GCSE English Lord of the Flies Themes Notes

Themes in Lord of the Flies

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  • Created on: 17-05-12 18:18
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Themes in Lord of the Flies
The Conch
It is the conch that brings the boys together on the island
Linked to Piggy, both represent democracy and order- when Piggy dies, the conch also breaks
The conch also represents civilisation and knowledge- it is because of his Auntie that Piggy knew
what to do with it
When Ralph first finds the conch he appreciates it's beauty, it reflects the island in this sense; the
conch and island are also destroyed by the boys
When Jack steals Piggy's glasses, the boys believe it is the conch he wants; he leaves the conch,
showing how little it means to him
At the beginning of the book, the conch is creamy, "Something creamy and white lay among the
ferny weeds"
The conch gradually changes colour to appear white and fragile "The conch exploded into a thousand
white fragments and ceased to exist"
The loss of colour in the conch echoes the loss of order on the island
Good vs. Evil
Throughout the novel, the author talks about civilisation as good, and savagery as evil
Good is evident in Simon, as he represents a religious character
Simon help the littluns and gives them food "outstretched hands"
Evil is shown through Jack and Rodger
Rodger is a sadistic character; this is shown through his disrespect "Right up her ass!"
The Lord of the Flies- a direct translation from Beelzebub- also represents evil, as it represents the
Jack's tribe and Ralph's camp could also be used to reflect good vs. evil, as the two leaders want
people to join their camps " `I gave you food,' said Jack, `and my hunters will protect you from
the beast. Who will join my tribe?' "
Golding believes that there is evil within all man, and that war is a catalyst for evil
We are told from the start that Ralph is not evil "There was a mildness about his mouth and eyes
that proclaimed no devil" yet Ralph loses himself to the evil within him when he helps in Simon's
"Roger gathered a handful of stones and began to throw them. Yet there was a space round Henry,
perhaps six yards in diameter, into which he dare not throw. Here, invisible yet strong, was the
taboo of the old life." The good of the old life and the evil in his newfound savagery are controlling
Rogers actions here
Good vs. evil is also shown through two descriptions of the lagoon "Inside was peacock water, rocks
and weed showing as in an aquarium" / "The swell... seemed like the breathing of some
stupendous creature"
Simon talking to the Lord of the Flies- a confrontation between good and evil

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Themes in Lord of the Flies
Civilisation (Law and Order)
The conch is a symbol of civilisation and order
The loss of civilisation is one of the main themes throughout the book
Animal imagery used to show how inhuman they become "ape like"
The names used to describe the boys gradually change from "children", "assembly" and "choir" to
"tribe" and "savage".…read more

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Themes in Lord of the Flies
Rules of society held the boys back from savagery at first
It first becomes apparent in chapter 3 when Jack is hunting "Except for a pair of tattered shorts held
up by his belt he was naked"- It is the longing for meat which drives him to savagery
At first, Jack hunts for a reason- to provide food, but soon the "fierce exhilaration" takes over
Others begin to descend into savagery; the littluns go to the toilet everywhere
Primitive…read more

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Themes in Lord of the Flies
The Loss of Innocence
The loss of innocence is portrayed by the changing appearance of the boys, they begin in their school
uniforms, but slowly lose these as they lose their innocence and become savages
The conch also reflects the loss of innocence of the boys, it loses its colour as they lose their
"You got your small fire alright" ­Piggy, after the signal fire has spread, the boys have realised their
potential to destroy
Simon becomes responsible…read more

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Themes in Lord of the Flies
Simon is strongly linked to God and Christianity- his name is Simon- one of Jesus' 12 apostles, and
`Lord of the Flies' literally translates to mean Beelzebub aka.…read more


Paul Dutton

An excellent resource focussing on the themes in the novel. Very detailed.

Ishani Dutta

This is exactly what I needed. Great detail with analysis and evaluation.

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