How Does The Language Convey Their Contrasting Character And Roles In The Novel

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Lord of the Flies is a compelling novel that depicts a group of English school boys becoming stranded on a deserted island. The story depicts the dramatic transition from civilization to savagery as a means of emphasizing the importance of law and order within a society. Without these governing principles, the innate malevolence of human nature becomes evident, causing the loss of morality and life’s core values.

Symbolism and imagery are significant in the novel, revealing various themes. The book portrays the different characters and their roles through a contrasting writing style and language. This is exemplified in the description of Jack in the forest at the start of Chapter three and Simon in the forest at the end of Chapter three. Jack is a prominent character with an unpleasant personality.

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Through his leadership of the choir, which now serves as his hunting group, and his insistence on being addressed by his surname at the initial boys’ meeting, Jack asserts his authority. He derives pleasure from giving orders and consistently targets Piggy as his primary victim. The uninhibited environment of the island enables him to expose the darker aspects of his character that he had previously concealed. Consequently, he readily transforms into a savage.

Jack is depicted as a confident and instinctive leader driven by a relentless urge to engage in combat. He embodies malevolence and savagery, which is exemplified through his savage pig hunts. Conversely, Simon emerges as an inquisitive character with a unique perspective that delves beneath the surface of situations. It becomes evident from the start that Simon possesses an extraordinary quality.

Simon was chosen by Ralph, among the three explorers of the island, due to his unique qualities. He enjoys solitude and often observes others, learning from their actions. Though not very sociable with the other boys, Simon is kind, helpful, and represents goodness and hope within the novel “Lord of the Flies”.

Simon emerges as the most reliable and peace-making boy among the group, displaying his strength by standing up to Jack and showing compassion towards the weaker members like Piggy in numerous instances throughout the novel. In Chapter three, it is not by chance that Jack and Simon find themselves alone in the forest at different times, surrounded by contrasting imagery. Golding skillfully associates the dominant characters with the mood and surroundings through his writing.

By examining the language used to describe the boys in these passages, we can gain insight into their character and role in the novel. In Chapter three, Jack separates from the other hunters and instructs them to return to the platform. He ventures into the forest alone, consumed by a desire to kill. Jack has overcome his fear of blood and killing animals, a fear that was evident at the end of Chapter one, when “They knew very well why he hadn’t: because of the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh; because of the unbearable blood.”

“Jack is the initial male to exhibit indications of savagery emerging within his personality, as the restraints of civilization that restrain him start to crumble. When Golding depicts Jack in the forest, the primary theme is dark imagery, symbolizing evil. From the very first portrayal of Jack during the initial gathering, a sense of darkness and gloom permeates around him, ‘He turned swiftly, his black cloak swirling.’ I believe Golding utilizes this to imply the dormant capacity for evil within Jack’s character at that time.”

In the beginning of Chapter three, the portrayal of Jack’s evil nature becomes apparent. The forest engulfs him in darkness, described as “in a green dusk” and “into the semi-darkness.” Moreover, the oppressive humidity of the forest creates a feeling of discomfort for the reader, noted as “the humid earth.” The separation between Jack and the forest is emphasized through the conjunction “and,” as it is stated, “The forest and he were very still.”

In addition, the forest is devoid of sound, hinting at a sense of hostility. This silence is only broken when Jack disturbs a brightly colored bird from its rudimentary nest made of sticks. The resultant cry from the bird is described as “harsh,” a violent and unpleasant noise that sharply contrasts with the previous silence. It is significant that Jack caused this disturbance, possibly implying that the forest is conveying a message of unwelcomeness to him. The forest seems to pose a threat to Jack, causing him discomfort and unease when he is alone. In fact, Jack recoils at the bird’s cry, letting out a sharp intake of breath.

Jack’s behavior in this case resembles that of an animal, as I explain later in the essay. Furthermore, the smell in Jack’s forest is unpleasant, resembling that of pigs’ droppings which are steaming. However, Jack seems to enjoy this aspect.

In Chapter three, we learn about Simon’s experience in the forest, which has several similarities to Jack’s encounter. Both experiences involve descriptions of sounds and smells. However, there are slight differences that create a distinct impression. Unlike Jack, Simon enters the forest on his own, without fear, and with a sense of purpose. Simon desires solitude in the forest and does not perceive it as a threat.

