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Civilization Vs Savagery In Lord Of The Flies

1261 words - 6 pages

In life today, society holds many expectations of its people. Members of society are expected to behave in a civilized way- conforming to law, to social norms, and acting with dignity and without violence. When the boys crash landed on the island, they were forced to question the expectations they had always observed. This brought about a big battle between those who wanted to remain civil and those who would rather rebel. Civilization is pitted against acts of savagery in many ways in Lord of the Flies, when determining who had the right to speak during meetings, while the group hunted pigs, throughout the fight over Piggy’s glasses, and finally with Simon’s death.
When the children and the ...view middle of the document...

This is the root and cause of savagery. Piggy realized this and when others were speaking out of turn and he was unable to speak. He lost his temper. “I got the conch! Just you listen!” He knew that order is needed for the group as a whole. Though Piggy stood alone, this shows the struggle between civilization and savagery.
Civilization and savagery are fighting for power in the boys minds also in chapter four when the hunters and Jack neglect the fire in favor of hunting. "Jack planned his 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 63). This is one of the first examples of Jack becoming more savage by painting his face with raw materials to hunt. He would not have done such a thing if he were still in Britain. Jack and his hunters killed the pig not only with cruelty but with savagery. "We got in a circle-" (Golding 69) "We crept up." (Golding 69) "I cut the pigs throat." (Golding 69) "There was a lashing of blood!" (Golding 69) This describes a fight of wild excitement and cruelty. The scene in which the hunters form a circle, having Jack close in on the pig in the center to kill it is comparable to a gruesome grudge fight between people. When Jack said "There was a lashing of blood!" (Golding 69), it makes him sound delighted to see the sight. The most explicit sign of savagery seen up to this point is what the hunters chant: "Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood." (Golding 69). This depicts a turning point for many of the previously civil-behaving boys. This chant is based on killing a pig in a cruel way by cutting. Next, it goes beyond just killing the pig for food by saying "Spill her blood." (Golding 69). Finally, the chant shows that the group has become almost a sort of cult as they get caught up in the act of murder. In all of these scenes, the group shows a rapid transformation to a more savage way of life.
Piggy’s glasses have a significant meaning in Lord of the Flies. Himself, he represents the intellectual and logical aspects of civilization. The glasses he wears are symbols of the power and application of science and intellect in society. When the glasses break on the mountain, it's symbolic of civilization decaying. "Jack smacked Piggy’s head. Piggy's glasses flew off and tinkled on the rocks." (Golding 71) "Piggy cried out in terror:...

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