, more forecful leader; and if he had that authrotiy to begin with he may have acted differently; part of his actions may be attributable to competition and frustration. He seems to start out well, after all. Who knows.
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#166509 - Sat Apr 19 2003 10:01 PM Re: Lord of the Flies
ILuv2Teach Offline
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Wow! What wonderful discussion we have gotten so far! I have some questions to add to the discussion. Some things to think about.

1. In chapter 7, Simon says to Ralph, "You'll get back to where you came from." Being that Simon is a bit more spiritual or wise than Ralph, what do you think he means by this?

2. Again in chapter 7, after Ralph hit the boar with the spear, we see his feelings toward hunting change, "He sunned himself in their new respect and felt that hunting was good after all." Why is this change in Ralph a dangerous one? What does it show us about him?

What does everyone think?

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#166510 - Sun Apr 20 2003 12:53 AM Re: Lord of the Flies
izzi Offline
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I feel certain that had Jack established leadership early on and enjoyed all the power his ego craved, things would have been very different, and possibly have deteriorated even quicker than they did because Roger would have become the antagonist...it was a part of his nature.

Ralph, I think, would have accepted the situation without question and backed Jack to the hilt, had Jack won the vote fairly and squarely. Although I don't think that Jack would have allowed Ralph the same equal power as he had been given, so there wouldn't have been two 'rival gangs' to begin with. I think that Jack would have found Piggy extremely useful as an ally, although never a friend. Piggy might have had a superior brain but as far as most of the boys were concerned he had an inferior body so would still have been the outcast. Piggy was a good judge of character and could see people for exactly what they were, I think that he would have given Jack as much loyalty as he had Ralph but would always be wary of him.

Onto your interesting questions Teach. When I read Simon's words "You'll get back to where you came from ..... You'll get back all right. I think so, anyway" I saw it as being a premonition. Simon has been compared by some to a Christlike figure, and this excerpt could explain why. He seemed to know his own destiny and didn't expect to be rescued himself, or he would have said "We'll get back all right", but he always had faith that the others would be 'saved'.

We see some totally contrasting aspects of Ralph's character in chapter 7. Simon's words had given him hope and allowed him the opportunity to dream of home and the bliss of how things once were...boyish innocence.

Then immediately Ralph is shaken from his daydream and forced to take part in the hunt as the pig crashed through the bushes straight at them. This was a very important juxtaposition. Ralph finally saw Jack in his true colours because he'd seen a glimpse of his own dark side. He'd relished the feelings he'd had both during the hunt and afterwards during the re-enactment ritual when Robert played the part of the pig. It was only later when he realised how badly he'd treated Robert that he felt ashamed of himself. He tried to excuse himself and salve his own conscience with the belief that it had only been a childish game.

Possibly Simon had forseen this event and knew that this ritualistic and barbaric play would ultimately lead to his own fate.
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#166511 - Sun Apr 20 2003 01:21 AM Re: Lord of the Flies
ILuv2Teach Offline
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Quote:

1. In chapter 7, Simon says to Ralph, "You'll get back to where you came from." Being that Simon is a bit more spiritual or wise than Ralph, what do you think he means by this?

2. Again in chapter 7, after Ralph hit the boar with the spear, we see his feelings toward hunting change, "He sunned himself in their new respect and felt that hunting was good after all." Why is this change in Ralph a dangerous one? What does it show us about him?




I suppose I should answer my own questions, eh? LOL

Question 1, Well, personally, I think Simon, being who he is, had a double meaning for what he said. On the surface, it can mean that Ralph will be rescued and get back to his home. This is what Ralph assumes Simon means. In a more symbolic way, it perhaps means that Ralph will get back to the life and civilization that he knows. Life as a structured, safe, meaningful environment, will be back to the way it used to be.

In question 2, it is dangerous because Ralph was one of the few connections to civilized life left. If he starts to see the savage life as appealing, the link to civilization is weakened. It shows that his belief in himself as a good leader is weakening and that he is giving in to Jack's power.

This is a kind of pivitol turning point for Ralph as he finally sees what Jack found so appealing. I think it might have scared him a little bit that he might have been starting to be like Jack, someone he definitely did not want to relate to. I think he saw himself as the only hope that rational thought had of survival and if he was giving in to those primal desires that Jack felt, what chance did they have in remaining somewhat civil?