This passage illustrates how Simon is portrayed in a picturesque setting filled with fruit trees, flowers, and buzzing honey bees, reflecting the presence of a benevolent spirit that is always by his side. In contrast to the dark and gloomy imagery associated with Jack, Simon is consistently linked to light, symbolizing optimism and goodness. Towards the end of Chapter one, the author describes Simon’s initial encounter with light as being akin to the glow of candles.

Candle bushes and candle buds are mentioned when Simon is in the forest, symbolizing light. As twilight and night fall, Simon is surrounded by light as the candle-buds open their white flowers, shimmering under the light from the first stars.

“The description evokes a deep admiration for nature that thrives in Simon’s surroundings. He is harmoniously connected to the forest and its exquisite components, as evidenced by the phrase ‘Soon high jungle closed in’. In contrast to Jack’s perspective, where the forest poses a menacing presence, for Simon it serves as a shield. The forest resounds with vibrant sounds during Simon’s presence, in stark contrast to the silence experienced by Jack.

Golding’s description of Simon in the forest includes references to the “booming of a million bees at pasture” and the sounds of “bright fantastic birds.” The term “gaudy” is used again, this time to describe a pair of butterflies. Unlike Jack, these butterflies do not flee from Simon.

They moved sinuously in the hot air, entwined with Simon and connected to the surrounding nature. The forest exudes a delightful aroma when Simon is present, permeating the air with the scent of maturity. Additionally, the fragrance of the candle-buds disperses into the atmosphere, claiming dominion over the island.

“The pleasantness and beauty of Simon’s forest symbolizes peace, love, and the aura of goodness that surrounds him. The physical descriptions of the boys in both passages share similarities, but the symbolism behind the slight differences is quite significant. In Jack’s description, his freckles are described as ‘dark’, further reinforcing the dark imagery associated with him.”

The author mentions that Jack’s sunburn is described as “peeling,” which implies the presence of redness and could symbolize anger and a lack of self-control. Similarly, Simon’s sunburn is portrayed as “a deep tan that glistened with sweat,” but it doesn’t carry the same meaning as Jack’s sunburn.

Simon appears attractive in every aspect, even his sunburn has a radiant quality. Both boys are dressed similarly in the passages, but the slight disparity in their descriptions is quite revealing. Jack is described as being practically naked, except for a pair of worn-out shorts held up by his knife-belt. On the other hand, Simon is seen wearing what is left of his shorts.

It is noteworthy that Jack is donning a belt with a knife. Knives are weapons, and Jack is additionally depicted as carrying a “sharpened stick about five feet long.” This illustrates Jack’s willingness to engage in combat and his readiness to take lives. The adjectives used to portray Jack consistently lean towards aggression, potentially highlighting his overall aggressive disposition in comparison to Simon.

Jack’s eyes are utilized in the novel to depict his feelings. Initially, his eyes were described as “light blue” and conveyed frustration, on the verge of turning into anger. This instantaneously revealed Jack’s tendency for a quick temper. Later, in the forest, his eyes are again characterized as “bright blue,” displaying a wild and frantic frustration.

“This reveals his longing to commit murder and his frustration over his inability to do so. The blue hue of his eyes, mentioned in both instances, represents the capacity for goodness that Jack, and humans in general, possess. As the story progresses, Jack’s eyes are described as ‘opaque,’ indicating that this potential has vanished; the darkness within his personality has taken control. Simon’s eyes are described as ‘so bright they had deceived Ralph into perceiving him as wickedly cheerful and mischievous.”

“Although both sets of eyes are said to be bright, Jack’s reflect anger while Simon’s hide his true character from others. The rest of the boys perceive Simon as strange, but they fail to comprehend him. They misinterpret his actions and reject his ideas because they cannot grasp the depth of Simon’s thoughts. Throughout the book, Simon gains a greater understanding of the island, the boys, and the beastie than anyone else.”

