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Themes of Survival in Lord Of The Flies by William Golding

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Lord of the Flies is a modern classic by William Golding set during WWII. The book is about a group of 12-year-old boys who have been evacuated onto an island as their aeroplane is shot down near Spain. Nobody knows where they are, and their only hope of getting off the island is to send signals and survive for themselves. The fruit that grows on the island isn’t edible, and they eat vegetables and fish. There are many themes in this book, and one of them is Survival and Rescue. There are two main leaders on the island, and they have different interpretations of survival. Ralph believes that the group should build shelters and build a fire and send signals and try to be rescued, but Jack believes the group should hunt and kill pigs for meat and have fun on the island.

They hold an assembly and democratically elect Ralph as the leader, who is a democratic and fair leader who tries to keep everyone happy whilst sending signals to be rescued at the same time.

They use Piggy’s glasses to set fire to a pile of twigs and this fire burns through that story, because this is the only way the boys can be rescued from the island, it is a very important symbol, but throughout the book many of the boys question Ralph’s ideas, as they prefer Jack’s primitive savagery.

‘But I tell you that smoke is more important than the pig, however often you kill one.’

Ralph believes the fight for survival is to return safely home, but Jack believes they will remain on the island for the rest of their lives and wants to have fun rather than get out of the island.

Eventually, all the boys but Ralph choose to join Jack’s group of meat and hunting, as their savage primitive instincts take over from a sensible democratic rule-abiding life. This is because they feel Jack’s spears and weapons would protect them from beasts better than Ralph, and naturally they turn to Jack as their leader.

Ralph’s final ally, Piggy is killed by one of Jack’s group, and they decide that to survive on the island properly they need to kill Ralph. This is extraordinary, as they are all 12-year-old public school boys, who began on the island as democratic well-behaved boys who would never murder, but ended up as beasts.

As Ralph hides in the bushes the savages get inpatient, and decide to burn down the island to try and find him. Ironically, the fire burns the whole island and sends a huge smoke signal to the skies, and just before the savages kill Ralph, a naval officer appears on the island to take the boys away. When they got onto the island it was completely undisturbed, but bit-by-bit, tyranny and savageness take over and the island is completely destroyed.

The moral of the story is that the only way of survival is to make rules and obey them. If the boys had stayed with Ralph’s group or if Jack hadn’t been on the island, the boys wouldn’t have tried to kill each other and they would’ve left the island as it was originally with nobody hurt.

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