Instructor: Christina BoggsShow bio
Chrissy has taught secondary English and history and writes online curriculum. She has an M.S.Ed. in Social Studies Education.
Đang xem: What genre is lord of the flies
What genre is William Golding”s “”Lord of the Flies”” considered? If you”ve read the novel, then you know that this is not an easy question to answer! This lesson explores three different literary genres applicable to “”Lord of the Flies””.
Fairy tales, science fiction, gothic, epic, tragedy, comedy… these are just a few of a seemingly endless list of literary genres. You may be wondering what a genre is. It”s actually quite simple! You can think of a genre as a category that includes novels, poems, stories, and other texts with similar qualities. Some stories have an easily identifiable genre; for example, Snow White is pretty clearly a fairy tale while The Scarlet Letter is historical fiction. But what about William Golding”s Lord of the Flies? Golding”s novel actually falls under more than one literary genre.
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Lord of the Flies as an Allegory
Allegory uses characters, settings, and events to represent something on a much larger scale or with much deeper meaning. If you”ve read Lord of the Flies, then you know it”s about a bunch of boys who get stranded on a desert island without any adult supervision. How could that scenario possibly represent something with deeper meaning?
Golding”s fictional story acts as a social commentary on human nature. You can think of the desert island as the entire world, but on a much tinier scale. The stranded boys represent various groups of people and aspects of society. Take for example Ralph and the conch. Ralph does his best to maintain some sense of order on the island, and he does this with the shell. The conch calls the boys to order. It allows people to speak their piece without interruption. It represents democracy on the island, and in the world at large.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from Ralph and the conch is Jack. Jack is the opposite of Ralph in both his looks and his demeanor. Where Ralph wanted order and democracy, Jack wants power. He believes he should be the leader of the island because of his previous leadership roles. This does not necessarily mean he”s qualified to lead. In fact, once he has the support of the masses, he abuses it and turns order and reason on its head. Jack”s character is representative of autocracy, or rule by a single, all-powerful leader.
Golding uses other characters as allegorical figures as well, especially Piggy. Piggy meets a tragic end in the novel when he”s bludgeoned to death. Piggy is very often the voice of reason in Lord of the Flies. His death quite literally represents the death of rationalism in the world. Now, of course, you cannot actually kill rationalism, but it is something that can disappear easily!
Golding”s Lord of the Flies is an excellent example of an allegory, and is comparable to other members of the genre published around the same time, including Animal Farm.
Lord of the Flies as a Bildungsroman
Lord of the Flies is also considered a Bildungsroman, or in other words, a “coming of age” tale. What does it mean to come of age? In many cases coming of age does not actually have to do with a character”s actual age. Instead, it”s a reference to the mental and emotional changes that occur when a child progresses into the scary world of adulthood.
Few situations will usher in adulthood faster than getting stuck on an island without food, shelter, or an adult to tell you what to do. Beyond this fact, characters like Ralph also learn hard life lessons about human nature without the rigid social structures that keep it in check. He and the other boys also have to cope with difficult concepts like conflict, fear, and death. By the time Ralph is rescued from the island, it”s safe to say that his perspective of the world is probably much different than before he got there!
As a bildungsroman, Lord of the Flies is a little different than other members of its genre, largely because it”s so dark. Few characters “coming of age” encounter the tremendous fear of the jungle, the complete anarchy of a society-less life, and the tragic death of a friend.
Lord of the Flies as an Adventure Story
A plane crash. A deserted island. A mess of boys without adult supervision. No rules, no need for clothes, no one to tell you what to do. Sounds like an adventure, right? Golding”s novel has all of the makings of an adventure story along the lines of other novels like Swiss Family Robinson and Gulliver”s Travels. At the same time, Lord of the Flies is very unlike other novels in the genre. This stems from Golding”s overarching allegory and social commentary.
Most of the adventures the boys embark on are not fun or entertaining… they”re downright terrifying. Where the characters in Swiss Family Robinson build a fantastic tree house and Gulliver meets the Lilliputians, the stranded boys in Golding”s book hunt a wild boar, streak themselves with pig”s blood, and then accidentally murder someone.
William Golding”s novel Lord of the Flies exhibits key characteristics of several different literary genres. First and foremost, it is an allegory that uses characters, objects, and the setting to represent human nature and the world at large. Ralph and the conch represent democratic ideals and order while Jack represents power-hungry autocracy. Lord of the Flies can also be considered a Bildungsroman or “coming of age” tale because the boys stranded on the island experience various mental and emotional changes that mark their transition into adulthood. Finally, Golding”s novel can be considered an adventure story because it involves a plane crash, a desert island, and countless other exciting features.