Comparing The Similarity In Themes In Alex Garland's The Beach And William Golding's Lord Of The Flies

2189 words - 9 pages

Comparing the Similarity in Themes in Alex Garland's The Beach and William Golding's Lord of the Flies

There are a number of themes which are common to The Beach by Alex
Garland and Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Four of these themes
will be reviewed in this essay by comparing the characters and the
events which occur. The themes are, first, isolation, which is
developed in both books relatively near the beginning of each.
Secondly, the fact that things are not as they seem, for example, "The
vicious morning sun," and, "the desire to squeeze and hurt was
over-mastering," from The Beach and Lord of the Flies respectively.
Thirdly, in both novels insanity is a significant aspect, with
particular reference to two of the key characters, Richard in The
Beach and Simon from Lord of the Flies. Lastly, the way relationships
of the characters develop is explored as the final theme.

An important concern for the authors is isolation. In The Beach and
Lord of the Flies, Richard and Simon's portrayal follows similar
lines. When travelling by himself, Richard soon joins up with two
other travellers and they arrive at the beach together. Soon, however,
Richard becomes more of an 'outsider' when he faints on arrival at the
beach, and feels isolated when he sees his travelling companions have
bonded with other members of the community whilst he has been asleep,

Something made me hesitate before I stepped out from behind the
tree-line. Seeing my two travelling companions on such friendly terms
with the other swimmers felt strange. They were all laughing and
calling each other by name. It made me realise how much I'd been left
out by sleeping through the first night and day in the camp.

The Beach

This is the first sign of isolation in The Beach and from here, the
portrayal of Richard becomes increasingly isolated as the plot
progresses. Similarly in Lord of the Flies, Simon begins as a
respected member of the community and is selected by Ralph, the
leader, to accompany him exploring. However, as the novel develops,
Simon becomes gradually more isolated, until many hardly notice he no
longer spent time with them. Ralph says of him,

He's queer. He's funny Lord of the Flies

He is isolated from the group mentally and physically, for, in his
mind he believes the other inhabitants think he is strange and no
longer useful to them. This is a quote from when Simon is talking to
The Beast, a figment of the boys' imagination,

'Well then,' said the Lord of the Flies, 'you'd better run off and
play with the others. They think you're batty. You don't want Ralph to
think your batty do you?'

Lord of the Flies

Elsewhere there are more examples of Simon's isolation,

He was kneeling down on one knee, looking down from a higher rock,
alone.

Lord of the Flies

This might...

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