My two cents,
Chris

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#166512 - Sun Apr 20 2003 04:43 AM Re: Lord of the Flies
izzi Offline
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Without wishing to turn this into a full scale debate on racism, I'd like to respond to a remark raised earlier in the thread.

Generally speaking I see no reason why good literature should be banned or censored because it contains terminology which no longer conforms to current sensibilities.

However in this instance, although Golding's original script, which was perfectly acceptable in his day, has been subsequently changed over the years it has kept this book acceptable to educational authorities and therefore acccessible to our youth...which can't be bad!
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#166513 - Sun Apr 20 2003 12:36 PM Re: Lord of the Flies
skylarb Offline
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Quote:

Without wishing to turn this into a full scale debate on racism, I'd like to respond to a remark raised earlier in the thread.

Generally speaking I see no reason why good literature should be banned or censored because it contains terminology which no longer conforms to current sensibilities.

However in this instance, although Golding's original script, which was perfectly acceptable in his day, has been subsequently changed over the years it has kept this book acceptable to educational authorities and therefore acccessible to our youth...which can't be bad!




In this case, the use of the word was largely unnecessary and changing it has not effect on the meaning of the novel. This would not be the case for, say, a book like Huck Finn, where to edit out the words would cause the book to lose much of its critical power. But that's another discussion and I won't get into that here!
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#166514 - Sun Apr 20 2003 02:34 PM Re: Lord of the Flies
ILuv2Teach Offline
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Quote:

In this case, the use of the word was largely unnecessary and changing it has not effect on the meaning of the novel. This would not be the case for, say, a book like Huck Finn, where to edit out the words would cause the book to lose much of its critical power. But that's another discussion and I won't get into that here!




I see your point and yes, I suppose they could use another word but why? That was probably how kids talked in those days. It was acceptable then and even though it's frowned upon nowadays, readers need to understand that it wasn't written in modern times. I think there are far more disturbing things to be watchful of in the book than what words they used. People are missing the entire point of the book if they focus just on one taboo word which wasn't even taboo at the time.

Kids today have seen far more disturbing things in this world and for us to change one word just because it is inappropriate in modern times seems pointless. What are we afraid of? If they see that word, they might start using it? I hardly think so.

I do agree with you Skylarb, that yes, they could have used another word without changing the ENTIRE meaning of the text as opposed to classics like "Huck Finn" where using that word was defining the meaning of the story. So yes I can see your point.

Ahhhh I know a lot of people might disagree with me on this point but I'm not one for keeping quiet on things I feel strongly about. If you don't agree with me, that's fine, you are welcome to voice your opinion but please remember that I'm just as welcome to voice mine. And that's all it is, my opinion. I think on issues like this, we just have to agree to disagree. That's what a discussion like this is about, after all.

Just my two cents,
Chris

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#166515 - Sun Apr 20 2003 04:07 PM Re: Lord of the Flies
TabbyTom Offline
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Quote:

My objection to Woodward's view, however, is this: If Roger's sadism is restrained by the appearance of the naval officer, by the taboos imposed through strict law and order, then let us not forget that this restraint is "conditioned by a civilization that knew nothing of him and was in ruins" (quote is from the book). If the civilization is in ruins, then obviously strict law and order did not work there either.




I agree. Woodward's view is one that I also inclined to earlier. But on the whole I think Golding interpreted his fable correctly.

Adults are, perhaps understandably, reluctant to recognize how the often obnoxious behaviour of children is copied from their own. The officer, seeing a troop of boys who have set the island on fire and killed two of their number, remarks "I should have thought that a pack of British boys .... would have been able to put up a better show than that." But the children are only on the island because they have been quite literally shot down in flames in the adults' war (Who knows? It may been have been "friendly fire"!). And who knows how many thousands or millions have been killed in the war that's going on in the outside world? The officer just cannot see any resemblance between his war and the children's "war", but I think we are being invited to do so.

Quote:

What if the timing were different and it was set in the modern day?



