Usage Of Language Techniques In “Lord Of The Flies” To Foreshadow Conflict

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What would happen if a group of young boys suddenly found themselves on a deserted island with no adults? “Lord of the flies” by William Golding is an allegorical novel published in 1954 exploring what happens when a group of boys are involved in a plane crash and find themselves on an inhabited island far from civilization, with no adults or supervision. The novel explores the effect of isolation on the boys as they turn into savages replicating the situation of World War 2 where evil, inhumane acts of some people caused a lot of suffering for the others. Undoubtedly, the novel “Lord of the flies” explores conflict with regard to evil human nature for example greed, selfishness, betrayal among others. Intending to bring about the context of conflict, Golding interestingly made use of foreshadowing. Throughout chapter one, Golding makes use of language to foreshadow conflict in the book in terms of how actions and attitudes of different characters in the beginning reflect the change in their behaviour as the story progresses and how this leads to conflict.

To begin with, Golding used dark imagery to foreshadow conflict and how the boys turn into savages. This is done through the use of Jack’s character. When Ralph blows the shell to call for a meeting, Jack and the rest of the choir members are described as evil. Jack is described as wearing a black cloak and golden badge, tall, thin, bony and ugly without silliness (Lord of the flies 15). This portrays Jack as an evil character as the use of the phrases “black cloak” and “ugly without silliness” creates the image of evil in the mind of the reader as black is usually associated with evil and bad. Furthermore, the black cloak is used as a representation of the evil side of Jack, for example, his pride and greed. This portrayal of Jack causes the reader to develop feelings of dislike for the character. Along with this, it creates the impression that Jack would be the cause of most of the conflict that takes place throughout the book. This is then emphasized on towards the end of chapter one when the boys decided to elect a chief and Jack arrogantly demands to be chief. He makes a statement saying “I ought to be chief.” This represents Jack’s arrogance towards the feelings of others as the word “ought” symbolizes the want and greed for power to Jack’s character. This again portrays him as evil and ignorant thus emphasizes his dark side which causes the reader to interpret him as the evil character of the book who is the main part of the conflict that takes place. It also leads to the image that later in the book, the boys become arrogant and develop hate for each other causing them to turn against each other and ultimately seek revenge hence leading to conflict.

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Secondly, Golding used symbolism to foreshadow conflict. This is done through the use of the statement “the ground beneath them was a bank covered in coarse grass, torn everywhere by the upheavals of fallen trees, scattered with coconuts” (Lord of the flies 4). This was used to describe what the island looked like. The use of words like “decaying coconuts” foreshadows the conflict in a way that the coconuts are being represented as skulls which show that later in the book, conflict leads to killings of certain characters. Along with this, words like “coarse grass” and “fallen trees” are used to describe the situation of the island as the boys lead their way towards becoming savages under the canopy of jealousy, greed for power and need for survival. The fallen trees symbolize the effects of conflict on the island and how it affects not only the boys but also the environment around them. Here, Golding creates a sense of danger and discomfort in the surroundings of the boys as a representation of the evil that lies within them. The symbolism shows the evil side of the boys that is awakened as they live on the island. It also shows how their sense of civilization, good and bad slowly fades away as they strive to survive. This leaves the reader with an image of the island as a dangerous place for the boys to be in and eventually think about the writer’s intent behind such a description of the island.

Additionally, Golding foreshadows conflict through the use of charactonym which is when the fat boy is called Piggy. This name is given after his distinctive feature of being fatter than the rest of the boys. Here, Golding foreshadows the epiphany of Piggy’s death in the story as a representation of the conflict that is to come. This is because one of the main features of the island was the wild pigs. Towards the end of chapter one, as the boys realize the presence of the wild pigs, they are relieved as they have a source of meat as they could eventually slaughter the pigs. (Lord of the flies 27). This brings about the main idea as to why the fat boy was called Piggy and not anything else relating to him being fat. This foreshadows the fact that Piggy is taken for granted and brutally killed in the story thus representing the chaos and conflict that occurs due to the extent of hostility that the boys develop over time as they have no regard for the feelings of others or their own values. This foreshadows how the boys eventually become murderous savages and don’t have any mercy neither for animals nor humans. Piggy’s death is also emphasized on through the phrase “we may stay here till we die” (Lord of the flies 9) as this statement is said by Piggy. This emphasizes the fact that Piggy had the fear of dying on the island which comes true later on in the book. Through this, Golding represents the change in the boys’ behaviour to become brutal savages and their capability to carry out inhumane acts. This enables the reader to think more deeply about the meaning of the text and relate the use of charactonym in the story to their lives in terms of what they may have done or faced due to a specific character trait or appearance. This enables the reader to understand the deeper meaning of conflict that takes up several different forms rather than just violence.

In summary, William Golding effectively and interestingly used language to foreshadow conflict in the book “Lord of the flies.” Firstly, Golding used dark imagery to characterize Jack as an evil character and ultimately how the rest of the boys follow the same traits and become savages. Secondly, Golding symbolized certain features of the island such as decaying coconuts to portray the evil side of the boys which leads them into carrying out inhumane acts and ultimately leads to conflict. Lastly, charactonym was used to foreshadow Piggy’s death and the brutal acts that take place in the book as the boys strive their way towards survival on the island.  


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