Lord of the Flies

Post-Reading Essay

Contemporary Literature

Lord of the Flies as Christian Allegory

An allegory is a metaphorical story. It tells a tale, but beyond teaching a simple moral or entertaining, the entire story is also symbolic of a common struggle, a well-known piece of literature, a spiritual path, or an abstract concept.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding fits into many of these allegorical categories, but the one I thought it fit best was an allegory of the earliest history and teachings of the Christian faith. Throughout the novel, Golding describes people, events, and objects that consistently parallel those in the Bible, specifically the fall of the human race from the Garden of Paradise and the life of the Son of God.

The island itself is symbolic of the Garden of Paradise, Eden. It is a fruitful land where food, water, and shelter are abundant, and there is no danger to the well being of the children. The Beast is representative of the garden’s serpent, which tempts Eve into eating the forbidden apple from the Tree of Knowledge. The Beast, which is actually the spirit of the primitive within us all, is dormant within the boys, but soon comes to life. It tempts them to discard law and peace, and to live a vigilante life of violence and savagery. The glasses aren’t a direct symbol from the bible, but along with the conch, they represent peace, order, and the way the system should work in the island and in Paradise. The Lord of the Flies is symbolic of Satan. Indeed Beelzebub, an ancient name for the Devil, is literally translated “Lord of Flies.”

Simon is symbolic of Jesus Christ, a misunderstood savior who is slain by the very people he tries to save. Ralph is reminiscent of Peter, who does his best to do the right thing, but gives in to his human failings and denies his relationship to Jesus. Ralph becomes part of the mob mentality of the hunters and bears part of the responsibility for Simon’s death.

Within the novel, the boys face temptation from the Beast, and one by one, they succumb to it. The novel climaxes while the ultimate sin is within view. The death of Ralph would have meant the end of any possible island civilization. Luckily, the sailor arrives to save Ralph and liberate the natives from their otherwise inevitable murder.

Simon and Jesus, were unfortunately not as lucky.

Lord of the Flies delivers many messages to the reader. It offers ingenuity, necessity of order, the danger of misunderstanding, and the fall of man left to his own devices. But it also clearly parallels a group of children (a group with which we can ALL associate) with Bible stories. The Bible is something many people strive, with great difficulty, to put in their lives, and this novel helps to bridge the gap between us and the Christian faith.

Moe, Kristian. http://www.malvik.vgs.no/engelsk/allegory.htm

“nickes” http://www.midtermpapers.com/view/Book_Reports/lord_of_the_flies3-1.shtml

Babinski, E. T. http://mural.uv.es/juanhepu/goldsatan.html

Houston, Daryl L. http://mural.uv.es/juanhepu/Goldingthemes.html