Lord of the Flies
Natural Settings in “Lord of the Flies”
Natural occurrences are often portrayed in literature as accurate reflections of mankind’s actions. In William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, the weather patterns frequently correspond to the happenings on the island. Upon the arrival of the schoolboys, the island is plagued by destruction caused by their irresponsible actions. On various other occasions, the weather predicts coming incidents, including death and rescue. Natural occurrences often serve as visual representations of how the boys feel. However, the first evident connection between the boys and the natural setting is the destruction that the characters inflict on the island.
The instant the boys arrive, they immediately disturb the bliss on the island and begin to destroy the natural and pristine setting. Upon the children’s arrival, they create “the scar” which is the location where the plane crashed. This event is the first form of damage they inflict on the island. Shortly after their arrival the boys begin to adapt to their surroundings; Ralph creates the idea of a signal fire, which the boys quickly agree to. Despite the good sense behind this new feature, their placement of it was thoughtless. This lack of judgement leads to the first forest fire: “Beneath the dark canopy of leaves and smoke the fire laid hold on the forest and began to gnaw. Acres of black and yellow smoke rolled steadily toward the sea” (44). Because this idea was not well thought through, it contributed to the destruction of the island. And this was not the only occasion when fire caused havoc on an isolated location as a result of their actions. Later, the savage boys on the island are overpowered by the need to kill Ralph and almost kill themselves in the process. In the attempt to assassinate him, a forest is set on fire once again, but far more severely this time: “Now the fire was nearer; those volleying shots were great limbs, trunks even, bursting. The fools!” (198). The absent-minded decisions the boys have made have further pushed the island toward complete ruin. In addition to setting the fires, the boys also affect the well-being of the island through their shifts of attitude. The boys quickly become lazy and ignore the rules put in place in order to help maintain the purity of the land, leading them to contaminate the island with man-made waste: “We chose those rocks right along the bathing pool as a lavatory. That was sensible too.” (80). Specifically here, the younger characters are becoming careless of the rules, corrupting the cleanliness of the island with their own pollution.
The next key reason that will establish the connection between nature and the boys is the foreshadowing created by the depictions of weather. As the island is quickly established as a Utopian paradise, any change of weather is easy to notice, further showing the change of the proper school boys into savages. The first significant alteration in the weather involves the clouds forming above the land: “Over the island the buildup of clouds continued” (145). Due to the fact that the island sky is consistently clear, the clouds become more meaningful when presented in this scenario. The darkness that forms over the island enhances Simon’s terrible position, and the negative energy around him foreshadows more doom to come. During the final battle between the savages and Ralph, the sun appears once again, adding hope to the sense of doom within the situation: “He could see the sun-splashed ground over an area of perhaps fifty yards from where he lay, and as he watched, the sunlight in every patch blinked at him” (197). Since the sun is a symbolic representation of a hero and light symbolically represents hope, the shining of sunlight foreshadows the near rescue from the Navy officers.
The collective emotional state of the boys is also reflected by the natural settings on more than one occasion. At the time that the boys arrive, the setting is bright and beautiful: “The shore was fledged with palm trees. These stood or leaned or reclined against the light and their green feathers were a hundred feet up in the air” (9). When the boys enter this location, they become overjoyed with their new-found freedom and with the absence of adult authority. The overwhelming euphoria in this situation is expressed by the surroundings. Although the weather often reflects the optimism and joy in certain situations, it can have a negative association as well. When the boys kill Simon, the weather changes to mirror the savage action they have just completed: “Then the clouds opened and let down the rain like a waterfall. The water bounded from the mountain top, tore leaves and branches from the trees, poured like a cold shower” (153). The rain in this instant is used to encompass a variety of emotions. Sorrow, an impulse commonly associated with rain, is present in this situation due to the loss of an innocent child. The guilt in this scenario is only felt by those who have remained civilized; the rain symbolizes the overcoming rush of emotions perceived by those in grief. Yet violence is demonstrated by the savages in this scene as they attack Simon viciously: “At once the crowd surged after it, poured down the rock, leapt on to the beast, screamed, struck, bit, tore” (153). The description of the boys murdering Simon is represented by how violently the rain is striking the island, hence giving the same uncontrollable characteristic to both savage and civilized. As the physical deterioration of the island occurs, the mental deterioration of the boys is also occurring, further creating the connection between the settings and the characters.
