English 海 外 英 语
2012 年 11 月
Overseas English 海 外 英 语
An Analysis of Archetypal Characters and Images on Lord of the Flies
宁夏 银川 750021）
Abstract: William Golding’s masterpiece, Lord of the Flies, enabled him to win the Nobel Prize in 1983. Golding considered this novel as a myth, since he applied plenty of archetypes from Greek mythology and the Bible to this novel. This thesis is to ana⁃ lyze the main characters and images in it from a myth-archetypal perspective to reveal the author’s writing purpose.
Key words: William Golding; Lord of the Flies; Archetypal criticism
Lord of the Flies, William Golding’s first novel, became a surprising success after its publication. It was declared as an out⁃ standing novel. However, critics hold different opinions on how to interpret this novel. Some deem the novel as a fable. Others con⁃ sider it as a novel full of symbols. Yet, Golding himself prefers to call this novel a myth rather than a fable. His abundant use of ar⁃ chetypes in this novel attributes to the successful expression of the theme of the novel. This paper adopt archetypal criticism to analyze the main characters and images in Lord of the Flies to help readers have a better understanding of the author’s purpose of writing this novel.
2 Literature Review
Most studies on this novel in China focus on the theme of the novel. Some scholars also study it from a myth-archetypal per⁃ spective, trying to find the recurring character types, images, sym⁃ bols and the basic forms behind archetypes, for the purpose of making clear the relationship between the use of archetypes and themes of the novel. Archetypal analysis is no doubt valuable, be⁃ cause this novel is also called a modern myth, and myth criticism presents the collective unconsciousness of human in the long run history. But previous studies tend to analyze one certain character or image, failing to give a full view of the major characters and images in this novel. This paper aims at having a detailed analy⁃ sis on main characters and images.
Archetypal criticism has its roots in anthropological and psy⁃ chological studies. Frazer finds out that those common culture pat⁃ terns recur in literature, and they can have similar effect. Jung’s analytical psychology defines archetype as contents of the collec⁃ tive unconsciousness. Its reappearance in certain images and sto⁃ ries is called archetype. Fry, whom is believed to be the founder
of archetypal criticism, defines archetype as a communicable unit in literature and argues that archetype can be images, symbols, themes, situation, etc, which reappear once again in different liter⁃ ary works..
3 Archetypal Characters
Golding uses the archetypal displacement to arouse the read⁃ ers’ “collective unconsciousness”so as to make the ideas as well as the feelings conveyed by those archetypes more deep and pow⁃ erful. In the following, Ralph, Jack and Piggy, will be analyzed, helping the readers to understand the author’s purpose of writing this novel.
3.1 Apollonian figure—Ralph
Ralph is an attractive boy. He uses the conch as a horn to call for other survivors, and quickly establishes himself as the chief. Boys choose him as leader just because of his attractive ap⁃ pearance. The description of Ralph’s attractive appearance easily makes readers think of Apollo, who is a young man well- known for his attractive appearance in Greek mythology.
Another that attributes to the similarities of Apollo and
Ralph is the representation of rationality and wit. Despite chaos on the island, Ralph insists on rules and living as a civilized man. He is the person holding and blowing the conch which is a representation of order and authority. He establishes the following rules: to drink from the shells, to build shelter, to keep fire sig⁃ nal, and people who