Lord of the Flies

William Golding's

Lord of the Flies:

The role of nature


The story takes place on an unspoiled island that effectively isolates the characters from the rest of the world, especially the one of the grown-ups.

Golding creates a mini-world and by making us look closely at this nature, he wants to show us the whole real world and the conditions of humankind.

In my opinion the sea represents the vast distance between the group of children and the civilisation.

The sea is like a border which cuts them off. The contrast between the sea on the one side of the island and the sea on the other side echoes the division between the two groups of boys.

Golding's description of the vegetation and natural life on the island works on two levels. Nature is shown as balanced in contrast to the divisions appearing amongst the boys. Food is a natural resource of the island.

The first impression the boys get while they are exploring the island is that this island is the ideal place to live. They find fruits and water. On this island, they really do have good conditions. There are pigs which means they have meat, there is the sea so they can go fishing.

But the boys make little use of the sea as a source of food. The first hint that the island has a bad side, too is the description on page five: the bird with the witch-like cry. This cry represents danger. The island does not only have romantic sides.

The kids have to be careful on exploring this island. A second hint that their Garden of Eden may not be as perfect as it first seems is the diarrhoea the boys get by eating the fruits. The heat is another problem. It is the first force to change the boys' usual behaviour. The temperature is quite different from what they are used to from their former life.

The mountain

A major feature of the island is the mountain. In this book the mountain is like a holy place. It is the place for the fire (their sign for rescue) and later on the place where the parachutist lands.

At first they climb the mountain to discover the truth of their whereabouts. The mountain stands for the truth because Simon finds out the truth about the beast on the top of the mountain. He finds out that the beast is only a dead man - a dead parachutist.

The persons

Simon is really integrated in nature. He does understand nature pretty well so you can say that he is a part of nature. This boy is living with nature and in nature. You can also add that he is a little philosophical.

In contrast to Simon, Ralph does only accept nature. He lives not in nature, but he tries to do the best out of his situation. The leader of the group often thinks about being rescued. That means that he is not a part of nature, he remains a part of the civilisation and the world of the grown-ups. The civilisation is his medium. Ralph never becomes a savage. He fights against it all the time.

Piggy represents the civilisation. His specs are a symbol for civilisation and his way of thinking is a sign for this, too. He is unable to live in nature and to live with nature (maybe this is one reason, why he is murdered later on). That is why he tries to bring civilisation to the island and to nature. Maybe the civilisation and his belonging to the world of grown-ups is one reason why he supports Ralph and not Jack. Ralph tries to keep the civilisation alive. Referring to nature Jack and Ralph are absolutely different. You can say they are contrasts. While Piggy is dreaming of civilisation, Jack becomes a savage. He really livens up in nature. He enjoys living in nature because this is a chance for him to express his animal-like behaviour which was suppressed all the time he lived in the civilisation. But Jack is also afraid of nature because he does not always understand what is happening. You can see his fear when he goes hunting for the first time. Unfortunately he cannot admit that he is scared. He is not able to talk about his feelings. The boy is also afraid when they are looking for the beast later on. Jack fights against nature because of his fear. For him, the most important thing is hunting. Jack would like to be more powerful than nature but he is not. The best proof that nature is more powerful than the children is the landing of the dead parachutist which shows that nature has the complete power.

The wind is so strong that the parachutist is helpless. This landing shows the contrast between what human beings do to each other and how nature is. Nature is nice and untouched. Nature is wonderful. The world could be a garden and mankind could live in peace with nature. That is what you can see today. We do not live in peace with nature. We destroy the world, the vegetation, and the animals.

Simon's heart livens up in nature and his emotional side comes out. He and nature melt together a become a unity. In contrast to Jack, he never abuses nature. Jack uses natural elements, e.g. fear, which is a real problem for the children, as a lever. He uses their civilised side to make them scared of nature. Nature is really new for the littluns. They did not know nature in this way before. If Simon would be the leader, he would bring nature to the others in a different way than Jack does. I think that Simon would be a better leader than Jack is, even if speaking is in a way a problem for him.

Castle Rock

The Castle Rock eventually becomes a fortress for Jack's tribe. Castle Rock is the place to which Jack moves with the children after he has become the new leader. This Castle Rock is really a suitable setting for savagery and superstition.

The unfriendly side of the island

There is a big contrast between the two sides of the island. The opposite side of the island is utterly different because the cold sea hardens the images. There are no mirages, instead the horizon is hard, clipped blue on their side the lagoon protects them and one might dream of rescue.

The two sides of the island are rather like the two sides of human beings - the good and the evil.

Humankind and nature have some things in common. They can change their faces. They have different faces, but I think that mankind is often responsible for the change of nature. A simple example is the change of the weather and the temperature. There are many storms and many catastrophes. It often seems as if the nature changes its face. Mankind wants to control nature but we have to admit that nature is much more powerful than we are. On the other hand, we are able to destroy it. For this reason, we should be very careful with nature because we need it. Nature does not need us for living or surviving. We cannot survive without trees and plants and we need fruits and vegetables to eat.

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