Lord Of The Flies: A Religious Allegory

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Since its publication in 1954, the Lord of the Flies has amassed a prodigious cult-following for its blunt truths. Depicting the savagery of marooned school boys, William Golding's story presents a gruesome vision of post-war humanism in the mode of action and allegory. The Nobel Laureate's novel seems to many critics a striking analogue to the Bible (in certain aspects). Through its biblical parallels in settings, content, and overall meaning, Lord of the Flies becomes, in essence, a religious allegory.

The virtual framework of the novel presents the basis of this scriptural corollary. Set in a dense jungle, the fiction creates an ambiance akin to the Garden of Eden. "A great platform of pink granite thrust up uncompromisingly through the forest and terrace and sand and lagoon [...] The palms that [...] stood made a green roof, covered on the underside with a quivering tangle of reflections from the lagoon." (Golden 11) The lush beauty of the isle is comparable to that of Genesis' Eden. "And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east [...] And out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food..." (Gen. 2:8-9).

Innocence within the Garden of Eden and the Lord of the Flies is shown similarly through the characters' undressed enjoyment; both stories show an elemental naïveté and carelessness in the unclothed states of their players. Genesis provides a symbolic view of nakedness as the state before knowledge and sin. "And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed." (Gen. 2:25) Lord of the Flies' Ralph, in a moment of childish wonderment, strips off his clothes and streaks towards the clear, blue sea. The instinctual and youthful instant ends after Ralph dutifully shepherds the others towards a meeting. Ralph shows cunning in his shallow use of democracy, fairly convincing the boys of his power; the action exhibits a significant return to knowledge after innocence. (Golden 16-22) Acts of understanding lead to sin in the novel and power struggles, a vision of knowledge, engender manipulation and murder. Golden's novel morally parallels the Bible through the idea that comprehension heralds immorality.

Along with the text's idea of sin, critics most widely recognize Simon's similarities to Jesus. "Simon is a peaceful lad who tries to show the boys that there is no monster on the island except the fears that the boys have.
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