What is the theme of Lord of the Flies?

What is the theme of Lord of the Flies

What is the theme of Lord of the Flies? William Golding’s novel “Lord of the Flies” is a classic novel that has been studied and analyzed for decades. It tells the story of a group of British schoolboys who are stranded on an uninhabited island after a plane crash during wartime. The boys begin by creating their own society, but over time they become increasingly savage, violent, and cruel to each other.

What is the theme of Lord of the Flies? (Civilization vs. savagery)

The central theme in William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies” is the conflict between civilization and savagery. The author believed that there are two sets of competing impulses that exist in all human beings: the instinct to live by rules, to act peacefully, to follow moral commands, and to value the good of the group versus the instinct to satisfy one’s immediate desires, to act violently, to gain dominance over others, and to impose one’s will. This struggle between these two conflicting impulses is evident throughout the novel as it plays out in different characters.

At the beginning of the story, Ralph tries to establish order and organization while Piggy provides intellectual support. They use the conch shell to establish rules and order, build shelters, and create fire to signal passing ships for rescue. However, Jack’s desire for power and control leads him to rebel against Ralph’s leadership. Jack uses his followers to form his own tribe of hunters, while Ralph represents civilization. As Jack’s tribe acts increasingly cruel and barbaric towards the animals on the island, they also start turning against one another.

The novel’s theme becomes clearer when Simon discovers that there is no real beast on the island. Simon comes to the realization that the beast is just a figment of their imagination created by fear. He attempts to tell the other boys on the island about his discovery of the nature of the “beast”. But instead of accepting this knowledge as truth which could bring them together again as rational human beings capable of working towards rescue, they kill Simon

What symbolizes loss of innocence in Lord of the Flies?

In “Lord of the Flies,” the loss of innocence is symbolized by the forest glade in which Simon sits in Chapter 3. Initially, the glade is depicted as a place of pristine natural beauty and tranquility. However, when Simon revisits this same spot later in the novel, he encounters an altogether different scene that signals and end of innocence. The once-beautiful glade has been transformed into a gruesome display of violence and savagery with the bloody pig’s head impaled on a stake at its center. This transformation underscores how easily innocence can be corrupted by the evil that exists within human nature. This symbol serves to emphasize one of the major themes in Lord of the Flies: civilization is fragile and can quickly give way to barbarism under certain circumstances.

What is William Golding’s philosophy of human nature?

In Lord of the Flies, William Golding presents a bleak view of human nature. He argues that when humans are left to their own devices and stripped of societal constraints, they become savage and prone to violence. Golding suggests that this tendency towards savagery is inherent in human nature, as people are fundamentally driven by their primal urges towards brutality and domination over others.

Throughout the novel, we see how the boys’ behavior becomes increasingly savage as they spend more time on the isolated island. They begin to hunt and kill animals for food, which eventually leads them to turn on each other in a frenzy of violence. By the end of the novel even Ralph, who initially tries to maintain order among the boys, finally succumbs to his own primal instincts and participates in the group’s savagery. Before they are rescued by the Naval Officer, both Simon and Piggy are killed.

Golding’s portrayal of human nature suggests that civilization is only a thin veneer that can be easily stripped away when people are faced with extreme circumstances or challenges. Without external controls like laws or social norms, even civilized individuals will inevitably give in to their natural desire for power and dominance over others.

Overall, Lord of the Flies is a powerful commentary on the dark side of human nature. Golding’s argument about our innate tendency towards savagery highlights the importance of maintaining social structures and institutions that help keep our worst impulses in check.

 What is the symbolism of the conch in Lord of the Flies?

The conch in “Lord of the Flies” is a potent symbol that carries multiple meanings throughout the novel. First and foremost, it is a tool used to call meetings and establish who has the right to speak. This symbolizes civilization, adult rules, and democratic process – all things that are essential for creating a functioning society. As long as the boys adhere to these rules, their behavior remains civilized.

Given that Ralph is the first to utilize the conch as a social tool, it also symbolizes his legitimacy as a leader. As long as he holds onto the conch, he controls who speaks and how they behave during meetings. The conch also gives Ralph an air of authority – something that Jack seeks to challenge later in the novel.

As events progress on the island, however, we see that the symbolism of the conch shifts. When Jack’s tribe steals it from Ralph’s group, this represents not just an attack on their leadership but also an attack on civilization itself. Without access to this symbol of order and democracy, chaos reigns supreme among Jack’s followers.

Overall, then, while initially representing order and structure in society through its ability to call meetings while giving the holder the right to speak. The loss of the conch makes way for the chaos that envelops the island.


In conclusion, Lord of The Flies is an allegory about humanity’s inherent tendency toward chaos when left unchecked without civilization or order. The novel shows how quickly people can descend into savagery without proper guidance and rules. Golding portrays how these primal urges can be destructive if left uncontrolled, resulting in a breakdown of society. The novel is a cautionary tale about how easily we can lose our humanity when faced with difficult situations.

Share this article