Well, I don't know. I live a bachelor life and have little contact with children. But I was a kid of nine in England when Golding's novel was published. I can't help noticing how children today are ferried to and from school and everywhere else in their parents' cars (we used to walk or get a bus), and many of them are not allowed to play except in adult-supervised playgroups, whereas we used to play by ourselves in the evenings and at weekends and all day long in the school holidays (yes, and I'm afraid we sometimes played very politically incorrect war games). Somehow I think a group of unsupervised children today would dissolve into anarchy even faster than they do in the novel, because they'd be even less used to the slightest degree of real independence.

Quote:

What if it were just adults or schoolgirls who had survived the plane crash?



Girls .... well, that's a fascinating subject for speculation. When Golding was writing, most secondary schools in Britain (including the grammar school that I went to in 1956) were single-sex, so I suppose his "bigguns", at least, had to be boys so that he could write about what he knew. I remember seeing a TV documentary several years ago about Benenden (a very expensive girls' private school in Kent): what struck me was that the older girls tended to look after the younger. In boys' schools, on the other hand, it has been traditional for the younger boys ("fags") to have to do menial tasks for their elders. So perhaps girls would have looked after their littluns better than Golding's boys do - for a time, at least. But in the long run I think the same personality clashes would erupt and things would fall apart - more slowly and less spectacularly, but no less inevitably.

And adults? They would remain aware for longer than the kids of the need to attract potential rescuers. They would be better at organizing themselves and would recognize each other's strengths and weaknesses, so a Piggy would probably get a fairer deal. But if, despite their best and most disciplined efforts, no rescue came and supplies of fruit and pork began to run low, I'm inclined to think that things might well eventually break down.

Quote:

What if Jack had been elected leader?



Like izzi, I think that, if Jack had been elected by a majority vote at the original assembly, Ralph and Piggy would have accepted the situation and indeed done all they could to support him.

But he wasn't. Nobody voted for him except his own choirboys, who seem to accept his claims that he ought to be chief, if only because he can sing C#. Everyone else seems to recognize and resent his arrogance and to have doubts about him. And although Ralph and Piggy might have been prepared to back him, there's no reason to suppose that he would have recognized the value of Ralph's common sense and Piggy's intelligence. If he had been elected chief, Jack would have taken things in the same direction as he actually does, and I don't think Ralph and Piggy would have been able to influence things from the inside any more than they can form the outside.

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#166516 - Mon Apr 21 2003 04:40 AM Re: Lord of the Flies
skylarb Offline
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Quote:

I see your point and yes, I suppose they could use another word but why? That was probably how kids talked in those days. It was acceptable then and even though it's frowned upon nowadays, readers need to understand that it wasn't written in modern times. I think there are far more disturbing things to be watchful of in the book than what words they used. People are missing the entire point of the book if they focus just on one taboo word which wasn't even taboo at the time.




I agree, which is why I said in an earlier post that the word was irrelevant; especially considering the author's point that ALL men are savages at heart. I just meant that the fact that modernizers alter this in Lord of the Flies does not bother me as much as it would if they altered it in Huck Finn, where such a change WOULD effect the meaning and the power of the story. The change is irrelevant here.
Kids today have seen far more disturbing things in this world and for us to change one word just because it is inappropriate in modern times seems pointless. What are we afraid of? If they see that word, they might start using it? I hardly think so.

I do agree with you Skylarb, that yes, they could have used another word without changing the ENTIRE meaning of the text as opposed to classics like "Huck Finn" where using that word was defining the meaning of the story. So yes I can see your point.

Ahhhh I know a lot of people might disagree with me on this point but I'm not one for keeping quiet on things I feel strongly about. If you don't agree with me, that's fine, you are welcome to voice your opinion but please remember that I'm just as welcome to voice mine. And that's all it is, my opinion. I think on issues like this, we just have to agree to disagree. That's what a discussion like this is about, after all.

Just my two cents,
Chris


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#166517 - Mon Apr 21 2003 04:46 AM Re: Lord of the Flies
skylarb Offline
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Quote:

What if the timing were different and it was set in the modern day?

