Mankind´S Descent In Lord Of The Flies By William Golding

1983 words - 8 pages

When freed from the moral manacles of society, humans must embrace moderate, disciplined lifestyles in order to avoid a fatal plunge into barbarism. In William Golding's Lord of the Flies, marooned schoolboys exchange the confines of civility for an unrestrained, iniquitous lifestyle. Joseph Conrad depicts a steamboat captain's voyage down the Congo River and realization of mankind's intrinsic evils in Heart of Darkness. Both Golding and Conrad construct microcosms to chronicle the dangers induced by both engaging in a decadent existence and denying mankind's capacity for evil.
William Golding's Lord of the Flies exemplifies mankind's descent into transgression with the isolation of ...view middle of the document...

Jack instigates the formation of a separate, uncouth tribe. Piggy, an intellectual belittled by his "ludicrous body," implores Jack's tribe to return his stolen glasses, the invaluable tool for generating fire, but suffers a fatal blow from a boulder during his last plea for civility (78). Jack's tribe declares Ralph an outcast, forms a manhunt, and ignites the island in a mass effort to extinguish all objection to their savage behavior. During the hunt, the "burning wreckage of the island" signals a nearby naval ship and prompts the boys' rescue (202).
The Lord of the Flies warns against overindulgence and meaningless work. Ralph gives meaning to his existence on the island by persistently working toward survival and rescue. Jack engages in amusing, purposeless activities. For instance, Jack need not consume all of his energy hunting to supply the islanders with ample meat. In another example of indulgence, the boys light an excessive amount of fires, which claim the life of a young boy with a "mulberry-colored birthmark" (Golding 86). The pragmatic Ralph insists upon parliamentary order, democracy, and prioritizes rescue over selfish pleasures. For example, Ralph does not argue whether a beast exists or not but instead asks for a consensus to enable a solution and thus focus attention on rescue. Ralph treats his comrades with dignity and enforces rules to enable justice. By contrast, Jack manipulates rules for control and punishment. Piggy views regulations as tools for survival. Jack, the antithesis of Ralph, overindulges in the "brilliant world of hunting," ignoring the signal fire and the construction of shelters (71). Jack fervently despises Ralph's ordered meetings and uses "bitter mimicry (91)" to belittle both the chief's statements and Piggy's "ill-omened talk (15)." Dominating and loud, Jack's discard of morals and work ethic provides an example for the other youths.
Golding suggests that moral restraints spawn from society's influence instead of personal values. The island's "whelming sea and sweet air" removes the boys from societal restraints and tests self-morals and ethics (Golding 58). Roger wishes to assault the younger children with rocks, but the "taboo of the old life" stays his arm (62). Jack, constrained by societal rules, cannot bring himself to execute his first captured pig. Jack's authoritarian attitude, however, aids him in abandoning the lessons of civilization. The boys, alike to civilization, attempt to suffocate all suggestions of their imperfections. For example, Roger murders Piggy after he condemns his schoolmates for their savage behavior. By having children commit horrific acts of violence, Golding suggests that amoral behavior develops from uncontrolled instincts, as opposed to negative experiences. Simon's interrogation by the Lord of the Flies functions as the novel's chief example of mankind's capacity for evil. Translated from Beezlebub, the Lord of the Flies represents the devil within all humanity. The...

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