Promt: to find a passage and write an essay, deconstructing the architecture of the sentence and analyzing the effect of Golding's linguistic scaffolding.
Essay that I wrote.
Book: Lord of the Flies by William Golding
"The shell was interesting and pretty and a worthy plaything; but the vivid phantoms of his day-dream still interposed between him and Piggy, who was in this context an irrelevance. The palm sapling, bending, pushed the shell across the weeds. Ralf used one had as a fulcrum and pressed down with the other till the shell rose, dripping, and Piggy could make a grab. Now the shell was no longer a thing seen but not to be touched, Ralf too became excited." (Golding 15)
Lord of the Flies by William Golding is a story about a group of young boys being stranded on a deserted island in the Pacific after a devastating airplane crash. His writing was greatly influenced by the other books written before him such as Coral Reef which also had three boys stranded on an island. Lord of the Flies, however, greatly differs from Coral Reef. In Lord of the Flies, Golding's writing makes it evident that he believes that a person's surroundings dictate his actions.
Golding first shows this in how the previous, civilized atmosphere that the boys came from still surfaces in Ralph's actions. The word "fulcrum" is used to describe how Ralph positions his body in order to extricate the conch from the weeds in the pond. A fulcrum is a type of simple machine. This idea refers to the society which Ralph came from by showing that Ralph is using a simple machine to achieve a goal, the conch, and by using this simple machine, he is making the job simpler. Ralph's reasoning for getting the shell was simple, and Golding describes the shell as "interesting and pretty and a worthy plaything." Ralph's decision was not made on whim, thinking the matter inane. Ralph had an argument for why he should try and get the shell. Not only does he have these justifications, but Golding also adds polysyndeton, emphasizing each reason, also making each one just as important as the other. Ralph's reasons are not just frivolous, but reasons well thought out. "Now the shell was no longer a thing seen but not to be touched" shows Ralph's thought pattern. He did not think of it as a thing to be touched but as a thing "no longer . . . seen but not to be touched." This alludes to his previous atmosphere as well. As a small child, there are constantly new things to be experienced, but a lot of them are breakable. Parents must always tell children at some point to not touch something. Another example is a museum. Most things have signs next to them saying something along the lines of "Do Not Touch." Ralph's thinking is so influenced by this, he cannot think of something in the simple state of "able to be touched," as opposed to the rather garrulous way he thought of the shell. The paragraph is full of the influence of the Ralph's previous atmosphere.
Ralph's current atmosphere changes how Ralph acts towards Piggy and handles the conch. One of the more obvious indications of the change in surroundings affecting the way Ralph reacts is when Piggy is described as "in this context . . . an irrelevance." This new context changes how Ralph would view Piggy, but at the moment, Piggy does not matter. Another instance is while "vivid phantoms of his day-dream. . . interposed between him and Piggy." There is an unreal thing getting in the way of Ralph and another real thing, something getting in between Ralph and reality. Something in this new surrounding that Ralph is in is causing him to day-dream with vivified non-realities. This is getting in the way of Piggy, who seems to be representing the old society. So not only is the new atmosphere surrounding Ralph giving him false information, but it is also cutting him off from his old influences. Still another instance of the new environment affecting Ralph is how "Ralph too became excited." Without the restrictions of the old, Ralph can experience new things. The new environment gives him new opportunities to communally experience emotions without the hindrances that were placed by the old.
Each environment has different affects on Ralph. The old effects him still, though he is in new surroundings, but as the book progresses, the old does not have as much influence on him. In contrast, the new atmosphere has an immediate affect, and only continues to influence Ralph more the further the reader gets into the book. Golding's subtle style of putting the influence of surroundings into words is not very evident until examined closely, but he did give the ideas quite a bit of thought, putting great care into making his words exact, saying quite a bit in not a very large amount of space.