Within Golding’s narrative, the connection between the young boys and natural setting is significant due to the effects that these two aspects of the narrative exert on one another. As the boys destroy their temporary home with reckless ideas, they are leaving a physical impact on the island that reflects their inner feelings. The environment not only parallels the past actions of the boys, but also predicts the boys’ future actions as well. Essentially, the weather and setting act as mirrors–and frighteningly lucid ones–for many of the children’s emotions.
Panopticon in Lord of the Flies
The Panopticon theory. Imagine there is a prison with no bars, no chains, no guards patrolling around, but there is a watchtower which can see into every cell. It has one-way glass so no one can see in, and only zigzag pathways to walk through. The prisoners can be watched at any time and don’t know whether they are or not. The theory is that in this prison, there will be no violence, rowdiness, or other such behavior. Instead, the prisoners police themselves in fear of being watched. This is seen in daily life when someone uses foul language around friends but as soon as they drive up to their house, the swearing stops. In William Golding’s, Lord of the Flies, a group of English boys survive a plane crash onto a deserted island with no adults surviving. While they were members of society, these kids were good citizens. After being on the island for a while, the boys become savages. When the boys first arrived at the island they were innocent and didn’t intend to hurt anyone. However, living with no real rules and no one to enforce them, the boys realized they could do whatever they wanted and not have any consequences. The boys had no fear of being watched so they lost their ability to police their actions. In William Golding’s, Lord of the Flies, the boys had no fear of being watched and no society to restrict their actions, the boys lost their ability to police their actions and did not police their savagery or avoid running around like the uncivilized while on the island. It is seen that on the island there is no civilization to keep the boys in check. Since there is no real civilization the boys lost the ability to police themselves. No civilization means no rules, and even though the boys made rules themselves there was no one on the island that could enforce them. The rules carried no real weight.
This is seen with most conch discussions. The first rule created is that one can only speak if they have the conch in these meetings. This law is first amended when Ralph decides he is chief, so he can speak whether he has the conch or not. If Ralph, the chief everyone looks up to, won’t abide by the rules who will? The rules are changed again when the others in the group, mainly Jack, decide that they won’t follow the conch rules either. The boys are all on the mountain after the first attempt to make a fire with Piggy’s specs. Jack becomes angry because he believes Piggy was useless during that attempt. Jack expresses his anger saying, “A fat lot you tried…you just sat” (Golding 42). After Simon defends him, Piggy wants to speak because he has the conch but, Jack changes the rules saying, “The conch doesn’t count on top of the mountain…so you shut up” (42). Jack has no real respect for the rules and this leads others to have the same view. The boys regularly break the rules made by the group and have no fear of consequences for their actions. This is illustrated in many instances and is clearly expressed when Jack lets the fire go out. Jack decides to go off and try to hunt a pig instead of tending to the fire and when a ship passed by the island, there was no smoke to alert them. Ralph had an argument with Jack about why he let the fire go out but all Ralph could say was, “All right. Light the fire” (72). Although Jack made a huge mistake and could have prevented all the savagery, there was not a real consequence for him.
