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Forbidden Knowledge in Digging for China

Searching for Forbidden Knowledge in Digging for China

In Richard Wilbur’s poem, “Digging for China”, he writes, ” ‘Far enough down is China,’ somebody said. ‘Dig deep enough and you might see the sky as clear as at the bottom of a well.'” (Lines 1-3) Wilbur was suggesting to his readers that if one looks at the world in a different way, they could find a totally different place. We can see this concept when we explore Wilbur’s poem as a whole piece. He is talking about finding a paradise in one’s backyard. He emphasizes a lot about prayer, and looking harder and digging deeper for this other world. He warns his readers that they must not loose the rest of their life by trying to change one thing.

When we, the readers, break apart Wilbur’s poem, we find the continuous acknowledgement of religion. The person in the poem works day and night trying to reach China. He/she was on hands and knees trying to dig this hole. “It was a sort of praying, I suspect.” (Lines 12-13) This person is realizing that they have to look other places for their “paradise” they are trying to find, so they look to God. When they do this, they are covered in brightness. Wilbur uses the word “palls” to express this idea. The true definition is a black velvet cover that drapes over a coffin. If the person wouldn’t have looked to God in prayer, then their “paradise” would be covered in this darkness, rather than the brightness they found. Another word that Wilbur used in reference to prayer was “paten”. A paten is a plate that the Eucharist is carried on. The Eucharist is the body of Christ; his life. In the poem, the life that the person was looking for was growing before them, but they were still looking into the hole.

The person then begins to realize that they are looking in the wrong place. We see this when Wilbur writes, “my eyes where tired of looking into darkness, my sunbaked head of hanging down a hole.” (Lines 18-19) They realize that this idea of their “paradise” is taking away from their life and that they must take their head out of the darkness that it has caused. Wilbur brings up the sun because it shows that the person is coming back to consciousness.

The Very Unhappy Ending of Lord of the Flies

The Very Unhappy Ending of Lord of the Flies

William Golding’s Lord of the Flies indeed has a happy ending in the literal sense. The boys are rescued as their foolish cruelty reaches its apex by the loving, caring, and matured outside world. On the other hand, by whom and what are the boys rescued? Symbolically, the “happy ending” is exactly the opposite. Far from sacrificing artistic excellence, Golding’s ending confirms the author’s powerful symbolism.

Readers know ample about the boys society and where it heads long before the “rescue.” Ralph will be killed and to remain a perpetual gift to the “beastie.” The boys’ xenophobic view of the beastie is ironically unfounded because the beastie emerges from within the boys: they themselves are the dangerous and scary monsters for all to fear, and they kill the first person to suggest so (Simon). Although the parachutist may symbolize civilization’s archetypical fall, he is only a “beastie” insofar as civilization is to be feared. (The boys’ fear of the beastie may, then, be well-founded, but only symbolically). As action progresses, readers see no signs of a veer from the boys’ self-destructive course. Shortly before the boys’ “rescue,” they expect the boys to perish either from the fire (which actually ends up saving Ralph), a tragedy of the commons, or internal war. Golding could either have extended the book to its predicted bloody end, or he could have changed course. The surprise course of action becomes Golding’s central theme.

Golding’s theme is not just the obvious evils of the boys’ society; it includes the notion that the boys are a microcosm of society. While readers may be able to ascertain his theme immediately prior to the ending, the connection to th…

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…s he is at a loss for words, but the officer treats the boys as if they were playing a backyard game. “Jolly good show, like Coral Island,” he remarks, followed by the inquiry, “You’re all British, aren’t you?” (184). The officer thinks that the boys have formed an enlightened, orderly society like in the novel Coral Island, but he fails to realize that even the British, “the best at everything,” can fall into the trap of brutish war (40). The officer shreds readers’ stereotypes of themselves as superior to war because he shows that war is a virus which can infect everyone.

In short, Golding’s ending is as symbolic as it is unhappy. The ironic rescue transcends the remote island to affect readers, especially the British, to recognize their potential for evil. The naval officer points to how far the boys have fallen and why their “rescue” wasn’t really so happy.

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