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“Why Did William Golding Name His Novel ‘The Lord of the Flies’?”

Golding’s novel comprises many elements of adventure and mystery, but the most crucial question surrounding it is the very title itself. Unlike other authors, William Golding does not appear to have chosen an appropriate title that deduces the adventure and savagery of the novel. Still, it is only at a closer look that the title represents the true meaning of the novel.

Although throughout the book, the only reference to the title is by “The Lord of the Flies,” a small part of the book plays an enormous part in the novel’s overall meaning. We are only introduced to it in chapter 8, ‘Gift for Darkness,’ where it is nothing more than the decapitated head of a sow lodged onto a stick. In the text, it is described as a rather haunting image, which was: …” grinning amusedly in the strange daylight, ignoring the flies, the spilled guts, even ignoring the indignity of being spiked on a stick.”

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The author talks about the pig’s head as alive by using language such as “grinning.” Also, the way Golding writes “strange daylight” appears that the sow represents the darkness of life, as it is only in the comfort of light that the boys have the vision to see it for what it is. This is as the “Lord of the Flies” represents the boys’ fear for something imaginary, for the beast, is nothing more than a voice in their minds. Thus, the “Lord of the Flies” is the visual reminder that within all of them is the beast or certain darkness which no one can fight.

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However, why the flies? In society, today flies are often seen as unwanted creatures, as we instinctively seem to swat them away at the mere sight or touch of them. Flies represent the dirt and uncleanliness of the island, as flies feast on excrement and carry disease. As a result of the decay of “The Lord of the Flies,” the flies worship its rotting flesh for food and life. It is this sight that shows us that “The Lord Of The Flies” is a manifestation of all that is evil.

In parallel to this, Simon is the only one who ‘talks’ to “The Lord of the Flies,” The flies also touch him as they land on his flesh feeding on his sweat. In a way, this creates a link between Simon, the Christ-like holy figure and “The Lord of the Flies,”; the manifestation of evil. Nevertheless, it was not until I delved deeper into the question that I discovered Golding’s genius behind the title of his novel.

The title itself references the Bible since “The Lord of the Flies” is a literal translation of the title given to Beelzebub, meaning the most evil of devils in Hebrew mythology. Therefore this shows us what “The Lord of the Flies” and also the title represents. It shows us that the novel holds the message about the evil within us and the entire world. This evil destroys happiness, the lives of others, and primarily what is corrupting the world.

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"Why Did William Golding Name His Novel 'The Lord of the Flies'?". (2021, Sep 20). Retrieved May 20, 2022, from