Chapter four of Lord of the Flies is an important chapter of the book. It contains some key turning points of the plot and shows various major developments of the characters. It this essay, three quotes concerning theme, symbolism and irony in chapter four will be analysed. In chapter four Golding visualises the theme of savagery in pages 79 and 80 by describing Jack’s ‘new face’. “He made one cheek and one eye-socket white, then he rubbed red over the other half of his face and slashed a black bar of charcoal across from right ear to left jaw.”
Golding deliberately describes Jack’s face again, even though he had already described the changes concerning his face. By re-describing Jack’s savage like face, the author wants to emphasise the continuously more important getting theme of savagery at this point in the book. As the memory of an adult controlled civilisation fades away, the savage like behaviour increases. Jack’s unnaturally coloured face also resembles his will to hunt, to kill, to destruct.
Jack’s character and his look are unifying as his face and character slowly transform into an uncontrollable, savage like monster. Moreover, his new face’s authority is immediately shown in the lines following the description of his face, in which the other are obeying his order to get him a coco-nut. Society as an illusion is nicely demonstrated on page 75 which states “They had built castles at the bar of the little river. These castles were about one foot high and were decorated with shells, withered flowers, and interesting stones.”
This quote is explicitly clarifying the reader that society on the island is dead or an ancient memory at least. The withered flowers on the castle symbolise drained life, when one would see the castle as society, which was originally flourishing as it was beautifully decorated with flowers. However, at this point, the flowers more seem to resemble an overgrown layer of dead weeds, which indicate the lack of care and respect that has been shown to the maintenance of the castle and in this comparison, society.
Not only does the castle look abandoned and not-taken-care-of, it is just a few lines away from total destruction as it is destroyed by Roger and Maurice on the next page. From that point onwards, society based on structure and rational thinking has completely crumbled down, burying the principals of their former world. The quote of Ralph on page 85 “They let the bloody fire out. ” can be taken in by the reader in a very ironical way. This is due to various reasons. Firstly, one must ask himself the question: ‘Who is they?’
After all, Ralph had quite a leading character in the book. If anyone should be held responsible for the dozing of the fire, one of the most likely would have been Ralph himself. Secondly, he was the first one to reach the top, indicating that if anyone could have been held responsible for letting the fire out it is, again, Ralph. The irony continues as Ralph went intensely red after the event had happened. The actual fire might have been let out but the fire like anger awoke inside Ralph because of the dozing of the fire.
Ironically, even though at the start of the book the children cherished their fire, as if it was their only way of surviving, yet it is the fire that is neglected causing them to miss out on a potential rescue. Conclusionally, the quotes “He made one cheek and one eye-socket white, then he rubbed red over the other half of his face and slashed a black bar of charcoal across from right ear to left jaw. ” (pages 79 and 80), “They had built castles at the bar of the little river.
These castles were about one foot high and were decorated with shells, withered flowers, and interesting stones. ” (page 75) and “They let the bloody fire out. ” (page 85) depict the author’s intentions to express the omnipresence of the theme savagery and the way, which is regularly clarified by the use of symbolism and irony. The author has chosen to clarify this through symbolism and irony, to slowly make the reader more aware of the deeper thought of the book, war.