Well, I don't know. I live a bachelor life and have little contact with children. But I was a kid of nine in England when Golding's novel was published. I can't help noticing how children today are ferried to and from school and everywhere else in their parents' cars (we used to walk or get a bus), and many of them are not allowed to play except in adult-supervised playgroups, whereas we used to play by ourselves in the evenings and at weekends and all day long in the school holidays (yes, and I'm afraid we sometimes played very politically incorrect war games). Somehow I think a group of unsupervised children today would dissolve into anarchy even faster than they do in the novel, because they'd be even less used to the slightest degree of real independence.




I agree with this more or less.

Quote:

What if it were just adults or schoolgirls who had survived the plane crash?




The breakdown would have been just as fast, I imagine, but perhaps without the same kind of violence; there would have probably been a different form of competition between them.

The fact that he leaves out girls, however, can give rize to another interpretation (which Golding probably did not want); the idea that is women who are the civilizing influence in society.

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#166518 - Mon Apr 21 2003 04:37 PM Re: Lord of the Flies
izzi Offline
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Yes Tom, I think that I'd have to agree with you about the outcome had the book been set in modern times...and mainly for the reasons you've given. Although it might depend how and where the kids had been brought up. Most seem to be 'mollycoddled' as you suggested, but many are used to being unsupervised, with parents out at work, and become pretty streetwise at a very early age. I'd also go along with your views regarding the survivors being adults.


Quote:

The fact that he leaves out girls, however, can give rize to another interpretation (which Golding probably did not want); the idea that is women who are the civilizing influence in society.





Now there's a thought Skylarb!
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#166519 - Tue Apr 22 2003 01:03 PM Re: Lord of the Flies
izzi Offline
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It's plain to see parallels Golding drew in this book from real life experiences and the atrocities he'd witnessed during active service. In the final chapter the once idyllic island paradise had been totally destroyed by the evils of mankind just as the earth had been decimated by the atomic bomb in the opening chapter. The children, at first innocent and civilized, had reverted to savagery and turned on each other in much the same manner as men had turned against fellow human beings in the name of war.

I'd forgotten just how graphically Golding had described the shockingly horrific attack on Simon and how easily influenced by gang mentality Ralph and the other boys had become. Once again in just a few paragraphs Golding paints us such vividly contrasting dramatic effects.

Firstly the ritual feast and dance on the beach with the atmospheric thunder and lightning heightening the tension and building up into a crescendo of blood lust culminating in Simon's brutal murder.

In the calm after the storm when the full realization of the evening's 'nightmare' sinks in Ralph feels the need to share his guilt with Piggy, and they can hardly bring themselves to talk about the awful event. We are eased gently out of the 'scene' with another Christlike allegory and the mental vision of Simon's angelic, lifeless body being carried gently away on the surf.
.....

quote:

>>Along the shoreward edge of the shallows the advancing clearness was full of strange, moonbeam-bodied creatures with fiery eyes. Here and there a larger pebble clung to its own air and was covered with a coat of pearls. The tide swelled in over the rain pitted sand and smoothed everything with a layer of silver. Now it touched the first of the stains that seeped from the broken body and the creatures made a moving patch of light as they gathered at the edge. The water rose further and dressed Simon's coarse hair with brightness. The line of his cheek silvered and the turn of his shoulder became sculptured marble. The strange, attendant creatures, with their fiery eyes and trailing vapours, busied themselves around his head. ..... Softly, surrounded by a fringe of inquisitive bright creatures, itself a silver shape beneath the steadfast constellations, Simon's dead body moved out towards the open sea.<<


Wow!
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#166520 - Thu Apr 24 2003 09:38 PM Re: Lord of the Flies
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Yes! Golding's powerful use of words to describe a scene perfectly and contrast scenes against each other is exactly what I meant when I mentioned how much I just loved his writing.

We went from his description of Simon's brutal (although somewhat accidental in the thick of the bonfire celebratory dance)death to the peaceful and calming (ironic as that might seem) description of the Simon floating away.

"At once the crowd surged after it, poured down the rock, leapt on to the beast, screamed, struck, bit, tore. There were no words, and no movements but the tearing of teeth and claws." (A View to a Death, 153)

"The water rose farther and dressed Simon's coarse hair with brightness. The line of his cheek silvered and the turn of his shoulder became sculptured marble...Simon's dead body moved out towards the open sea." (A View to a Death, 154)

I just love how every word he uses gives this very descriptive image and I love how he puts these two scenes almost right next to each other to further accent the contrast between them. Brilliant!