The text describes Jack’s movement as fast and dishonest, which causes the reader to distrust and not admire him. In contrast, Simon moves slowly and carefully, as shown by the phrases “He walked with accustomed tread” and “he picked his way up the scar”. Golding uses several animal comparisons to depict Jack, such as describing him as “dog-like, uncomfortable on all fours yet oblivious to his discomfort”.

With closed eyes and a raised head, he breathes in “gently with flared nostrils, assessing the current of warm air for information.” Golding’s intention is to depict a character governed by instinct and savagery. Jack is acquiring hunting skills akin to those of an animal, relying on his senses of smell, sight, sound, and movement. He sniffs at the warm, steamy pig droppings, hoping to discover a hint regarding the location of his target.

In the novel, Jack is progressively rejecting his human instincts and adopting a more savage nature, abandoning any remnants of civilization in his character. In Chapter four, he resorts to wearing a mask to express his authentic self. The island provides him with the opportunity to completely detach from civilization since there are no restraints holding him back.

The wild characteristics within Jack’s nature that emerge in the forest are consuming his essence. When he dons his mask, he assumes a new persona, no longer Jack Merridew, the prestigious choir boy, but a savage hunter. In the forest, Jack views his prey not as living beings, but solely as “the promise of meat.”

Just like Jack’s previous hunting attempt in Chapter one, he is unsuccessful in killing his prey while in the forest. However, this only strengthens his resolve. The language used to describe Jack approaching his target creates a sense that it is not just the pig he is hunting. It implies the presence of a predator that is also hunting Jack, although we are not informed about its identity.

In a later chapter, Jack, Ralph, and Simon have a discussion about the Beastie and its impact on the younger children. During this conversation, Jack confesses to Ralph about a peculiar sensation that he experiences while hunting. He describes it as a feeling of… ”

You are constantly being hunted, as if something is always behind you in the jungle. The beast, depicted in “Lord of the Flies,” represents the inherent evil within every individual. I find this quote very significant because Jack and all the boys on the island are indeed being hunted by something.

The malevolent aspect of human nature is exploiting the benevolent side, as illustrated in the progression of Jack’s and other boys’ characters throughout the novel. Previously restrained by societal norms, this evil side is now surfacing. Simon, on the other hand, appears to be the least influenced by this malevolence, with minimal changes in his character throughout the story.

When Simon is in the forest, he helps the “littluns,” who are the weaker members of their society. He finds fruit for them that they cannot reach, picking the best ones from the branches and passing them down to their outstretched hands. This illustrates Simon’s compassion for others, a trait that is not seen in Jack. It also serves as a reminder of when Jesus performed a miracle by feeding 5000 people with only 5 loaves of bread and two fish. Through this comparison, we are meant to see Simon as a Christ-like figure who embodies Christian ideals.

Similar to Jesus, Simon also ventures into the wilderness. However, it is evident that Golding did not intend for Simon to personify Jesus, as there are numerous dissimilarities between the two. One notable distinction is Simon’s inability to communicate effectively in public. Golding writes, “Simon became inarticulate in his effort to express mankind’s essential illness.” Simon perceives the forest as a serene and picturesque haven where he can seek solitude and engage in deep contemplation.

Regardless of where he goes, Simon radiates a unique aura of connection with nature. In contrast to Jack, he selflessly gives of himself without any lust for control or superiority. His presence exudes an almost otherworldly strength, and he never succumbs to fear. While Simon may be reserved and introverted, his time in the forest unveils a remarkable goodness and purity within him. It is here that he reveals his own distinct power and wisdom for the first time.

Everyone has the potential for both good and evil acts, but we also have the power to prevent them from being expressed. I believe that Jack and Simon’s characters represent the two opposite ends of human nature: goodness and evil. Both traits exist within all of us, but it is our individual control over them that sets us apart from one another.

In his description, Golding often includes the phrase “like Jack” at the end of a sentence, indicating his desire for readers to recognize the symbolism and roles portrayed by the two boys. The deliberate portrayal of similar actions and descriptions emphasizes the different characteristics and roles that the two boys possess. This comparison between the characters enables us to understand the vast differences that exist within humanity. “Lord of the Flies” is a remarkable and significant book, meticulously written by Golding with precise placement of every sentence, image, and symbol.

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