Lastly on the island there was no real leader with real authority. There was a vote to elect a chief for the boys but when Ralph got elected he wielded no real power or authority. Ralph can’t give out consequences and people do not always follow what he says. Jack regularly challenges him and what he says. This can also be seen when he wants to build huts on the beach, at first all the boys worked together but eventually everyone left except for Ralph and Simon, who built the huts which would be beneficial for the whole group. Ralph expresses this to Jack saying, “I work all day with Simon…All the rest rushed off” (54). Since no one stayed to help but Simon it can be deduced that Ralph holds no real power. The boys on the island have no civilization, no rules, no consequences and no ability to police themselves. After living without civilization for a while, these boys become savages, kill people, and forget how British citizens behave. There are many instances where the boys lose their innocence in favor of savagery. Jack’s clan of hunters have already killed Piggy and Simon, and are preparing to hunt Ralph. Ralph was the strongest leader and opposed savagery, but when he was faced with death, even he lost his civilized mind when Ralph decided how he would attempt to survive his man-hunt, “He wondered if a pig would agree,” with him (197). Even Ralph couldn’t think like a regular human after being on the island for so long. After being deserted, the boys had no problem killing both Simon and Piggy and attempting to kill Ralph before the naval officer caught them. Furthermore, Jack and his tribe had no remorse when Piggy was slaughtered. Instead of feeling guilt Jack only says, “See? See? That’s what you’ll get! I meant that!” then, “Viciously, with full intention, he hurled his spear at Ralph,” (181). The boys lost sense of civility. They went from upstanding British children to being savages.
The beginning of this shift is when Jack paints his face and stalks pigs like a predator. The complete loss of civility comes when Roger is preparing to kill Ralph. He felt the need to kill Ralph and lost all morals when, “Roger sharpened a stick at both ends,” (190). This shows the final transformation where there is no going back. There are many points in the novel where it seems that the boys may still have civility however savagery still resides. Some believe that a panoptic idea is still present with the boys on the island but it was actually discarded. Others believe that Ralph was not corrupted by the society created on the island. Some suggest that there was still a shred of civility left in each of the boys. The idea of the Panopticon staying on the island with the boys is seen where Roger decided to bully Henry and gathered rocks to throw at him, “Roger gathered a handful of stones and began to throw them. Yet there was a space round Henry…into which he dare not throw,” (62). While this does show that early on Roger still does know what is right and wrong to do, but this is also the same Roger that later on will go on to push the rock on Piggy, “with a sense of delirious abandonment,” (180). The boys do seem to have a sense of right, wrong, and civility but these ideas are later replaced with savagery and hate. Ralph, however, seemed to be an incorruptible boy on the island. While this may seem true because he never gives into Jack and joins his clan. Ralph also never truly wants to hunt another. He is, however, corrupted with savagery at the end of the story when, “Ralph picked up his stick and prepared for battle,” (192). This is when Ralph gives in, realizing there is no more reason, no more civilization, and nothing to save him but his stick. Ralph knew that giving in to the savagery and fighting his way out was the only way to defend himself. This is the point savagery gets into his heart. It seems that somewhere deep down all the boys were still civilized and wanted to keep their civilization going. The thought is that no matter how bad the situation got the boys still had innocence in them. This is true early on but the last bit of civility on the island is lost when Piggy is killed. Not only was Piggy killed by the boulder but, “the conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist,” (181). The conch was the last sign of civilization left of the island. When the conch was destroyed civilization on the island ends.
In conclusion, William Golding’s Lord of the Flies portrayed a setting where a panoptic icon did not follow the boys from Britain to the deserted island, as a result the boys lost their ability to police themselves. Without a constant fear of being watched reminding people to do right, people can forget about civilization and live as savages. For this reason, some form of civilization is crucial for citizens to live in harmony. The boys in the novel serve as a microcosm of what life would be like if civilization collapsed. The world would fall apart just as it did on the deserted island. The loss of civilization lead to the loss of innocence within the boys. The loss of innocence also revealed the evil that was lying deep within them. Civilization is something humans can’t live without, it polices people while people police themselves. Without the constant watching eye that is civilization, the evil that lurks deep under the surface runs amuck. Lord of the Flies teaches the reader that no one can be trusted when stripped of their panoptic influence.
