Lord of the Flies Unit

First, I’m excited to say Sage is loving Lord of the Flies! 🙂


In order to help Sage get a deeper understanding of Lord of the Flies, I will discuss with him that the book can also be seen as a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, and a political treatise. We plan to watch the excellent film adaptation after he’s read the entire book. Here are some easy reference definitions I will be using, followed by helpful links. (I’ve taught this book before in my English classes, but it has been years, so I’m excited to explore it once more!)


Parable: a brief and often simple narrative that illustrates a moral or religious lesson. Some of the best-known parables are in the Bible, where Jesus uses them to teach his disciples. For example, in “The Parable of the Good Seed,” a farmer plants a garden. As the farmer sleeps, someone sows weeds in his field to destroy the farmer’s crops. However, when he learns of his misfortune, he does not demolish his entire garden just to remove the weeds. The farmer waits patiently until harvest time and gathers his wheat after the weeds have first been collected and destroyed. The lesson to be learned in this parable is to not be quick to annihilate evil; it will in deserving time receive its punishment. Some other parables in the Bible are “The Parable of the Prodigal Son” and “The Parable of the Mustard Seed.”


Allegory: a symbolism device where the meaning of a greater, often abstract, concept is conveyed with the aid of a more corporeal object or idea being used as an example. Usually a rhetoric device, an allegory suggests a meaning via metaphoric examples. Allegory is a figure of speech in which abstract ideas and principles are described in terms of characters, figures and events. It can be employed in prose and poetry to tell a story with a purpose of teaching an idea and a principle or explaining an idea or a principle. The objective of its use is to preach some kind of a moral lesson.


Myth: any story that attempts to explain how the world was created or why the world is the way that it is. Myths are stories that are passed on from generation to generation and normally involve religion. M.H. Abram refers to myths as a “religion in which we no longer believe.” Most myths were first spread by oral tradition and then were written down in some literary form. Many ancient literary works are, in fact, myths as myths appear in every ancient culture of the planet. For example, you can find them in ethnological tales and fairy tales, as well as epics.


Morality Tale/Story/Play: genre of medieval and early Renaissance drama that illustrates the way to live a pious life through allegorical characters. The characters tend to be personified abstractions of vices and virtues. For instance, characters named Mercy and Conscience might work together to stop Shame and Lust from stealing Mr. Poorman’s most valuable possession, a box of gold labeled Salvation. Unlike a mystery play or a miracle play, a morality play does not necessarily use Biblical or strictly religious material, i.e., the morality play usually does not contain specific characters found in the Bible, such as saints or the disciples or Old Testament figures. Unlike the miracle play, which depicts astonishing and moving miraculous events believed to have occurred literally to specific historical figures in specific settings, the morality play takes place internally and psychologically in every human being. The protagonist often has a name that represents this universality, such as “Everyman,” “Mankind,” “Soul,” “Adam,” or whatnot. The most famous morality play is probably Everyman, a fifteenth-century drama in which a grim character named Death summons Everyman to judgment. On his way to meet Death, Everyman discovers that all his old buddies are abandoning him except one. His friend Good Deeds is the only one that will accompany him to meet Death, while Beauty, Fellowship, Kindred, Knowledge, and Strength fall by the wayside on his journey. Other famous examples include The Castle of Perseverance and Mankind.


Parody: an imitation of a particular writer, artist or a genre, exaggerating it deliberately to produce a comic effect. The humorous effect in parody is achieved by imitating and overstressing noticeable features of a famous piece of literature, as in caricatures, where certain peculiarities of a person are highlighted to achieve a humorous effect. Parody examples are often confused as examples of satire. Although parody can be used to develop satire, it differs from satire to a certain extent. Parody mimics a subject directly to produce a comical effect. Satire, on the other hand, makes fun of a subject without a direct imitation. Moreover, satire aims at correcting shortcomings in society by criticizing them. Parody is a kind of comedy that imitates and mocks individuals or a piece of work. However, when it mingles with satire, it makes satire more pointed and effective. Most importantly, a parody appeals to the reader’s sense of humor. He enjoys the writer poking fun at the set ideals of society and becomes aware of the lighter side of an otherwise serious state of affairs. Thus, parody adds spice to a piece of literature that keeps the readers interested.


Political Treatise: a formal and systematic written discourse on some subject, generally longer and treating it in greater depth than an essay, and more concerned with investigating or exposing the principles of the subject.


Here are some helpful links for studying LOTF:


http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/flies/?noredirection=true

http://www.shmoop.com/lord-of-the-flies/

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