Search for Redemption-An Analysis on Golding’s Lord of the Flies
|Course||English Language and Literature|
|Keywords||Lord of the Flies human nature redemption ethical significance|
By relating the symbolic adventure of a group of children on an isolated island, William Golding’s masterpiece Lord of the Flies explores the darkness of human heart. Many scholars at home and abroad have devoted themselves to the interpretation of this fiction; the focus of their study ranges from its source, its genre, and its archetypes to its profound theme. This thesis intends to conduct a thematic survey, revealing the evil of human nature as embodied in the characterization and the symbolic images of the novel.To certain extent, Lord of the Flies is a retrospection of WWII. Based on his wartime experience, Golding creates this novel with the intention to investigate the root cause of human suffering and the possible ways to change the situation. In the novel, the main characters are exemplifications of abstract concepts. While Ralph and Jack are the representatives of Democracy and Dictatorship respectively, Piggy is embodiment of Science and Simon Religion.In the novel Golding holds that if reason is overwhelmed by instinct, the ethical standards of a given society will be overturned. Without supervision, the evil beneath in human psyche will be released, resulting in the possible destruction of humankind himself. Devoid of spiritual dimension, both democracy and science are unable to defeat the evil in human nature. Religion can help rebuild a rich spiritual world for human beings, pointing them the way to redemption.Studied against the historical background of post WWII western world, Lord of the Flies has profound ethical significance. Not only does it fulfill the function of moral education, but sheds light of hope on mankind’s redemption as well.The analysis of this paper follows such a procedure that chapter I is the introduction chapter, first is the understanding of the novel, in this paper, Lord of the Flies will be read as a moral allegory, then looks back the different interpretation of the novel, and then develops the thesis statement and questions to be studied, and last gives the theoretical framework and the procedure of the paper.Chapter II attempts to analyze the turn of the ethical axis in the island community and the root cause of the destruction of the island community. Reason plays an essential role in determining the moral principles of a given society. When reason dominates, Ralph’s democratic government evolves with the virtues of duty, justice and compassion as its moral guidelines. However, when instinct overwhelms reason. Jack’s military government takes shape and the ethical axis turns to that of overindulgence, tyranny and cruelty. The evil latent in human psyche is released. Consequently, the island community degenerates from order to disorder.ChapterⅢsets to explore Golding’s implied suggestion on how to redeem humanity. In the novel, Ralph and Piggy are the representatives of democracy and science respectively. For Golding, democracy and science have their built-in weakness in that both of them are devoid of spiritual dimension which result in their failure in uniting people and defeating the evil of human nature. Golding avers that the way to restore humanity lies in religion. In the novel, Simon is apotheosized to resemble Jesus Christ, "the perfect author of men’s salvation". Embodying such good as love, courage, temperance and wisdom, Simon succeeds in identifying the beast, the key to redeem the island community. Moreover, in apotheosizing Simon, Golding reveals his ethical ideal as religious ethics.Chapter IV aims to uncover the ethical significance of the novel against its historical background. Taking the shape of a tragedy and employing the technique of evil-examination, the novel bears powerful function of moral education. Golding’s expounding the darkness of human heart foreshadows the light of hope. Only after being thrown into the abyss of inferno, will human beings voluntarily hold out their hands to God for mercy and redemption. Besides, the light of hope is also seen in the survival of Ralph which symbolizes the survival of human civilization and in alerting the reader to his dangerous situation. Moreover, Golding enlightens humanity that the path to redemption lies in a return to religion.The last chapter makes a summary of the above chapters, investigating Golding’s purpose on creating the novel Lord of the Flies. It draws the conclusion that instead of being pessimistic as commonly assumed, Golding is a smiling and optimistic writer because in the novel within the theme of the darkness of human nature lurks too the theme of spiritual salvation for human being.