Study Guide

Lord of the Flies Religion

By William Golding

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Chapter 4

He [Jack] began to dance and his laughter became a bloodthirsty snarling. (4.33)

The boys’ dancing is reminiscent of religious rites.

Chapter 8

Up there, for once, were clouds, great bulging towers that spouted away over the island, grey and cream and copper-colored. The clouds were sitting on the land; they squeezed, produced moment by moment this tormenting heat […]. There were no shadows under the trees but everywhere a pearly stillness, so that what was real seemed illusive and without definition. […] At last Simon gave up and looked back; saw the white teeth and dim eyes, the blood – and his gaze was held by that ancient, inescapable recognition. (8.230)

WHOA. There is some heavy religious stuff here. Check out images like the “great bulging towers” in the sky and the “pearly stillness” everywhere. That sounds like Heaven, sort of. And then there’s the “tormenting heat,” and the fact that “Lord of the Flies” is another name for Beelzebub, and that sounds like Hell.

“This head is for the beast. It’s a gift.” (8.224)

The beast becomes almost a religious figure in the eyes of the boys.

Chapter 9

Before the party had started a great log had been dragged into the center of the lawn and Jack, painted and garlanded, sat there like an idol. There were piles of meat on green leaves near him, and fruit, and coconut shells full of drink. (9.40)

Jack derives power by evoking religious authority.

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