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#166521 - Fri Apr 25 2003 07:05 AM Re: Lord of the Flies
izzi Offline
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I agree entirely Teach, the symbolism and imagery in this passage is superb, giving us the clear impression of a pure, innocent child being led to a better place by accompanying angels.

"The tide swelled in over the rain pitted sand and smoothed everything with a layer of silver (the harsh realities of life behind him now, no more pain, no more suffering). "Now it touched the first of the stains that seeped from the broken body" (washing all sins away). "The water rose further and dressed Simon's coarse hair (the crown of thorns) with brightness" ( a halo). "Softly surrounded by a fringe of inquisitive bright creatures" (angels), "Simon's dead body moved out towards the open sea."
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#166522 - Fri Apr 25 2003 12:22 PM Re: Lord of the Flies
izzi Offline
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I still go along with my original opinion that Golding's ending is ultimately one of hope and optimism.

We are only given the merest hint of the boys showing any real remorse, but we are led to understand that they are all becoming aware of the error of their ways. Even Jack showed no defiance when Ralph spoke up as leader. Ralph's "tears began to flow and sobs shook him. He gave himself up to them now for the first time on the island; great, shuddering spasms of grief that seemed to wrench his whole body ... and infected by that emotion, the other little boys began to shake and sob too."

Skylarb...I've grouped together a few of your quotes which cover the same theme, but as I've taken them from various threads I hope that I haven't made them appear out of context by leaving any of your text omitted. Please correct me if I have.

Quote:


The point I think Golding is making here is that yes--a naval officer is coming to break up this war on the island. But what is he? He's a naval officer. He's a warrior. And he's in the middle of a World War. What's happening on the island is but a microcosm of what is happening in the entire world. What is happening with boys is happening with men.
...
I think it's meant to destroy hope, in a way; as a blatant way of saying the war on the island is but a reflection of the war in the world.
...
The officer's white drill, epaulets, and revolver are not all that far removed from Jack's stick, sharpened at both ends. The officer's "row of gilt buttons down the front of a uniform" is something like the paint that frees the savages from the shame of killing.




I can see exactly what you mean by this last paragraph skylarb, but I interpret Golding's symbolism of the uniform in a different manner. Yes, the officer is a 'warrior', but just because he is serving his country he doesn't necessarily agree with the politics of war. He wears his uniform proudly out of a strong sense of patriotism. I prefer to view the officer as a guardian against hostility, and an upholder of decency.

Instead of seeing similarities, as you have, I'm inclined to think that we have another of Golding's stark contrasts on the beach in the very last scene. The officer's pristine uniform a symbol of discipline and order and the boys' appearance, "their bodies streaked with coloured clay" wearing the 'uniform' of hostility.

"The officer inspected the little scarecrow in front of him. The kid (Ralph) needed a bath, a hair cut, a nose wipe and a good deal of ointment" I believe Golding is showing us here that kindness, patience and understanding could, in time, help to make their dreadful memories fade away. The bath to wash away the badness and impurities, the hair cut to re-humanize, the nose wipe, tender loving care and the ointment not only to heal physical scars, but also to heal their hearts and minds.

The fire, such a powerful element of destruction, effectively cleansed the evil sinfulness which had taken place on the island. The scorched earth had been purified and the sterilized, virgin soil is ready to begin the slow process of becoming a paradise once again.
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#166523 - Sat Apr 26 2003 12:25 AM Re: Lord of the Flies
ILuv2Teach Offline
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Quote:

The fire, such a powerful element of destruction, effectively cleanses the evil sinfulness which had taken place on the island.




Yes, fire was an element of destruction ultimately but remember that it also kept them warm, cooked their food, lit the dark night and sent smoke signals to assist in their rescue.

Ironically, the destructive fire that did burn out of control when Jack's tribe set the forest on fire, was the same one that got them rescued.

"The officer grinned cheerfully at Ralph. 'We saw your smoke. What are you doing? Having a war or something?'" (Cry of the Hunters, 201)

Did anyone else find any other examples of some element of the story working both a positive and a negative?

