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Lord Of The Flies: How Does Golding Present The Loss Of Innocence?

In Goldings’ Lord of the flies, the boys slowly loose their civilization and become savages as they also lose their innocence as their original sin is revealed represented by the ‘beast’. He slowly describes them in ways to show us the change from what we know as good to evil. As Golding unveils the boy’s original sin, he slowly begins to refer to the boys as savages and even devils. He writes “…behind the tribe and the anonymous devils’ face swarmed across the neck.” This is very effective as it indicates to the reader that Golding now confirming the boys are drenched in Original sin as he labels them ‘devils’ after they have killed Piggy.

The innocence of the boys is lost as two of the boys are killed by other boys on the island. Piggy is killed when Roger releases a very large rock and it plunges him to his death. It says “…Piggy fell forty feet and landed on his back…his head opened and stuff came out and turned red.” In this quote, Golding uses quite a colloquial language to describe Piggys’ death. By using the word ‘stuff’ rather than the distinctive language he used to show us the meaning of Simons’ death, the effect of this is that although Piggy was the main character, he did not have a special meaning in this book. At the start of the book were Jack was faced with the challenge of killing a pig, as he was still civilized, he could bring himself to do it. Jack says ” I was choosing a place…I was waiting for a moment to decide where to stab him…

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They knew very well why he hadn’t…the knife descending and cutting into living flesh; because of the unbearable blood.” This indicates to me that Jack is still too innocent and he knew that he could not harm this pig for it had done nothing to him. However, things soon change as Jack is eager to prove to the others that he is capable of catching a pig and he lets his Original sin overtake his spirit. Golding writes “He passed like a shadow under the darkness of the tree and crouched, looking down at the trodden ground at his feet.” The effect of the words ‘shadow’ and ‘darkness’ suggest a sense of evil in Jack and his behaviour as Jack was the leader in the killing of the Christ-like figure Simon, showing us his loss of innocence.

Golding presents the loss of innocence by firstly describing the island as perfect but at the same time, he indicates to us that the boys’ very presence is tainting the island. He does this by calling the mark the aeroplane left when it crashed, a ‘scar’. It shows the boys had already made their mark on the island. He writes “…the long scar smashed into the jungle.” The effect of the onomatopoeia ‘smashed’ suggests that the boys had destroyed something that had always been there. The island can be compared to the Garden of Eden as it is also described as paradise before Adam and Eve ruin it. Just like the biblical story, the beast can represent the snake, unleashing the evil in the boys and snatching the innocence.

The only difference is that the beast is a state of the boys’ imagination and the snake was actually in front of Adam and Eve tempting them. Although this, Golding signals from the start when the ‘scar’ is mentioned, that the island will lose its perfection just as the boys’ eventually did. The loss of innocence is presented using one of the main themes of the book. The boys first establish democracy but then tyranny takes control. The ‘conch’ is used in the beginning enforced by Ralph but suggested by Piggy to ensure that everybody gets a say. This was before Jack got fed up and created his own tribe on the other side of the island where he was the leader. Jack is a tyrant and he rules by fear. It says “The two savages looked at each other, raised their spears and spoke in time. The Chief has spoken.”

As the boys’ savagery dramatically increases, they begin to paint their faces in their quest for pigs to kill. Golding writes “He looked down from behind his paint.” The painted faces are emblematic of their constant decline into savagery and their continuous movement away from innocence. The effect of Golding saying ‘looked down from behind his paint’ suggests that the boys are using the paint to cover up what they normally are the paint is a stepping stone into helping them become even more evil and savage. In this book, Golding has built up Rogers’s character who has been throwing stones.

However every time Roger throws these stones at others, he throws them to miss which indicates he still has innocence left in him. This is until all the innocence leaves him. He writes “Roger, with a sense of delirious abandonment, leaned all his weight on the lever.” The effect of this is that it shows the reader that the boys no longer have an ounce of civilization in them and can not deter right from wrong leading to the killing of Piggy. It tells us that they have become such ‘devils’ their own sin has overwhelmed them and they are no longer innocent boys as they were when they first landed on this island. They are as Golding would probably would say, Devilish Savages.

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Lord Of The Flies: How Does Golding Present The Loss Of Innocence?. (2021, May 08). Retrieved June 19, 2021, from