The Burning Of Innocence

March 3, 2011
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The year 1861, the year even the most innocent of people went to serve their country, but came back different people. The Civil War started because of opposing opinions. It did not just consist of North versus South, but brother versus brother and friend versus friend. Like the Civil War, the characters of The Lord of the Flies lose themselves as human beings and turn into savages because of their differences in opinions and withdrawal from society. Golding uses imagery and syntax to convey the boys’ loss of innocence and transformation into monsters.

Golding’s use of imagery helps portray the damage done to the island and how the boys contributed to the catastrophic events. As Ralph looked back at the island, “For a moment he had a fleeting picture of the strange glamour that had once invested to beaches.” Like the funeral of the island, this once paradise had been destroyed by the boys because of their lack of control of just a simple fire. Golding uses this to contrast the boys’ first impression of the island and to portray how the boys’ evil within them, and the lack of a working society, had ruined the island. As Ralph realizes the circumstances of his experience, “His voice rose under the black smoke before the burning wreckage of the island.” Golding uses the “black smoke,” to illustrate the evil and darkness surrounding the island, and the gruesome death of the boys civilized ways.

Golding uses syntax to help dramatize the passage. Shock and confusion is help portrayed when the naval officer appears and asks the boys, “I should have thought that a pack of British boys-you’re all British, aren’t you?” The naval officer was astounded and almost paralyzed to have seen a group, to what he believed had been raised to be so civilized, to act like complete natives because of their uncivilized journey amongst the island. After the boys are rescued their appearance was not like what they had looked like before, “With filthy body, matted hair, and unwiped nose.” The use of this enumeration leads to the idea that the boys’ sanity had disappeared and their innocence had been burned to the ground, just like the island.

Like the soldiers from the Civil War, the boys’ withdrawal from the real world led to their transformations from innocent human beings to creatures. The use of syntax and imagery contribute to the main conflict of civilization versus savagery and the boys’ loss of clear consciences. He also conveys that each person has in evil inner nature covered by society and if the society is taken away, then the inner human comes out and chaos and disorder erupt. This island, that had once been a “glamour[ous]” place, altered into the Devils’ sanctuary, all because of the evils within the boys.

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