Response Post #7: Religious Undertones in “Lord of the Flies”

One of the more interesting things about “Lord of the Flies”, to me, is that it is so layered in its messages. The idea of a group of schoolboys being stranded on an island and slowly giving into their inner ‘evil’ is powerful in many respects, and most readers would consider the notion of children giving into an inner evil disturbing, religious or not.  But when one views the narrative while acknowledging its religious undertones, the story becomes even more interesting in its implications.  In Cindy’s presentation, she referred to two specific motifs in the story that have a prominent effect on the overall narrative: the conch and the pig’s head. Even when someone reads the story without really taking religion into account, it’s fairly simple to understand that the conch represents the civilized person, and the pig’s head, in many ways, represents the darker, more primal urge in man. But this idea of the evilness of man prevailing over a sort of inherit goodness could be read as rather biblical in its connotations of man being unable to prevail over his inner darkness. In fact, the fact that the characters that make up this story are children makes it all the more powerful; while the effect the two items have on the story would arguably be similar even if the characters were full grown adults instead of children, I think it’s important that the characters were children, because it is, in a way, a retelling of the ‘fall of man’. Children are often synonymous with innocence; taking this into account, the idea of the pig’s head being a sort of satanic figure in the story becomes more prominent. The children lose their innocence and embrace their inner darkness; they proceed to stamp out anything that is representative of basic human goodness (Simon) or reason (Piggy). The destruction of the conch is not only significant in it’s symbolization of the boys’ rejection of civilization, but also in its symbolization of of the boys’ rejection of conventional morality. The idea of human primitiveness overcoming any sense of civilization is boosted by the religious idea of human sin being far more powerful than any inherit goodness that people possess.

Just my thoughts.

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