Essay, Research Paper: Lord Of The Flies By William Golding

Literature: Lord of The Flies

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In Wiliiam Golding's book The Lord of the Flies, two running themes are
innocence and the loss of it and the fear of the unknown. Another way to
describe the fear of the unknown could be man ultimately reverting back to an
evil and primitive nature. The cycle of man's rise to power and his inevitable
fall from grace is an important point that book proves again and again. Lord Of
The Flies symbolizes this fall in different manners, ranging from the
illustration of the mentality of actual primitive man to the reflections of a
corrupt seaman in purgatory. The novel is the story of a group of boys of
different backgrounds who are marooned on an unknown island when their plane
crashes. As the boys try to organize and formulate a plan to get rescued, they
begin to separate and as a result of the dissension a band of savage tribal
hunters is formed. Eventually the stranded boys almost entirely shake off
civilized behavior. When the confusion finally leads to a manhunt for Ralph, it
shows that the boys have backpedaled and shown the underlying savage side
existent in all humans, despite the strong sense of British character and
civility that has been instilled in the youth throughout their lives. The novel
shows the reader how easy it is to revert back to the evil nature inherent in
man. If a group of well-conditioned school boys can ultimately wind up
committing various extreme travesties, one can imagine what adults, leaders of
society, are capable of doing under the pressures of trying to maintain world
relations. In the novel, Simon is a peaceful lad who tries to show the boys that
there is no monster on the island except the fears that the boys have. Simon
tries to state the truth that there is a beast, but "it's only us" (Golding
11). When he makes this revelation, he doesn't know what to really make of it.
Later in the story, the savage hunters are chasing a pig. Once they kill the
pig, they put its head on a stick and Simon experiences an epiphany in which he
understands more about the beast. After Simon discovers what the boys think the
beast is he rushes to the campfire to tell the boys of his discovery. As Simon
comes to the campfire he is hit in the side with a spear, his prophecy rejected
and the word he wished to spread ignored. Simon falls to the ground dead and is
described as beautiful and pure. Simon faced his loss of innocence abruptly when
he was stabbed repeatedly. His loss of innocence is a big realization for some
of the other boys an the loss of thier innocence. William Golding discusses
man's capacity for fear and cowardice. In the novel, the boys on the island
first encounter a natural fear of being stranded on an uncharted island without
the counsel of adults. Once the boys begin to organize and begin to feel more
adult-like themselves, the fear of monsters takes over. It is understandable
that boys ranging in ages from toddlers to young teenagers would have fears of
monsters, especially when it is taken into consideration that the children are
stranded on the island. The author wishes to show, however, that fear is an
emotion that is instinctive and active in humans from the very beginnings of
their lives. This revelation uncovers another weakness in man, supporting the
idea or belief that man is savage at the very core of his existence. As the boys
fear the unknown more more, a savage side prevails over thier better. An example
would be toward the end of the book when Jack sacrifices everyones chance for
survival on the island to try and kill Ralph. The author uses these instincts to
prove the point that any type of uncontrolled fear contributes to man's
instability and will ultimately lead to his demise spiritually and perhaps even
physically. Man grows more savage at heart as he evolves because of his
cowardice and his quest for power. The novel proves this by throwing together
opposing forces into a situation that dowses them with power struggles and
frightening situations. By comparing mankind in general to Biblical characters
in similar scenarios, the novel provides images of the darker side of man. This
darker side of man's nature inevitably wins and man is proven to be a pathetic
race that refuses to accept responsibility for its shortcomings.
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