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MonkeyNotes-Lord of the Flies by William Golding-Free Booknotes Summary
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THEMES

Major Theme

Lord of the Flies is governed by the idea that man is a fallen creature. Golding insists that evil is inherent in man; it is a terrifying force which mankind must recognize and control. 'Civilized' British boys land on a deserted island but soon degenerate into savages. The children enjoy the freedom away from the restrictions of adults, but the freedom soon turns into a nightmare and results in the killing of several boys. Individualism replaces comradeship and leads to complete destruction. That children are innocent becomes a myth. The community of boys on the island also represents and reflects the disorder and terror of the larger world.

All humans have a dark side that must be controlled from breaking down individual moral standards and civilization.


Minor Theme

The title of the novel, Lord of the Flies, refers literally to the translation of the word Beelzebub, which can mean: the devil, Satan, or chief devil. When the head of a pig is impaled on a stick and begins to attract flies, the boys refer to it as the Lord of the flies. It represents the devil in form, though throughout the book, Golding shows how the devil is present in all of us and within the boys themselves. But he also shows that there is a savior amongst us. The kind and visionary Simon is a 'Christ-like' figure who faints before the "Lord of the Flies" and later is sacrificed by the boys. The novel is, therefore, written in the form of a Christian parable.

MOOD

In the beginning the mood is one of joy and freedom as the boys discover an island paradise without adults. The mood, however, slowly turns to one of darkness and fear, as everything breaks up. At the end, there is no authority or discipline, only savagery, evil, death, and destruction.

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