Freshmen English: Lord of the Flies

by Alecia Vanden Berg, High School English teacher

Lord of the Flies by William Golding is, on the surface, a story about young British boys struggling to survive on an island after being evacuated during WWII. On a deeper level, it’s a look at how laws and the defected, sinful nature of humanity affect society as a whole. When I teach it to the freshmen, we look at the book through the lens of Romans 7, focusing on verses 14-25. The central idea in both the novel and the scripture passage is that even though we know what is good and right, we struggle to do good and right consistently because of the sin living in us; instead, we do the evil we know we’re not supposed to do, even though we know we shouldn’t be doing it. I try to emphasize that even though Golding ultimately presents a fairly bleak outlook on humanity, as believers, we can be confident that we are “delivered (from that sinful nature) through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 7:25). When the students are finished reading the book, I give them the option to write an essay or create a visual representation about a key aspect of the novel–a theme, a symbol, a quote, or a character. These are two outstanding visuals created by CVC freshmen.

Photo by Ady Langmaack

by Ady Langmaack



Francis photoBy Francis McCully  (explanation by Francis is below)

This art piece displays some of the symbolic and important events that have taken place in this novel. It is divided into two sections. The left side displays the chaos and anarchy that take place on the island. The right side displays the order and civilized manner that made the island, initially, a well-functioning establishment. Both sides show the symbols and events that created each society. The left side, which represents the horrors of the “new order” on the island, displays the masks that the boys wear. If one looks at these masked individuals they can see that all but their masks have been left blotted out. This shows you that it is the mask, not the personality, that defines these characters at this point in the story. In comparison with the right  side, one can see the island has a well controlled column of smoke to signal a passing plane or ship with the conch displayed beside it, whereas, the left side shows the island burning with the conch broken around the billowing smoke. The conch symbolizes law and order. Without law and order we, as humans, would inevitably destroy ourselves.

The rest of the left side of the poster shows the chaos caused by the “Lord of the Flies,” which symbolizes the dark entity that lives in all humans. He is an entity that rouses our belligerence. The right side goes on to show Piggy and Simon, who symbolize sensibility. They were placed in a background of water because they are both later claimed by the sea. Ralph, the biggest figure on the right side symbolizes determination. Though his determination begins to flicker towards the end of the book he knows that they must be rescued in order to survive. There are other events depicted on the right side that show the events in the novel where law and order has led to a proper civilization with a goal to be rescued.

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