Lord of the Flies': Literary Analysis Essay

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William Golding’s 1954 classic novel titled, Lord of the Flies, showcased a story of how young boys cope and try to survive, as they are stuck on an unknown island located in the Pacific Ocean. Inexperienced and without the supervision of adults, these young men created their own civilization, where rules are established to keep order between them while waiting for their rescue. As they prolong on the island, conflict soon arises, as the young men would have different perspectives on the situation that they are in. Little ones saying that there is a monster on the island is what sparked the fear for all the boys, and they have dealt with that fear differently. This change of perspective is what causes the tension on the island, which led to disagreements and disarray. What once was a paradise, would become the boys’ biggest nightmare.


It has a lot of lessons that seem to be relevant to the society today. Whatever an individual’s part of the spectrum is, many themes in the novel can be wide and can be a common topic among them. One of the main themes in the book, which is about civilization, can be compared to what the current generation faces. In the novel, rules were created to establish order amongst the boys. But when Jack and his hunters were unable to comply, it led to a disagreement between Ralph and Jack.

As they were discussing in the meeting, Jack has had enough as he felt that the meeting is about the mistake he has done:

“Jack! Jack! You haven’t got the conch! Let him speak.”

Jack’s face swam near him.

“And you shut up! Who are you, anyway? Sitting there telling people what to do. You can’t hunt, you can’t sing—”

“I’m chief. I was chosen.”

“Why should choose to make any difference? Just giving orders that don’t make any sense—”

“Piggy’s got the conch.”

“That’s right—favor Piggy as you always do—”


Jack’s voice sounded in bitter mimicry. “Jack! Jack!”

“The rules!” shouted Ralph. “You’re breaking the rules!”

“Who cares?”

Ralph summoned his wits.

“Because the rules are the only thing we’ve got!”

But Jack was shouting against him.

“Bollocks to the rules! We’re strong—we hunt! If there’s a beast, we’ll hunt it down! We’ll close in and beat and beat and beat—!” (Golding 79-80)

Jack, not liking how he is being confronted, decided to let out his anger, which once again caused him to break another rule made by the young men in the island. The disagreement of both Jack and Ralph led to the civilization being split by which sides everyone would wish to join. In real life, leaders of many societies would create conflict with others, as they believe that their perception is what will result in the betterment of their people and community. It is not limited to something specific, rather it can be relative to many people’s challenges in their community right now. This is what the novel is excellent for. Storytelling can convey a story that has a theme that may be replicated from real life, and how it was effective in transcending through generations, which they will continue to learn from. Bottom of Form


The artistry can be distinguished immediately, as the novel contains phrases and words that are visually appealing to the readers. It can be said that the way how the setting of the story was greatly defined by the author, that even the readers were able to visualize the scenery as if they took place in the story as well. A moment where the novel was able to show its artistry is the following:

They were on the lip of a circular hollow in the side of the mountain. This was filled with a blue flower, a rock plant of some sort, and the overflow hung down the vent and spilled lavishly among the canopy of the forest. The air was thick with butterflies, lifting, fluttering, and settling.

They had guessed before that this was an island: clambering among the pink rocks, with the sea on either side and the crystal heights of air, they had known by some instinct that the sea lay on every side. But there seemed something more fitting in leaving the last word till they stood on the top, and could see a circular horizon of water.

Ralph turned to the others.

“This belongs to us.” (Golding 20-21)

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The way it was written, Ralph and the others were able to see the aesthetically pleasing appearance of the island they are on, and the excitement that they contain, realizing the island is theirs for the meantime, was truly an artistic way of introducing the looks of the location. As readers, they would feel the same emotion, as they read through the phrases where the colors of the mountain were described, the quality of what the island contains, and just the overall beauty in the words that were used in this novel is truly a splendid way of how it spotlights the novels overall artistry.

Intellectual value

For the readers, Lord of the Flies offers not only a marvelous story, but the creative symbolism allows them to think critically about each line in the book. Take for example an object that seems to have less meaning in our understanding, but in the book, it is a very crucial thing, that object is the conch shell. At the start, the conch symbolizes the unity and authority among the young men on the island.

With it, Ralph was able to lead and create a systematic way for them to discuss peacefully, during meetings:

“And another thing. We can’t have everybody talking at once. We’ll have to have ‘Hands up’ like at school.” He held the conch before his face and glanced around the mouth.

“Then I’ll give him the conch.”


“That’s what this shell’s called. I’ll give the conch to the next per- son to speak. He can hold it when he’s speaking.” (Golding 25)

The impact of the conch is so much more than just a tool, it was the status of their community. Whether the young men still believed in the shell’s power, it is still a sign of peace and order. Readers can learn a lot if they read between the lines about the things that seem so subtle in the story yet has a deeper explanation of why those objects were needed in the first place.


The novel is highly suggestive as it contains messages in the story that has a deeper meaning and symbolization of what it truly is. The following is an example of how the author wrote the setting, which can be aligned with Ralph’s emotion in that scene:

“Ralph turned to the chief’s seat. They had never had an assembly as late before. That is why the place looked so different. Normally the underside of the green roof was lit by a tangle of golden reflections and their faces were lit upside down-like, thought Ralph, when you hold an electric torch in your hands. But now the sun is slanting in at one side so that the shadows were where they ought to be “(Golding 65).

