Use Of Clothing In Lord Of The Flies

1118 words - 5 pages

There are many examples of literature in everyday life that help people understand the world around them. Literature preserves the ideals of people- leaving the reader with numerous messages. Authors may use motifs in literature to give the reader a deeper understanding of the lives of people. In a piece of literature, Lord of the Flies, an overlooked but significant motif is clothing. William Golding uses clothing to show how human nature can revert to disorder in the absence of law and order.

The introduced to clothing early on in the novel. Ralph feels overwhelmed by the heat of the island so he removes his clothing, “He became conscious of the weight of clothes, kicked his shoes off fiercely, and ripped off each stocking with its elastic garter in a single movement” (10). Arriving on the island, the boys realized there are no adults to correct their behavior. For the boys, no adults means no rule enforcers. Ralph removing his clothing so quickly in the novel represents that the lack of clothing is directly related to the lack of order. Removing clothing, regardless of the high temperature, in not a common occurrence. More than likely, if adults were on the island, Ralph would not have removed his garments. By removing his clothing, this shows his disregard to order. Later, Ralph blows the conch to call an assembly, and the boys arrive uniformed, “-or more or less dressed, in school uniforms, grey, blue, fawn, jacketed, or jerseyed. There were badges, mottoes even, stripes of color in stockings and pullovers”(18). Golding does not just state that the boys are wearing uniforms. Instead he describes the uniform in depth which signifies its importance. In society, uniforms signify order and structure. By the boys arriving on the island with uniforms, we are aware that the boys are disciplined and are aware of law and order. The boys could have arrived on the island wearing regular clothing, but they arrive wearing uniforms. This strongly emphasizes the later disorder amongst the boys and the corruption of their previous moral views. The last to arrive to the assembly are the choir boys, “Their bodies, from throat to ankle, were hidden by black cloaks, which bore a long silver cross on the left breast, and each neck was finished off with a hambone frill” (19). These school uniforms highlight the innocence of the boys. The boys are very orderly and disciplined, listening quietly during the assembly. Early in the novel, Golding uses the clothing to show the regulation throughout the boys and to foreshadow the upcoming disorder that will occur on the island.

As the boys clothing turns into tatters, the boys order turns into chaos. Ralph distributes the different responsibilities throughout the boys, and his rules are clearly disregarded. Jack and the choir boys are responsible for hunting, while the older boys were responsible for watching the fire. “We’ve got to have special people for looking after the fire. Any day there may be a...

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