Topic: Discuss the significance of the title “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding. Give as many possible associations as you can and justify the title. Also suggest a proposed title for the book and relate it with themes and background of the novel.
Lord of Flies is the other symbolic name of the prince of evil spirits, Beelzebub. The title “Lord of The Flies” is not the indigenous title of the novel by William Golding; rather it came through a proposal from the book editor as a replacement to the original title “Strangers From Within”. The significance of the new title is very much to the novel, themes, characters and developments in the novel along with the aura of the island and circumstances. Relating it with biblical and other religious injunctions, we find that the plane of boys crashed over the island where an environment for their test was already existed. It depicts the “Fall of Adam” in that it refers to the loss of heavenly life, prevalent gloom, curse and the grievance of the loss of supervision from the God (though paradoxical). Fall of Adam led to the rise of conflicts, bloodshed, struggle for survival and a lot other tensions.
The title in that stance reflects a new interpretation of the Island as Earth, Sea as the cosmos surrounding the earth and human as the target of experiment. All this happened because of the enmity of Beelzebub to humanity, not only it led to their fall but also Beelzebub is creating disputes, delusions, desires, dreads, dilemmas and death to make the human life on earth miserable and to ensure their eternal doom in life Hereafter.
Flies are dirty creatures and they swarm on the dirty things. They are unintelligent beings and their dirt and filth is confined just in physical terms to themselves and their lord of dirt. In case of human, we revere the bad instincts within us and follow the corrupt morals, that is to imply that our hearts are full of dirt and evil and that is why they are attracted towards the Lord of Flies. As the flies are to the head of pig, same are our hearts to that beast (symbol of beast, dirt, corruption, devil, irrationality and chaos).
God represents creativity, peace and Beelzebub destruction and chaos. We find these roots at work where people under influence of Beelzebub are destroying nature, killing other innocent people, harming other living creature and manipulating the weaknesses of others. We also see that Beelzebub’s beast takes the status of semi-God and started to be worshipped by the boys.
Lord of Flies also tells us about the vulnerability, weakness, ignorance and deceived nature of most of humans. Reality is not known and they’ve least concern to know the reality. They follow what powerful people and people in authority tell them to follow or do, and they don’t listen to right, true, rational and expert people.
What causes practice and formation of this attitude of people? In my opinion many things play their role in it like human genes, hundred and thousand years old traditions, myths and dogmas, absurd social notions and norms and to add fuel to fire lack of tool to test human knowledge about life, existence, purpose of life, death and whether or not human life is a continuity or what. These questions have been explored, interpreted and answered in different and conflicting ways. This difference of answers and findings led most of the humanity go astray, as a result non-God paradigm grew stronger and became a social norm of obedience in the shape of power, authority, manipulation and society etc., which are the tools of Beelzebub to exploit its ambition to force on humanity and inflict conflict upon themselves by themselves.
As for proposing different titles to the novel, which depict its nature, themes and background, there come many titles. The most important of them all is the indigenous title of the author, that is “Strangers From Within” which was replaced with ‘Lord Of The Flies’. This title depicts the dilemma human nature and theme of “appearance vs. reality”. This title also describes the setting and background of the novel because the people who are strangers to/for themselves then whatever they’ll be doing or seeing will neither be real nor good for them. Their self-perception is deception, which will bring the element of self-deception in the mood, actions and setting of the novel. We have read how innocent characters become savages, environment becomes hostile, freedom turns into fear, the most orderly and beautifully dressed become savages and naked, barbaric instincts and fake religious dogmas replace true reason and divine religion, abundance takes the shape of greed and beauty of island brings horror to the hearts and minds of boys.
Psychological and emotional conflict between characters and within characters also reinforces the theme of ‘appearance vs. reality’. Deception is inherent with the intervention evil forces in human lives, leading to development of these contradictions and conflicts. Jack cries, he has dual face, pretends not to be afraid, his attitude towards laws and others. He is shown as barbarian but he has got something more than barbarianism. Ralph is democratic, joyous and mocks Piggy. We find that how his transformation occurred from one personality to another his attempts to find solace with Piggy and Simon. Simon is religious, he has to do with people and society but he is wandering and exploring nature and beast. His attempt is justified in terms of pursuit of truth but what use of that pursuit which fails to bring fruit i.e. he himself got killed, news of his discovery would have brought more panic among the kids. Piggy is rational but his rationality is suppressed and he himself is intimidated by non-existent beast, his rationality and genius is overpowered by emotions and psychological inferences. There are many psychological and emotional contradictions related to the characters of the novel.
1. Green Island Plan; the dark light:
It relates to novel with regard to the making of laws by kids for their orderly stay at the island in copy of the constitutional legacy of their elders. Laws collapse by some black sheep among the boys. Everything becomes dark, gloomy and chaotic due to inefficacy of the plan and misconduct by some. Dark light is an oxymoron; this subtitle will signify the contradictions of hope and reality, happenings and expectations and life and death, evil and good, beast and human, power and weakness, escape, survival and protection when it was not expected. It is also an irony of human plans and their beating in the void. Nothing is so real.
2. Thy Name is Forgetful:
It relates to the novel in the sense that boys forget their pledge or decision to follow the rules. They forget their civilized life, their homes and itch to go back to their homes by some means. They lose hope of being rescued. They forgot that they were human, alone on the island and they have to stay united and follow the rules. Jack’s chorus is example for this title, they were extremely organized, well dressed and civilized but they forgot all those traits and became savages, beasts for each other.
3. Free Society: Chaos Constitution
We can also assume that this novel is a satire or a premonition of the loom of horror and violence associated with concept of free society and its implementation. It was the time that the concept of the formation or establishment of free societies was nascent and being argued about. Scandinavian countries are countries with free society concept of rule and lifestyle. World has seen that what type of misrule, chaos, misleading justifications and so much other non-sense can take place in such societies, which will put the peace of whole world at the verge of anarchy. I’m referring to the publication of blasphemous sketches of many Holy Personalities of Muslims. This means and can be associated with the novel we have read in a way that the end result and whatever justifications for it could be, is not likely to be good, positive and longstanding. Unchecked, unrestrained, totalitarian freedom and power corrupt humanity both at individual level and social level. Similarly the idea of free society, unmotivated luxury, non-stop merry-making and rakishness of some people will lead to destruction and suffering for all, whether involved or not. It will corrupt and distort the face of humanity so much that their importance before each other would vanish, respect of humanity will evaporate. Human will remain no more human on both sides, oppressed be like commodity and animals and the oppressors be like savages and machines.
Humanity needs restrains, laws, law enforcement institutions, supervision, controlled authority, equality, equity and pro-justice judicial system for its peaceful survival, ensuring that people remain rational, normal and let not be driven by their passions. Too much joys, freedom, luxury, unconcern and opportunities for one class might lead to their attempt to suppress the rest.
4. No Man’s Land
This is a story of conflict not between persons or about legitimacy of territories which bear disputes. It is about the question of rule. It is a conflict between rule of authority or rule of powerful. This phenomenon has many historic evidences in the form of uprisings and revolts against kings and monarchs, in recent times this has become more consequential, grave and widespread in the form of Int’l Organizations and Transnational actors who possess armies and military instrument production units of their own. The power of state is going to bow before them, as it is being widely appraised and considered in ultra modern states about shifting the authority of state defense and security to country’s private security agencies and organizations. It can be verified from Robert Mandel’s book “Meaning of Military Victory”. It is about the modern strategy of warfare but I deemed it appropriate to relate it with the novel, Lord of Flies by William Golding, because of similarity of assumed consequences in afore mentioned book.