Lord of the Flies provides a terrifying perspective of humanity. It suggests that all it would take for a ‘civilized’ society to collapse would be a crisis, an enigmatic strongman, and fear. The story resonates with most readers because we see these scenarios play out in real life. Vivid description is a big part of William Golding’s captivating book. We will show some examples of imagery in Lord of the Flies chapter 1.
The children are the sole survivors of a plane crash in a place known as “The Scar.” It shows the extent of the island’s corruption of the boys. Golding illustrates that people can be destructive towards others. It is the first in a series of misfortunes that face the survivors. However, instead of banding together, they allow the wound to fester and become the beast in their imagination. It is a mar on the jungle paradise infested by man’s savagery towards others.
Piggy, sadly the name given to an intelligent kid in glasses, finds a conch shell. It is a beautiful thing, deep cream, with fading pink spots. We can imagine an alluring and aesthetically pleasing item. It enables the children to meet one another and could represent an organized society. The image remains with the reader when the shell disappears in a later scene.
It is interesting to note how Golding describes Piggy. His first appearance is ‘the owner of the voice…scratched on a greasy wind-breaker. The naked crooks of his knees were plump….He was shorter…very fat.” Golding is careful to mention the size aspect every chance he gets. This lets the audience know that Piggy likely got his name due to his short stature and weight. While it may be offensive, it does get the message across!
Golding describes the island where the boys land as the Garden of Eden. The deserted island provides a choice to the boys, returning to a pre-civilized state and developing a social order. Golding throws the children into a Hobbesian theory, placing the boys in a state of nature. The boys do not have a society or rules. They do not have any concerns other than survival.
The author uses foreshadowing with the arrival of Jack and his crew. They are aggressive and militaristic, indicating the first sign of disturbance in the boys’ tranquil nature. Jack bears the image of an authoritarian and militaristic leader. We should have learned from his dark cloak and wild red hair that he would be the bad guy!
Ralph is Jack’s anti-thesis. Golding first mentions that Ralph has fair hair. He then proceeds to call him fair boy until he meets Piggy. Golding proceeds to state that Ralph is “no devil.” The character lives up to the reader’s expectations. Despite laughing at Piggy because of his nickname, he is a mild-mannered boy. However, he is not malicious and does not seek power, sharing it to keep the peace.
Jack and his gang are the first sign of civilization on the island. The choir, ironically, matches in step. Jack has a need for power and discerns he would be chosen to lead the group because of his bold nature. Ralph’s decision to give him dominion over the hunting party satiates his thirst for power. He realizes from Golding’s description of Jack’s seething anger that diplomacy would alleviate the issue. But can a power-hungry maniac cease to chase the highest echelon of power?
Great literature allows readers to look through other people’s eyes. But it also offers us the chance to conduct some introspection. In a crisis, are we likely to act like Jack or Ralph? Who will save us from our viciousness if we choose the Jack path? Lord of the Flies is an interesting read, part-boys adventure, part-existential horror story.
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Discuss the examples of imagery in lord of the flies chapter 1