Golding & Nietzsche: Compared and Contrasted
Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher, and William Golding, an English author, lived and died in two seemingly separate worlds. They came from different time periods, places of origin, and had perceptions of humanity that draw no mass comparison. Golding, best known for his novel entitled Lord of the Flies, tells the story of a group of English schoolboys left on a deserted island all to their own devices. Conversely, Nietzsche is perhaps best known for his controversial aphorism proclaiming the “death of God”. However different they may be, with a closer look, we discover that Golding’s “Flies” really do fly over Nietzsche’s philosophies. Golding’s insights into humanity as presented in the characters and events of Lord of the Flies, parallel and contrast those of Nietzsche’s philosophies, including the Will to Power, master morality versus slave morality, and man’s strides towards the Übermensch. The first parallel found in Golding and Nietzsche’s perspectives on humanity is between the social structure on the island and Nietzsche’s concepts of master morality and slave morality. Nietzsche’s notion of a master morality and a slave morality is an attempt to explain human perception of right and wrong. Master morality is an attitude where “good” and “bad” are respectively replaced by “noble” and “contemptible”. In this way of thinking, the master chooses to leave behind traditional moral codes. They create their own morality. Conversely, in slave morality, slaves make villains out of the masters. This moral outlook values only that which is convenient and beneficial to the weak and powerless. Strong and independent individuals are considered evil.
In the context of the island, this conflicting set of moral outlooks mirrors the conflict that brews in their society. The most obvious example of master morality being put into practice is in Jack and his character development. Throughout the course of the novel, Jack evolves into this “master” persona. In the beginning, Jack is a schoolboy whose true primal urges are kept simmering under the surface. As his stay on the island progresses, the old restrictive forces of civilization are lost on him and he is liberated from expected codes of behavior. This liberation might be described by Nietzsche as the transition from a member of the “herd” to the “Übermensch”, or “overman”. This overman, as described by Nietzsche, is someone who is not restricted by slave morality. He, like Jack, is unburdened by various “Thou shalt’s” and is the creator of his own values. Nietzsche says, “the ladder on which [the overman] ascends and descends is tremendous; he has seen further, willed further, been capable further than any other human being” (760). In contrast, the rest of the boys, by Nietzsche’s standards, do not live fully actualized lives. They live within the bounds of their old values. Furthermore, for many of these boys, falling into a position of subservience seems a natural way of doing things. Jack, on the other hand, who goes on to create his own code of conduct, is unable to function under the control of someone else. This is where conflict on the island spawns. Because the followers of both moralities seek to impose their values onto each other, coexistence is impossible. This principle, concocted by Nietzsche, is reflected heavily throughout Golding’s novel.
A second parallel between Golding and Nietzsche’s insights presents itself in a close correlation between Jack and a major theme throughout Nietzsche’s writing. The primal nature of Jack’s character and his ascension to a position of power are a direct illustration of Nietzsche’s doctrine of the Will to Power. This concept is one that grounded Nietzsche’s entire world view. The idea, in essence, is that everything a living entity does is its will to power. Every action towards someone else is driven psychologically by a deep-down desire to exert one’s will over others. This presupposition stipulates that, in the context of Lord of the Flies, everything Jack does, he does to bring the other boys under his will in one way or another. Whether he was dominating the choirboys with a militaristic attitude, creating rules so that he could punish those who break them, or physically harming someone, Jack repeatedly exerts his will over what he perceives to be his and eventually gains a position of authority on the island. Jack’s tendency towards these behaviors becomes apparent when he loses the election as chief to Ralph.
In accordance to what Nietzsche might call his “master morality”, he is mortified and angered by this loss and begins to continually challenge Ralph’s authority and the symbols of civilization carried over on the island. Jack declares, “Bollocks to the rules! We’re strong- we hunt! If there’s a beast, we’ll hunt it down!” (Golding 100). As a true “master”, Jack creates his own values, and answers not to the established and restrictive code of conduct but to his own drives and impulses. Nietzsche states, “My idea is that every specific body strives to become master and to extend its force and to thrust back all that resists its extension” (636). Jack’s character development where we are introduced to an insecure, repressed schoolboy who lets go of his morals to become a fierce and powerful leader is the will to power put into practice to the nth degree. This correlation in thought proves that Golding and Nietzsche share a similar outlook on the type of person who naturally gravitates towards leadership, with these similarities come contrasts.
