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Civilized To Primitive: Lord Of The Flies

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1492 words Published: 25th Apr 2017

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The Lord of the Flies written by William Golding is a novel addressing the idea of man releasing their inner beasts. The novel has many events which characterize how evil is inherited in every man. In the story, a plane crashes causing boys to be scattered throughout the island. The lagoon area was like a “paradise”. At first they helped one another but as the days progressed they realized there are no adults to be strict and enforce rules, so they begin to do whatever they want to do-dozing, hunting, and swimming. The “paradise” was inhabited by man and was destroyed because without rules, humans essentially become animals.

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Throughout the 20th century, there were many wars happening all over the world which allowed man, to brutally murder man without reason. Man use weapons to harm others during wars, just like they do in the novel The Lord of the Flies. Golding explains murder throughout the back from man to animals. During the many wars of the world, man killed man for greed and the need for blood and chaos. This is described in the novel by Golding with the parachutist that landed on the island and the description of the vicious murders of pigs for pleasure. Golding expresses the harm humans have caused throughout their inhabitance on the destruction they will cause in the future eras. Without rules to obey, man transforms into savage animals. Overall, William Golding describes this theme with descriptive scenes.

To make a society strong people have to work to help build comfort. At the beginning all the children followed the rules; they helped out in creating a strong community. Then they started to doze, they realized there are no adults to enforce ruled so they did what pleases them. The building of the huts is an example of how their democracy begins to collapse: “Wait a minute! I mean who build all three? We all built the first one, four of us the second one, and me ‘n Simon built the last one over there. That is why it is so tottery” (Golding, 80). Ralph is explaining that since they all worked as a team the first hut is the best one. As they built the second and third less people participated in creating a comfortable society which is a start of the “tottery” government malfunctioning. Ralph realized how everything is slowly breaking up and at the meeting he called to talk about all the laziness he mentions: “Things are breaking up I don’t understand why. We began well; we were happy” (Golding, 82). What Ralph does not realize is how now his colony of boys are now realizing they are on an island without any adult authority; they are becoming miserable, unsatisfied and disobedient. Golding addresses the rise of civilization, describing how everyone was working together instead of against each other. Golding also describes that Ralph is losing power; their society is slowly losing power.

Everyone can change an identity into an alternate personality while hiding behind a mask, it is a feeling inexpressible, and an alternate identity that will wash away after the damage is done. Golding claims that when man loses his individuality, his inner ‘beast’ is released. Golding expresses this through the character Jack, who became the living figure of evil. Jack found clay on the island. Ralph mentioned it was like the stuff they used in the war. All the hunters would wear this camouflage when going hunting. Jack was the first to put the clay on. He did not like the first design that he made. He painted, carefully, on his face: “He split the water and leapt to his feet, laughing excitedly beside the pool his sinewy body held up a mask that drew their eyes and appalled them. He began to dance and his laughter became a blood thirsty snarling” (Golding, 63-64). This quote reveals Jacks transformation into a savage animal, His hidden identity allows his usual arrogant but shy actions turn into evil snarling and celebration of death. This transformation allows children on the island to fear him; he has the power and control that one fears. Jack becomes aggressive; Golding has Jack as the antagonist to reveal to the reader the effects of no authority, how influenced man could become and how evil man can turn into. According to Golding, the clay gives Jack the upper-hand; it allows him to act as if there is not another thing in the world. The clay has an advantage on the person, who is covered in it, to act without fault, and to please whatever they desire.

The killing of the mother sow is the complete transformation of Jack and the savages from civilized to primitive. This gruesome scene in chapter eight is described by Golding to allow the reader to visualize the murder of a mother sow as a rape. This mother was murdered by the savages. This transformation is a cry for help from the hunters, as without any interactions with the adult world- they lost all their morals and grace. The murder of the mother sow was described as a killing for pleasure of hunting not for food; the start of Jack’s tribe: “The spear moved forward inch by inch and the terrified squealing became a high-pitched scream… The sow collapsed under them and they were heavy and fulfilled upon her… Right up her ass! “

(Golding, 135). The quote establishes an image of rape. It describes the power and controls of the have upon their innocent prey. In reality the ‘mother’ was a sow, but by this description Golding, reveals the true evil that lies within man. Golding expresses how evil in man is revealed through the savages. He described this ‘rape’ through words allowing the reader to visualize the power and the control.

On an island with no adults there has to be someone who can take the boys from a fantasy world to reality. Golding uses Piggy’s glasses as a representation of a society. Piggy is an average, short and fat kid with glasses. He is unliked by everyone on the island. His glasses are a symbol of the boy’s civilization. When his glasses are not broken all is well on the island. One side of his glasses cracked during an argument between Piggy and Jack. Jack started fighting with him during the meeting Ralph called. Jack was hurting piggy and his glasses flew off and broke. This symbolizes the beginning of the end of their democracy and order: “Ralph felt his lips twitch; he was angry with himself for giving way…. [Jack] He gave orders, sang, whistled, threw remarks at the silent Ralph….and still Ralph was silent” (Golding, 72-73). This quote is after the argument between Piggy and Jack. Ralph stood in silence, allowing Jack to take control using violence; even after Ralph allowed Jack to take charge- making orders, being loud and commanding. This is when Jack realizes he has control, he can do what he prefers and Ralph- the leader- will just allow it. Their government becomes worse when the island separates into two different tribes- Jack’s tribe and Ralph’s tribe. By then no one was listening to each other. In the middle of one night, Jack and his tribe crossed the line. They entered into Ralph’s territory and stole Piggy’s glasses. This symbolizes the end to all democracy on the island since when Jack stole Piggy’s glasses he also broke them: “He made stabbing motions with his spear. From his left hand dangled Piggy’s broken glasses” (Golding, 168). Piggy’s glasses are symbolic to knowledge and structure; now that they are broken the “paradise” island they call home will be destroyed by the evil within man. Golding allows the reader to know that “things do not always look like what they seem”. In this case the “paradise” island is not a paradise but an island of that inherits evil when the plane crashed.

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Man without rules to follow become uncivilized savages. The huts one the beach were to provide shelter from any natural disasters but people started to become comatose in the sense that they become lazy and do not participate in events such as building huts to protect them during the night and the rain. Painted faces allowed the hunters to become and live in a fantasy- they acted like someone new. The murdering of the mother sow is the full transformation if all the savages into the uncivilized humans that lost their sense of respect of life, their morals; they released their inner “beast”. Man need guidelines to follow, they need rules to abide by so that a structural society could be formed and the “beast” inside man could be hidden from society allowing everything to be a sanctuary of peace and everyone to be content with life and each other.


Text source:

*Golding, William, Lord of the Flies, 1954, New York, New York, Pedigree.


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