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#166524 - Sat Apr 26 2003 12:51 AM Re: Lord of the Flies
izzi Offline
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Fire was a tremendous comforter to the boys, but it was also the cause of all three deaths on the island.

The little lad with the birthmark went missing, presumed dead, after their first fire raged totally out of control. Simon would never have come to such a sticky end if they hadn't had a fire on the beach that night and Piggy's glasses wouldn't have been such an important thing to fight over.

It is ironic that the same force was also directly responsible for their eventual rescue.


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#166525 - Sat Apr 26 2003 03:42 AM Re: Lord of the Flies
izzi Offline
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Quote:

Did anyone else find any other examples of some element of the story working both a positive and a negative?





The most obvious aspect of positive and negative forces at work throughout the book is the overall theme of good versus evil, but I think you might have meant a single icon or theme which, like fire, covers both elements of positive and negative issues.

I'd go back to the uniforms being an important point here. When the boys first arrive on the island they are all described as wearing a uniform. The choir dressed in long black cloaks and square black caps, the other boys wearing a more usual school uniform. To begin with this helps to bond the boys together, their uniforms bring about a sense of belonging and a unity between them, but very soon we begin to see that this actually splits the boys apart.

Which leads me neatly on to crowd mentality. We see it as having a very positive effect when the boys begin to start working together as team, it takes good organisational skills to get things done...collecting firewood, making shelters, hunting. Then later 'when things break down' we see the crowd mentality as a negative, evil force creating mob rule and gang violence.
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#166526 - Sat Apr 26 2003 07:51 PM Re: Lord of the Flies
skylarb Offline
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Quote:

I still go along with my original opinion that Golding's ending is ultimately one of hope and optimism.




I'm only talking about Golding's intention here, and not my personal philosophical views on society, which differ somewhat from his. But I don't see any compelling reason to believe he wished to communicate anything remotely like optimism at the end.

Golding is equating the savagery of the world at large with the savagery on the island. He is ignoring the contradiction that violence is sometimes needed to stop a greater violence. The war in the society at large and the war on the island are both equally the result of what Golding has called "the terrible disease of being human." In the book, he describes this civilization, which shows up at the end in the form of the naval officer, as "a civilization that . . . was in ruins."

When that officer arrives, it seems to me that Golding is clearly aiming for a pessimistic irony. A horrible savagery has just occurred on this island, but all the naval officer does is "grin cheerfully" and "whistle softly." He is really quite flippant about the horror. His only real reproof is, "I should have thought that a pack of British boys . . . would have put up a better show than that." Why should he have thought it? His own civilization "is in ruins."

And you can't get anymore pessimistic than this ending: "And in the middle of them . . . Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart." And right after that huge downer of a note, the last thing we see is a warship in the distance. And so it ends.

I really can't see any optimism in such an ending. It is only my personal views about what constitutes the real hope for man that inclines me to look for any hope in his ending; but the hope I find, I manufacture for myself; I don't see that he intended it.
_________________________
"Why donít you write books people can read?" - Nora Joyce, to her husband James

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#166527 - Sat Apr 26 2003 07:57 PM Re: Lord of the Flies
ILuv2Teach Offline
Mainstay

Registered: Fri Dec 13 2002
Posts: 520
Loc: Illinois
I wanted to let everyone know that I am just so impressed with the level of discussion we have established here. Clearly we have some very articulate thinkers here in our discussion. I read through all these posts and find myself thinking, "Wow, that's a good point! How well expressed that was!"

All of you, reading the book and posting your thoughts are obviously very intelligent and intellectual people.

I wanted to know if anyone's feelings about the book have changed since finishing it or having read the posts from the other people reading the book. I know initially there was a general concensus that most people didn't like the book. Has there been a change of heart in how some people feel about the book?

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#166528 - Sat Apr 26 2003 08:21 PM Re: Lord of the Flies
skylarb Offline
Mainstay

Registered: Thu Jan 30 2003
Posts: 631
Loc: Virginia USA
Quote:

We are only given the merest hint of the boys showing any real remorse, but we are led to understand that they are all becoming aware of the error of their ways.




I appreciate your point, and I am sure you put a lot of thought into it, but I'm going to disagree (hey, that's what discussion is all about!)

