Thursday, July 18, 2019

“Lord of the Flies” †novel by William Golding (1954) Essay

In this essay I will be comparing the three approaches to the incident of Piggy’s death. This is a very significant moment in the ‘Lord of the Flies’ and symbolises how outcasts are treated in a broken down society. I will be comparing the novel by William Golding, with the film by Peter Brook and the film by Harry Hook. The original book was written directly after World War 2, which had a great influence on how Golding decided to plan and write his book. The original book is the true ‘Lord of the Flies’, and the films are adaptations of the original novel. The film that was made in 1961 by Peter Brook was a very close interpretation of the original novel. The characters are the same, the setting is same, and the whole story loosely follows the same pattern as the book. Brook used thirty boys, aged eight to fourteen with non-acting backgrounds, as they all came from a randomly picked London school. He took them to an island off Puerto Rico for 3 months, in which time he filmed this masterpiece, which was ground breaking at the time and closely followed the book. It was original and daring, and was filmed in black and white with restricted amount of equipment. In contrast, the second film produced by Harry Hook in 1994, which was based on the same idea, but was set in different situations. The audience he was attracting needed much more action and adventure, which the old version doesn’t show and would probably be laughed at by Hook’s audience. The film needed to be original, which it was to his audience, but he cleverly used the book and the other film as a basis on which to build his ideas. The film, ‘Lord of the Flies’ by Harry Hook was filmed in colour, with American actors playing as army cadets with ‘mod cons’ such as army knives and watches. Changes such as including adults in the story and use of strong language add a twist to the original novel, and which isn’t portrayed in the 1961 version. It moves completely away from Golding’s original narrative, and his initial intentions. The opening shot is similar in the three versions of ‘Lord of the Flies’, but also has differences. The differences between the two films become evident at the opening of the scene. As the thundering waves are hurled against the sharp, jagged rocks with the darkness and savagery within them, the scene becomes clear. Brook turns to the boys walking along, you just know that something is going to happen. In the Peter Brook film, the coastline is the main feature, with the boys looking small, walking along. The faces of the boys are not so easy to depict until they get close enough. Ralph, Piggy and SamnEric, are looked down on by the camera, with the commanding rocks and the roaring sea all around. However, the boys don’t seem to be put off by this and look positive and intentional in their visit. In comparison, the Hook film shows the shot to be not so dark and suspicious, but more religious and sacrificial. The background noise of the crashing waves is substituted with choral singing. This time, we only see Ralph and Piggy approaching the rocks. Piggy is wearing full cadet uniform and appears not to be having problems with his sight. The boys are at the same level, and the darkness and savagery seems to be lost from this film. Both films have followed the idea of the book, Hook’s version more loosely than Brook’s film. Neither mentioned how much Ralph was injured or his ragged appearance as in the novel, â€Å"Ralph went first, limping a little, a spear carried over one shoulder.† The films left this out because it may well have not appealed to their audiences, as the hero doesn’t look perfect, especially with the later film. Hook also left out SamnEric in the advancing bunch. Golding, who wrote the original ‘Lord of the Flies’, starts this scene by retelling some of the plot. He reminds the reader how such a beautiful island has been effected by society, and how individuals can ruin things for everyone. â€Å"The sky and the mountain were at an immense distance, shimmering in the heat; and the reef was lifted by mirage, floating in a kind of silver pool half-way up the sky.† This little interlude reflects on the past, and will maybe add more impact to the incidents to come. Golding also mentions fire, which reminds the reader of how Jack stole the glasses off helpless Piggy, to use for their own comfort and as a aid for a cooking fire. The first sign of conflict between Jack and Ralph is when they meet. They start to argue and quarrel, and tension is built up within this period. This is the same with all three texts. Ralph intentions are clear as he approaches, but Jack wants none of it. In the novel, Golding has built up the tension with words he uses, â€Å"Ralph’s temper blazed out†. The sentences are short, and not very descriptive. The main feature of the scene, the fight, is portrayed similarly in all three texts. They attack each other vigorously, and the real conflict and anger between the two groups is apparent. In the film, by Brook, the camera can be used to aid the build up of tension as well as the dialogue. The short camera angles used reflect Goldings’ staccato language. The camera looks up to Jack, and down to Ralph. He appears in a definite commanding position. The camera follows Jacks face, which appears dark against the rock, and is hidden whenever Ralph speaks to hide his thoughts. He wears a mask to hide his face, which is savage and evil. Prior to the fight, the camera sways to Jacks barbarous face, with him holding his spear, with only the point showing. This shows the wildness and spite within Jack. This is shown similarly in the Hook film, but Jack doesn’t wear a mask, so we see more of his face. However, Hook has decided to use stronger language to convey the anger between the two boys. Hook chose similar camera movements and patterns to Brooks’ film, as they seemed to show the positions of the characters well and would appeal to his modern audience. Ralph and his gang are portrayed as the lower, weaker force, and Jacks rabble are shown as being in control. The main feature, the fight, is depicted equally in the three texts. Both sides seem angered, and in Hook’s film, the loss of society is also shown. Ralph, usually the well-balanced, even-tempered individual, is lowered to such means as fighting. On the other hand, that is Jacks usual way of settling things. Roger has a strong influence on Piggy’s death and plays a significant role, in all three interpretations of the ‘Lord of the Flies’. Roger is first introduced into the scene in the novel, when he starts to toss rocks at Ralph. His physical appearance is kept a secret and is only released when he pushes the lever, â€Å"Roger, with a sense of delirious abandonment, leaned all his weight on the lever.