The Lord of the Flies


The novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding is about a group of boys who are stranded on a remote island. The novel charts the decline of civilization on the island, and how the boys go from civilized boys to wild savages. Throughout the novel there are many instances of ironic behavior and situations. Much of the irony used in the novel ties into the symbolism used by Golding. The symbolism of some objects and characters is directly related to the irony that ties into the theme of the novel. "Golding relies heavily on the use of irony to underscore the symbolic action" (Dick 26).


In the beginning of the story Ralph finds a conch and blows into it so that the noise made attracts survivors. The sound is loud and reverberates across the whole island. All of the boys hear the conch and start to come out of the jungle to find the source of the sound and to join the meeting. Many children arrive at the meeting, and Ralph concludes that none are older than 12. How could so many young children have survived and all the adults on the plane die in the horrible crash onto the island? It seems odd that not one physically matured adult not be able to survive, and hoards of fragile children be able to live through such an awful crash. It is also ironic that these immature and innocent young boys can turn into such violent and evil savages by the end of the novel. Golding believes that every man is born evil and it is part of man’s nature to act this way. Also, it does not matter whether it is a young boy or and old man, all are "inherently prone to evil"(Hynes 9). According to Samuel Hynes: "Golding sets about to show us that the devil rises not out of pirates and cannibals and such alien creature, but out of the darkness of man’s heart" (Hynes 8).


Jack is a very controlling and power hungry individual. Throughout the novel he picks on Piggy, wants all things done his way, and does not respect authority. For example, Jack shows his disrespect when Ralph gives him the assignment of tending the rescue fire. Jack ignores his orders because his only concern is hunting and he feels that it is more important than tending the fire. This is ironic because the smoke from the fire in the end of the story that Jack orders to be set is what ultimately saves the boys from the island.


At the first meeting Jack points how they are English and the best and how they need rules and structure. This is very ironic because Jack is the one individual who is insubordinate and leads the group to anarchy. He wants to do everything his way and does not listen to any rules; he just follows his own. He is being very hypocritical by saying this to the other boys because he is the one who should "practice what he preaches."


At one point in the story Jack storms away asking anyone if they will join his own group to go against Ralph, but no one answers his call for secession. When Jack is first introduced in the story he is portrayed as having total control over his choir. He kept them in two parallel lines and forced them to walk through the hot jungle in black clothes. If Jack has so much control over the boys, and if he receives their loyalty, how come no member of the choir agrees to secede with him at that point in the novel? Simon is the only "good" and civil character on the island throughout the book. He does not take a side in the power struggle between Jack and Ralph and he is always kind to the littluns. Simon is the first one of the boys to "talk" with the Lord of the Flies. During his conversation with the "beast" he realizes that the "beast" is within each and every boy on the island. Simon also finds that there is no "beast" on top of the mountain but it is instead a dead pilot wearing a parachute. After learning that the "beast" is