You speak of remorse. I think Ralph weeps more for the misery caused by the loss of innocence than he does from any motive of repentance, but let us assume the boys are indeed remorseful. Still, remorse is not enough for what has happened in this book. Remorse cannot right this wrong. What is their salvation from their blood-guiltiness? A warship. Their salvation is a warship. Their salvation is a ruined civilization presently at war. And that's no salvation at all--it's a relief from the present danger, but it is no relief from the beast within, from "the terrible disease of being human."

What makes this book so depressing, I think, is that Golding has swallowed--and has presented in a very compelling, convincing way--the Christian doctrine of Original Sin. But he has not offered the other side of the coin: the Christian doctrine of a Savior that can serve as a sufficient atoning sacrifice for the totality of that far-reaching sin.

Some call Simon a Christ figure--and the parallels are clear enough. But if he is, he is a dead savior, not a living one; he is a Christ without the resurrection. Society rejects him, kills him (like Christ)--only, he does not rise again. His death accomplishes nothing, expiates no sin. It is a needless, useless, futile tragedy.

Golding, I believe, was Jewish. Judaism, as far as I understand it, rejects the doctrine of Original Sin. Man, in Jewish thinking, is equally capable of both good and evil, and is able, by choice, to live a righteous life if he so strives. When he does err, repentance and limited atonement is necessary, but there is no deep seated sickness in man that requires an all-encompassing, single, atoning sacrifice.

But Golding is clearly not expressing that Jewish perspective here. He has borrowed a Christian belief (Original Sin/Natural Depravity), and he has brought it vividly to life in his allegory. But he has taken it without taking the rest of the story. And the result is horribly depressing.

_________________________
"Why donít you write books people can read?" - Nora Joyce, to her husband James

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#166529 - Sat Apr 26 2003 08:27 PM Re: Lord of the Flies
skylarb Offline
Mainstay

Registered: Thu Jan 30 2003
Posts: 631
Loc: Virginia USA
Quote:

I wanted to know if anyone's feelings about the book have changed since finishing it or having read the posts from the other people reading the book. I know initially there was a general concensus that most people didn't like the book. Has there been a change of heart in how some people feel about the book?




This is a magnificient book. I've read it three times now, and every time it affects me deeply. Every time I am deeply impressed with what Golding has managed to do. I respect the book. But I think I hate it.
_________________________
"Why donít you write books people can read?" - Nora Joyce, to her husband James

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#166530 - Sun Apr 27 2003 02:16 AM Re: Lord of the Flies
ILuv2Teach Offline
Mainstay

Registered: Fri Dec 13 2002
Posts: 520
Loc: Illinois
Quote:

This is a magnificient book. I've read it three times now, and every time it affects me deeply. Every time I am deeply impressed with what Golding has managed to do. I respect the book. But I think I hate it.




So...you say it's magnificent, it affects you deeply, you are deeply impressed with Golding and you respect the book. So, why is it again, that you hate it?

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#166531 - Sun Apr 27 2003 03:34 AM Re: Lord of the Flies
izzi Offline
Multiloquent

Registered: Sat Jun 15 2002
Posts: 2214
Loc: the amusement arcade of life
Quote:

I appreciate your point, and I am sure you put a lot of thought into it, but I'm going to disagree (hey, that's what discussion is all about!)





Disagree away Skylarb, no problem. Through challenging each other's ideas it makes us all sit back and rethink our own values. As you quite rightly say, that's what this discussion group is all about.

As I've mentioned before, I've never had the opportunity of discussing literature in a group before. When this book club was first suggested I was keen to take part, but wasn't quite sure what I was letting myself in for. I honestly expected to find it rather intimidating to express my thoughts so publicly, but, as someone else said, everyone has something of value to bring to the discussion table and I have to say I'm thoroughly enjoying the experience.

This book club really was a great idea Jazz, and I'm sure that we all hope that you'll be back very soon. I was always in awe of the way you could manage to juggle so much into 24 short hours every day, but perhaps you can find a few minutes to join us again when other commitments aren't quite so time consuming. Jazz, your enthusiasm, insight and good humour are greatly missed.
_________________________
fully paid up member of paronomasiacs anonymous

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