It tells us how Ralph called the meeting at an unusual time, different from what they were used to. For some, this might seem like something that is common, especially since they will discuss issues on the island. But the scenery can be linked to Ralph’s current state of mind. A feeling of unfamiliarity. Faced with a problem, where leaders are expected to create a solution in the shortest amount of time possible but for someone his age, he never had this big of a responsibility before they were stuck on the island. The setting was written that way to be linked with Ralph’s emotions to strongly suggest to the audience how it is critical in that part of the story. As the scene is established, the readers might have the same feeling and emotions of both the character and the scenery.

Spiritual value

The novel has many lessons that readers can learn from. Ralph and Jack’s disagreement and fights led to both their groups losing some people who were with them ever since they arrived on that island. The following shows the regret of both Ralph and Jack:

Ralph looked at him dumbly. For a moment he had a fleeting picture of the strange glamour that had once invested the beaches. But the island was scorched up like dead wood—Simon was dead—and Jack had. . . The tears began to flow and sobs shook him. He gave himself up to them now for the first time on the island; great, shuddering spasms of grief seemed to wrench his whole body. His voice rose under the black smoke before the burning wreckage of the island and infected by that emotion, the other little boys began to shake and sob too. And in the middle of them, with a filthy body, matted hair, and unwiped nose, Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy. (Golding 182)

As they realize how their actions which were motivated by their conflicting idea on how they should live on the island, has led to consequences that can never be changed forever. They lost friends such as Simon and Piggy, the island, and their innocence. Both felt what they have done was wrong, only when they were rescued and at that moment, it struck them of the tragic reality caused by their childishness. The major lesson in the story is that people should not let their emotions get the best of them. When pressured, they should seek unity and not separate from each other as it will only lead to the destruction of something special that they once cared for. It teaches its readers how actions that are not thought of at first, will only cause an unredeemable result that may haunt them for a long time.


The fact that the novel was published in 1954 and is still one of the most famous books in modern times, tells a lot about how the story still has relevance, up to this day. It is a timeless piece that is not only significant in the time it was created, but in the current and future generations as well. Many lessons can be learned in the story and in a way, readers may realize that the issues this generation faces today, are the same issues that existed even before the book was written and published. Certain elements are included in the novel, which makes even the younger generation to be interested in reading the book. Elements such as the novel’s language which gives a variety of word in English that is splendid to read, the pace which started slow but as the pages continue it contains faster action, and how close the realism of the story is to the modern world are some examples of why Lord of the flies continues to provide high levels of interest to its audience (Kainzow). The quality of the literature is what makes it still well-known today.


William Golding's writing can be said that a lot of things were written with a highly detailed explanation for even the most common object that is mentioned in the book. The novel was able to convey the intended emotions that the author wanted to express to the readers. The writing does not shy of what the characters truly felt and even the most subtle actions are able to make readers emotionally hooked to the story.

Golding was able to show Ralph’s feeling of anger towards Jack and the hunters as they are unable to keep the fire lit, and they failed to call for rescue:

Ralph turned to the sea. The horizon stretched, impersonal once more, barren of all but the faintest trace of smoke. Ralph ran stumbling along the rocks, saved himself on the edge of the pink cliff, and screamed at the ship.

“Come back! Come back!”

He ran backward and forwards along the cliff, his face always to the sea, and his voice rose insanely.

“Come back! Come back!”

Simon and Maurice arrived. Ralph looked at them with unwinking eyes. Simon turned away, smearing the water from his cheeks. Ralph reached inside himself for the worst word he knew.

“They let the bloody fire go out.” (Golding 57)

Their eagerness for Ralph to be rescued was felt at a high-level, due to the details starting from when the ship was slowly drifting away, until the time that Ralph was fuming with anger that led to him uttering a word that is considered bad for his age. It effectively makes readers continue to be interested and gain a level of excitement, with how the story progresses. The way the novel was written truly hooks the readers to the story, making them excited for what happens on the following page.

Lord of the Flies is simply a masterpiece. A classic novel that no matter who reads it, will surely move an individual in many aspects of life. The book is a fictional literary piece that mimics people in real life and shows the possibility of how one person or a group will handle the situations that occurred in the book. Each page offers various learnings and emotions from the setting, characters, and theme of the book. Overall, Lord of the Flies will continue to inspire audiences from generations, with its excellent writing and effective storytelling.

Works Cited

    1. Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Penguin Books, 19541982. Print. Fb2 book free,fb2bookfree. comuploadsfiles2020-051590811424_lord-of-the-flies.epub. Accessed October 6, 2021.
    2. Kainzow.” Why You Should Read The Lord of the Flies”, Eye of Lynx, March 20, 2014eyeoflynx. WordPress.com20140320why-you-should-read-the-lord-of-theflies#:~:text=Verdict: It is very unusual,freshness is e verlasting; it is. Accessed November 15, 2021
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