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Civilization Vs Savagery Essay

1405 words - 6 pages

Civilization Vs. Savagery
In life today, society holds many expectations of its people. Members of society are expected to behave in a civilized manner; conforming to law, following social norms, and acting with dignity and without violence. When the boys became marooned on the island, they were forced to question the expectations they had always observed. This brought about a large battle between those who decided to remain civil and those who would rather rebel. Civilization is pitted against acts of savagery in a plethora of ways in Lord of the Flies when determining who had the right to speak during assemblies, when the group hunted pigs, throughout the struggle over Piggy’s glasses, and finally with Simon’s death.
When the children and the littluns crash-landed onto the island they were faced with a monumental choice; should they retain their civility and order, or rather resort to their natural animal-like instincts? To this question, each of the members of the new society gave a unique answer. A few chose civility to the very end. From the beginning, Piggy was faced with the responsibility of maintaining a working system of command. “We can use this to call the others. Have a meeting. They’ll come when they hear us”. (Golding 16) He tried to restore order with the other children so everything did not get out of hand when no one knew what to do. Not all inhabitants were civilized, because some refrained against the rules and common wishes from among the rest of the group. A main rule the group formed was that whoever held the conch had the right to speak. However, even with this regulation in place, there was a constant influx of shouts from the littluns. “Whee-oh!” “Wacco” “Bong!” “Doink!” (Golding 33). Many of the members tried relentlessly to keep order during the group conversations, but to little avail. “I got the conch, I got a right to speak”. (Golding 44) “I got the conch, ain’t I Ralph?” (Golding 45). The group ignored all of the pleas made by Piggy because they wanted to keep doing what they thought was best for themselves. This was the root and cause of the beginning of savagery on the island. Piggy realized things were going downhill; when others spoke out of turn and he was unable to speak up, he lost his temper. “I got the conch! Just you listen!” He knew order and organization is needed for a group to remain whole. Though Piggy stood alone, this shows the struggle between civilization and savagery.
The duel for power in the boy’s minds between the acts of being civil and being savage are also located in chapter four when the hunters and Jack neglect the fire in favor of hunting pigs. This first instance begins with Jack creating for himself a new mask. “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). Never would he have done such a...

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