† Roger is introduced earlier on in Brook’s film. What we see of Roger is a godly figure, with his face outlined to the sky. Hook shows us a close up of Rogers’ face from below. He is painted with black paint around the eyes and mouth, which looks like deep hollows in which evil is to be found. He is a symbol of evil and power and as a slight grimace creeps along his face, the audience is shocked by this terrifying image. His intentions become clearer as the scene advances. A longer period of time is spent on him, so does the amount we see of him. When the camera shows us his hand going towards the lever, the anticipation is built up, with the climax of him releasing it with great force, pounding down onto Piggy’s head. Roger is not so well shown in Hooks film. Most of the time he is hidden by the cliff edge and the other savages, but once the stone is released, Rogers’ face is no longer mysterious, but is clear. This makes the audience feel suspicion and fear towards Roger. Piggy is the main character in the scene, and is based on the character first developed in Golding’s novel in both the book and the films. Piggy has similarities and differences in the films, but the main ‘feeling’ of Piggy’s character is conveyed quite well. In Peter Brooks film, Piggy is uneasy about the situation, poised on the steep rocks which seem to fall into hell. He is wearing full uniform, showing his intentions to keep rules. The camera is overhead, and makes us feel pity for Piggy who is helpless. In the build up to the death, the camera focuses on short close-up shots of Piggy’s face to show his hopelessness and anxiety. Piggys’ voice is blurred by the natural sounds of the roaring of the sea crashing against the rocks. Ralph forgets what he came for, and Piggy knows this. This has an effect on the audience to feel empathy for Piggy. Harry Hook has changed Piggy’s character, to fit his wants and his audiences wants. He doesn’t make Piggy as disabled as Brook does in his film. He allows Piggy to be able to see fairly well and able him to stand on the same level platform as Ralph. Piggy isn’t left out or forgotten during the fight, and can be seen in the shots of the fight, standing in the background. In the book, Piggy seems extremely scared and worried of what was about to happen as he clings onto the steep sided rock face. â€Å"‘Am I safe?’ quavered Piggy. ‘I feel awful-‘†. Brooks’ film is better on picking up on the idea that Piggy is supposed to be very disadvantaged. Piggy’s emotions are shown well in all three texts, as a close up in the film, or as strong description in the novel. The murder is the main feature in the scene we are studying. It has a strong impact on the audience in all of the texts and is transmitted differently in each. In the novel, Piggys death is compared to a pig after his death, which is rather ironic, â€Å"Piggy’s arms and legs twitched a bit, like a pig’s after it has been killed.† The language used here is very severe and looks as thought Golding doesn’t really care about what has just happened to Piggy. After this there is a silence all around, until it is disturbed by a little speech between Jack and Ralph, followed by Jack throwing his spear at Ralph, which then leads him to run away, with spears coming at him from all directions. This isn’t shown in either of the films, and in Brooks’ film, nothing is said, and Ralph just flees. Brook has a lengthy build up to his death scene in his film. Hints are dropped all the time, with the camera continually looking at the rough sea and jagged rocks, then at Piggy’s confused face. Brook supports Golding’s language, with only a few minor changes. In the build up to the climax, the camera continually switches between Piggy and Roger, with longer shots to Roger as we get ever closer to the climax. Also, the noise of the jeering boys gets louder, and sounds more and more like air raid sirens, which adds to the effect of anticipation. This is obviously significant because it indicates the society the boys have just left, and shows the links to situations of which Golding has just witnessed before he wrote his novel, and of the tragedy of war. However, this is something that Brooks audience may not clearly remember so wouldn’t be so obvious in his film. The final shot of Roger is of him pushing down on the lever as with Golding’s novel. The face looks emotionless until the rock is released, when a wide, evil smirk smears across his face. The camera stays still to make Roger look as though he is pushing harder, as he moves out of the shot. We see the rock rolling down, and then we see Piggy’s viewpoint of the rock above, coming straight, bang down onto his head. Immediately as the rock hits Piggy, the jeering comes to a halt, and all is left is the roaring sounds of nature. All, including Jack seem shocked, but Roger is not. The camera switches between the characters showing their disbelief of that which Roger had just done. To end the lengthy scene, Brook has a shot of Ralph looking in commiseration down to Piggy. The camera is then just left still as Ralph scurries over the rocks. Harry Hook has changed the death scene in his film to suit his modern audience. Brook has kept close to the language with Piggy’s speech, and has only changed a few parts to suit more to his audience. In the shot where Roger releases the rock, the director shows the shot from Ralph’s point of view. As the rock falls, Ralph shouts â€Å"NO!† in a slow motion speech. Piggy is oblivious to the situation due to his eyesight. He says nothing, and just falls flat onto the rock and lies there in a pool of blood. This loosely follows the original text by Golding. Golding described how Piggy was knocked into the water and got washed away, whereas there was no sight of this in Hook’s film. â€Å"You’re not gonna get away with this† says Ralph after the death. Jack thinks logically and says that Ralph was on his own, which he most definitely was. The speaking is then terminated by the boys throwing stones at Ralph as he speeds away along the beach. All three versions of the ‘Lord of the Flies’ are interpreted differently, but use the same original story line written by William Golding. All are effective, but some are more so than the others. Personally, I think that Peter Brook directed the best film. This is because it was more appealing to the audience at that time, it was more successful and it follows the book much closer than the other film, which was directed by Harry Hook. However, I do like the book for the detail and originality within it. To me the text vividly describes the sights of horror and the dramatic feelings of loss and grief felt by the societies at this particular time of World War 2. At the time the book was written, which was just after the war, total communities had witnessed such devastation as was described in the book. They could relate directly to the savagery and the way the murder was committed in cold blood. I feel the book also cleverly puts the characters into stereotypes of the tim e, showing how certain communities and their structures can be so easily destroyed.

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