Monday, December 19, 2011

Lord of the Flies Speech

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Good morning Ms Barr and fellow students, I will be speaking about the ways in which the novel Lord Of The Flies by William Golding illustrates that human experience, attitudes and values are shaped by their environment.

These thoughts are conveyed through the boys who are abandoned on an island after their plane crashes while evacuating from England during WWI. Golding tries to shows us that when humans are left in the natural environment, their attitudes and values will change, as they do not have the rules and regulations of society inflicting on their actions.

Golding uses his characters very effectively. The two sides of man’s personality are represented by Jack and Piggy. Jack represents the evil side of man. He is the leading advocate of anarchy on the island and is the leader of the savage group that hunts the pigs. Jack is the kind of person which Golding believed everyone would eventually become if left alone to set one’s own standards and live the way one naturally wanted.

Piggy however represents the law and order of the adult world. He is the part of man’s personality which attempts to act according to an absolute set of standards. Its no coincidence that Piggy’s nickname is such; the overwhelming emotion Jack and his hunters have to kill the pig is an indirect and clever author metaphor to suggest the boys are also killing a part of Piggy. In fact, while Jack and his gang continue to kill more pigs, the logic and reason which Piggy symbolizes progressively diminishes with the pigs.

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This links with Robert Gray’s poem ‘The Meatworks’. The way in which Jack and his group of savages develop a disregard to the pigs and slaughter them is similar to that of the workers at the meatworks. Gray’s use of unpleasant adjectives such as “bellowing” and “stench” gives us the impression that he doesn’t want to be there but is obligated to, because “the only work was at this Works”. This is the same for the boys on the island, as they do not wish to be on the island but have no choice, and the only reason they kill the pigs is because it is the only way they can survive. Also Gray uses personification, describing the machine he works with as having a “chomping, bloody mouth”, to help create the distasteful image of the meatworks and to try and make us dislike the meatworks as he does. His experiences in this environment change his attitudes towards the meatworks, as well as his values of the pigs, as not just pieces of meat, but living creatures that experience the same type of emotions as humans.

Another technique used by Golding is symbolism. There are several important symbols throughout the novel. The Beast, the Lord of the Flies, is the evil part of man. The boys believe it is a real object that frightens the boys, but is really just something internal; it is in the mind and soul of the boys.

The conch symbolizes the law and order of the old adult world which Piggy tries so desperately to protect. The conch represents all the authority which the boys are so used to obeying. When Jack destroys the conch, anarchy quickly ensues because any hope of strong, central leadership has been abandoned. The island society collapses into chaos.

The other important symbol is the parachute man. This symbolizes the end of adult supervision of the boys on the island. While the parachute man is flapping back and forth on the island, conjuring up a powerful image of its prolonged death, the Beast, or Lord of the Flies, is prospering under its new control over Jack and most of the other boys on the island. So while the law and order of the adult world is waning, childish chaos is growing exponentially.

As the boys adjust to their new environment their attitudes towards the rules and regulations of their old environment change. They disregard them and become uncivilized and savage. Their becoming savages begins with their first successful hunt. This is the beginning of the anarchy that is to occur.

The boys divide into two groups, Jack and his hunters, and Ralph with his followers. Ralph is still concerned with getting off the island and remaining civilized, whereas Jack is mainly concerned with hunting and just having fun. Jack and his followers values have changed. At first they desperately wanted to get off the island, and back to society, but they are now quite happy with staying on the island and having fun. Their values and attitudes have been shaped by their new environment that is without rules and adults that were apart of their old environment.

In conclusion, I believe that Golding conveys how human experience, attitudes and values are shaped by their environment very effectively in his novel Lord Of The Flies.

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