Read the Passages in Chapter 3 Where Jack and Simon Are Each in the Forest. How Does the Language Convey Their Contrasting Character and Roles in the Novel?

Topics: Good and evil, William Golding, Human nature Pages: 7 (2791 words) Published: February 18, 2006
Lord of the Flies is a thought-provoking novel about a group of English school boys who are stranded on a desert island. The book follows the striking change from civilisation to savagery, to illustrate the need for law and order in a society. Without this, the malicious nature of humanity can be revealed and the morality and values of life will be lost. Symbolism and imagery play an important role in the novel and through this, many themes are revealed. Throughout the book, the different characters and their roles are portrayed by a strong contrast in writing style and language chosen to describe them and their actions. A good example of this is Jack, described in the forest at the beginning of Chapter three, and Simon, described also in the forest, at the end of Chapter three. Jack is a prominent character with an unpleasant personality. His authority is expressed by his leadership of the choir who are now his hunters, and his will to be called by his surname at the boys' first meeting. Jack loves ordering people around and constantly attempts to weaken others, with Piggy being his usual victim. The freedom of the island makes it possible for him to reveal the darker sides of his personality which he had hidden up to now. Because of this, he is able to quickly make the transition to savagery. Jack is a natural, self-assured leader who is always ready to fight. He is a symbol of evil and brutality and his natural desire to kill is brought out by his hunting of pigs. Simon, on the other hand, is a curious figure who sees beyond the surface of things. We learn straight away, that there is something special about Simon. It was because of this uniqueness that he was chosen by Ralph to be among the three explorers of the island. Simon enjoys being alone and is someone who spends much of his time observing the actions of others and learning from them. He keeps his thoughts to him and is a not very sociable with the other boys. Simon is a very kind and helpful boy and symbolizes goodness and hope within ‘Lord of the Flies'. We soon realize that he is the most reliable of the boys and the peace-maker of the group. However, Simon is not weak and we see on many occasions later on in the novel, how he stands up to Jack, and shows compassion towards the weaker members of their society, such as Piggy. In Chapter three, when each boy is alone in the forest on separate occasions, it is no coincidence that Jack and Simon are there in such different circumstances and using contrasting imagery. Golding writes the novel so that characters, who strongly dominate the plot at any given time, are associated with the mood and imagery of their surroundings. Therefore, by studying the language used to describe the boys in these passages, we are able to learn a lot about their character and role in the novel.

At the beginning of Chapter three, Jack has left the other hunters and instructed them to go back to the platform. He has entered the forest alone, and his yearning to kill is beginning to eat him up. Jack has lost his fear of blood and of killing living animals that we saw at the end of Chapter one, "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 first boy in whom we see signs of savagery appearing in his character, as the bonds of civilisation that hold him down begin to break. When Golding writes about Jack in the forest, dark imagery is the key theme, and this is used to represent evil. Ever since the first description of Jack at the first meeting, darkness and gloom seems to surround him, "He turned quickly, his black cloak circling." I think Golding uses this to suggest the potential for evil which at that time lay dormant in Jack's character. By the beginning of Chapter three, we start to see this evil nature being portrayed. Darkness surrounds Jack in the forest: "in a green dusk", "into the semi-darkness". In...
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