William Golding's Lord Of The Flies

1871 words - 7 pages

William Golding's Lord of the Flies

"Everything is breaking up. I don't know why." - Ralph

What is going wrong on the island and why?

The group of evacuees, all boys roughly aged between five and twelve,
is dividing into two sets of people, each following either the ideal
of civilisation, or the ideal of savagery. At the beginning of the
novel, every boy, conditioned by society, was following the ideal of
civilisation, that being the only ideal they knew. However, as the
novel progresses, the ideal of savagery, hidden in every human heart
which is the centre of this allegorical novel, begins to grow and
surface, and soon more and more boys are falling prey to their very
basic, primal instincts and urges; hunting animals, forming tribes,
painting themselves and losing all vestiges of societal rules. This
regression is what Ralph, a firm advocate of the civilisation ideal,
deems as what is going wrong on the island.

As the island, the tropical paradise, on which the group of boys are
stranded upon is not, and cannot be held to blame for the regression,
the only other possibility is that the boys themselves are
responsible. This in itself can be attributed to several factors,
which overall can be identified as conflicts; there are several of
these beginning and growing throughout the novel, and towards the end
they all draw to a climax. A major one, which initiates almost
unnoticeably at the start of the novel is the conflict between two
characters, Ralph and Jack, each a leader, each representing a
different way of life.

Jack is the novel's primary representative of the instincts of
savagery, violence, and the desire for power, which is shown from the
beginning. When the idea of having a Chief is mentioned, Jack speaks
out immediately. "I ought to be chief," Jack says with simple
arrogance, "because I'm chapter chorister and head boy." He is furious
when he loses the election to Ralph, which subtly begins their
conflict, and continually pushes the boundaries of his subordinate
role in the group. Jack and his compatriots are portrayed as
militaristic and aggressive, with Jack's bold manner and the choir
marching in step with one another. They are the first concrete
entrance of civilization onto the island and a decidedly negative one;
in fact, they are first referred to as a collective, as a 'creature',
and the adjective 'dark' is used in accordance, immediately creating
an uneasy air about the newcomers.

A decided military authoritarian, ordering his choir as if they were
troops, allowing room for neither discussion nor dissent, he
significantly chooses for his choir the role of hunters; he selects
that task which is most violent and, in this society, most related to
military values. However, as his inability to kill the pig
demonstrates, Jack is not yet...

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