Spiritual Connections And Imagery In Lord Of The Flies

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“Spirituality is meant to take us beyond our tribal identity into a domain of awareness that is more universal.” Deepak Chopra, an acclaimed public speaker and author, spoke these words about spirituality. Religion, as some may call it, is universally understood. Even though not everyone believes the same thing, everyone agrees with some idea of a belief in something. When authors weave this ubiquitous idea of spirituality into their stories, the readers latch on and feel connected to a deeper meaning. The spiritual aspects spark deeper thoughts and ideas in readers. Readers of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies find thought provoking spiritual substance in the story of a group of young boys getting stranded on an uninhabited island. In Golding’s allegoric novel, Lord of the Flies, there are several underlying allusions to Christian Biblical symbols. 

The island, which begins as a perfect paradise, can be compared to the Garden of Eden. Before the boys arrive, no evil has ever come to the uninhabited island. Civilization and sin have not corrupted it. The Garden of Eden begins the same way. When God created it, it was perfect; no sin, evil, pain, or destruction had entered yet. Adam and Eve sinned though, and the place was no longer perfect. In the same way, the boys took over their island with savage behavior making it no longer uncorrupted. Adam and Eve were exiled from their paradise home, and the Garden of Eden would never be perfect again. Adam had to work hard and labor in order to survive now. The boys in Lord of the Flies suffered consequences from their actions as well even to the point of two of their very own friends dying because of the untamable evil that took over. Furthermore, just as the natural world could never be perfect again after sin was committed in the Garden of Eden, the island was never the same after the boys crashed there. Golding describes the physical aftermath in this way, “Beyond falls and cliffs there was a gash visible in the trees; there were the splintered trunks and then the drag, leaving only a fringe of palm between the scar and the sea.” (Golding 29). 

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The boys’ airplane crash left a scar on the island that would never fully go away. In Lord of the Flies, Golding’s portrayal of the change on the island from paradise to depravity symbolizes the Garden of Eden in the Bible. The character Roger is an allusion to the Biblical figure Satan. Roger’s evil behavior leads to death and increasing wickedness on the island. Many times throughout the book Roger can be found causing harm to others or finding ways to fill the island with evil. For example, one day Roger deviously sneaks out of the forest to throw stones at innocent littluns playing on the beach. The novel states that the evil inside Roger was taking over. “When Roger opened his eyes…a darker shadow crept beneath the swarthiness of his skin…” (Golding 62). 

Roger only becomes more savage as the book continues. Near the end of Golding’s novel Roger murders Piggy by hiding behind a rock and dropping a boulder from above (Golding 180). In a similar way, the Bible talks about the Devil lurking around desiring to do evil. “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (NIV Bible 1 Peter 5:8). Roger and Satan both find pleasure in harming others and doing so in a sneaky manner. Readers of Lord of the Flies easily recognize Golding’s striking comparison between Roger and the Biblical character, the Devil. Student 3 Simon, a protagonist in Golding’s novel, symbolizes the Biblical Christ. Simon dies voluntarily for what he believes to be true, and Christ died for similar reasons in the Bible. When Simon realizes the truth about the Beast in Lord of the Flies, the first thing he does is run back to tell the others. “As Simon thought this, he turned to the poor and broken thing that sat stinking by his side. The beast was harmless and horrible; and the news must reach the others as soon as possible.” (Golding 147). Surprisingly, when Simon reaches the others they do not greet him with gratefulness for this discovery. Instead, they ignore him and violently begin to stab him. Simon dies after a few minutes of cruel and savage behavior from the other boys. He never has the chance to tell them the truth. Christ’s death happens in a similar fashion. 

The Bible says that Christ always spoke the truth. “The reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” (NIV Bible John 18:37). He was crucified on a cross not because of anything he did but because of the sins of others which describes Simon’s death also. Christ died because of truth he spoke that some people could not accept. There is a very evident difference between the two people, however. Christ’s sacrificial death brought the world salvation, while Simon’s death only plunged the island deeper into evil. William Golding uses allegoric writing to make the reader understand that Simon represents Christ. Throughout Lord of the Flies, William Golding alludes to Biblical images. The tropical island paradise which becomes engulfed with evil is symbolic of the Garden of Eden. The antagonistic character Roger represents the enemy Satan in the Bible. Finally, Simon is an allusion to Christ. Through these underlying Biblical references, Golding draws the reader beyond the storyline of school boys crashing on an unknown island to consider the spiritual condition of mankind. This universal concept of spirituality grasps the reader’s attention and sparks personal reflection. William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies may even challenge readers to think deeply about their own tendency toward evil.

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