practice essay

  1. Describe an incident that changes the course of events in the written text(s). Explain how this change helped you to understand an important idea.

In the novel, Lord of the flies, by William Golding, the incident of Simons death and his conversation with the Pigs Head On The Stick, sparked the rapid spiral into savagery and altered the course of events for the rest of the novel. It also helped us to understand the idea of the role that structure and civilization plays in the world today. Golding links the incident to the idea which he is conveying to communicate to us that without the restrictions and structure in place in our world today, the human race would quickly descend into our original nature of savagery.

The important incident which changed the course of events was Simons conversation with the Lord of the Flies and his death following that. The incident is a corner in the book as it is the first time which Golding spells out the irony of the beast and we are left with dramatic irony throughout the rest of the novel. Simon, one of the older boys on the island, and the notably smarter of the group, ventures in the jungle covering the island alone. He stumbles across a clearing and watches as Jack and his hunters chase and kill an injured pig within an unsatisfiable blood lust lingering in their eyes. Their “urge to twist and kill was over-mastering” and Simon watched as they smeared the blood of their kill on their faces, indulging in their victim. This is a small sign by Golding of blood and violence which follows the boy’s death. Simon falls into a delusional trance and begins to have an imaginary conversation with the Pig Head that the hunters left as a gift for “the beast”. It refers to itself as “the Lord of the Flies”. This is a deliberate insight from Golding as the Lord of the Flies also known as Beelzebub, means the devil. The devil which is only a fragment of the boy’s imagination yet their whole way of life and actions are determined by the fear and domination the devil in their minds has upon them. Simon realizes this as he says “Maybe there’s a beast… Maybe it’s only us”. Yet despite Simons new-found knowledge, when he rushes out of the jungle to share this with the rest of the boys, he interrupts them as they feast on rich meat and dance around the fire. They mistake him as the beast running at them in a brutal attack and proceed to kill him mercilessly. In this deadly incident of cruelty, the irony that Simon figured out the problem of the beast and yet he literally became the beast. “Fancy thinking the beast was something you could hunt and kill” was the words of the Lord of the Flies only moments before Simons death where he became the beast in the boy’s eyes and yet he was killed with no mercy. The boys never heard what he was going to tell them, so as a reader, we are left knowing what is causing the havoc on the island but are left to watch in suspense and the boys live in the dark from their own situation. This technique used by Golding is mimicking his own situation as many others of the time, in the dark, not knowing if he would live to be old or die in a nuclear attack of the Cold War. This incident not only causes a dramatic change in events which alters the course of events throughout the rest of the book, it gives us further insight into Golding’s state of mind at the time of the writing.

The incident of Simons conversation with the Lord of the Flies and his death following that helped us further understand Golding’s overall idea of humans original nature of savagery and without the boundaries of modern society, the human race would quickly descend into a race of violence and anarchy. Golding is using the boys as an Allegory of the larger outside world and he uses the small sconces and the characters to portray larger effects of the small actions the boys perform on Golding’s small stage of the world. The death of Simon, the intelligent and insightful character, developed by Golding, shows the “end of innocence” and the beginning of the “darkness of man’s heart” awakening in the boys. The boys on the island “did everything the adults would do” yet it still “went wrong”. They tried to establish a small-scale civilization but they quickly overruled the little rules which they had to roam as units of savages, killing and shedding all prior civilized properties they once had. Golding is intervening the Allegory of the boys on the island as a small-scale world to mimic the effects that the lack of rules would play havoc in our larger scale world. The death of Simon marks the beginning of the spiral into savagery for the boys and without any consequences of their actions, the boys fall deeper still into a world where murder and violence are accepted and almost becomes a day-to-day occurrence. Golding is also using Simons character to represent everything that is logical and sensible on the island and in the world. When he is killed, all that he means and does in the small society of the boys dies with him. When they first arrive on the island, Ralph becomes the chief and uses the conch to get attention but before long, the boys begin to challenge to authority and with ramifications of their actions, power slips out from under Ralph and the conch. This is seen in many situations in the real world, where power-hungry dominants have caused an uprising against them by their people.

I believe that Golding’s purpose with his novel, Lord of the Flies, was to create a story which a reader would follow along and place themselves in the desperate situation faced by the boys to try to warn the human race that they could easily be facing a race of ravished savages once known as humankind if we proceeded to disregard our rules and structure.

In conclusion, the important incident of Simons discovery and death unleash a deadly chain of events which help gives us as a reader further insight into Golding’s intentions with the novel and help us grasp the overall Allegory that without the structured civilization of today, human race would follow in the footsteps of the boys into a life of violence and savagery. The novel was written at a highly tense and nervous time in the worlds history, the two new formed superpowers of the world, and holders of mass destruction nuclear weapons, USA and the USSR were at each others throats. Golding, in concern of another war with the capacity to ruin the world, expressed his deep feelings of anticipation and anger for the world but placing the boys on the island as an Allegory of the outside world. As the boys fell into anarchy, he feared the world would follow not far behind. I believe that Golding was trying to warn the human race of the shortcomings and destruction another war would have on us, he uses characters to represent the personality types which lead to the disagreements in the world, and the course of events to portray how much influence a small incident can have on the rest of society.









One thought on “practice essay”

  1. Otto,

    This essay is very strong. It is communicating highly sophisticated ideas and making connections between Golding’s intentions and the event, the language he uses and his own personal context that are perfect for an essay of this type.

    The area for development is in your written expression. You often express yourself with great depth and subtlety – but at times you’ll use the wrong word, or your phrasing can get in the way of what you’re trying to say.

    I suspect a careful reading of your own work would uncover this.

    Here’s an example: “Golding links the incident to the idea which he is conveying to communicate to us that without the…”. I think that would be clearer if written: “Golding links the incident to the idea which he is conveying that without the… ”

    This is a minor matter, but the content is now so strong that it’s really the only feedback I can give.

    You’re doing very well.


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