Firstly, although Golding and Nietzsche seem to agree on the notion that a charismatic, domineering personality like Jack would be naturally inclined towards an authoritative position, what Golding suggests by this turn of events and how Nietzsche would likely perceive it presents a vast difference in opinion. All higher civilizations, according to Nietzsche, arose from barbarians who preyed upon weaker, moral, and more peaceful societies around them. According to this notion, immorality is the hallmark of a healthy society in the sense that society does not exist for its own sake, but for the sake of the superior individual.
Nietzsche’s philosophy suggests that without a character like Jack exerting his will to power, a truly enlightened society on the island would never come to be, even if that “higher” society comes at the expense of a peaceful one. While Nietzsche may have looked upon someone like Jack in a position of power approvingly, Golding marks Jack’s rise to leadership as the onset of death and chaos. This is where Golding’s bias against Jack is shown. Once Jack is in power, the old symbols of society cease to be of importance. The conch is subsequently smashed and the glasses are broken. With the boys metaphorically blinded, Simon is viciously murdered and Piggy is crushed by a boulder. The four sparks of civilization that once promised peace and order are snuffed out. In contrast to how Nietzsche may see Jack, he is frequently referred to as a savage by Golding through the other boys. This difference in opinion between Golding and Nietzsche shows that their ideas surrounding power in society were not perfectly aligned.
Simon represents spirituality on the island in the sense that he has a connection with nature and a heightened perception of what goes on around him. He is the only one who seems to understand life on the island for what it really is. Simon recognizes that the beast is only a manifestation of the boy’s fear of the unknown, as he says, “…maybe it’s only us” (Golding 97). These visionary qualities that the other boys do not possess make him an outsider. Simon, unlike Ralph and Jack, can neither organize nor inspire awe in the rest of the boys. He is not a leader and imposes his will on no one. While Ralph led the group on the basis of logic and rationality, and Jack on the basis of fear and awe, Simon sank into the background altogether. His meek nature falls short of Nietzsche’s concept of the Übermensch, who “[ascends] to the rank of the highest type… the type of man that is strong and sure of life” (Nietzsche 786). Simon is far from Nietzsche’s overman. Although Simon is illustrated by Golding as a kind of mystic who is the only one able to see the truth, he is unable to effectively communicate these truths to the other boys.
Nietzsche has asserted that it is not enough to simply prove something, and that “one also has to seduce or elevate people to it. That is why the man of knowledge should learn to speak his wisdom” (330). Simon, although presented by Golding as the only real seer on the island, would not likely be Nietzsche’s idea of the ideal man. This is another example of how their insights into humanity differ slightly. At a first glance, it may seem obscure to compare Golding to Nietzsche. Although their works differed vastly, even the smallest of investigations into their insights yields many similarities. When it comes to their perceptions of human nature, they seem to share many common ideas and messages. Although both men have passed away, the messages conveyed through their work have lived on. A lasting legacy is something both Golding and Nietzsche left behind. Above all else, they have that in common.
Killer Savagery in “Lord of the Flies”
Civilization, at its core, was created to suppress barbaric instinct. However, in extreme circumstances, it is possible for instinct to prevail over civility. William Golding’s timeless Lord of the Flies is a prime example of instinct overpowering civility, along with many other important themes and ideas. Savagery and darkness are two significant motifs that reoccur in the book, both of which supply evidence to the theme of the novel that the nature of mankind is savage and dark at its core.
The motif of savagery beings to operate early on in the novel with the intent to disparage civility. Towards the beginning of the book, the boys have the sensible idea of building a signal fire in order to alert any ships in the area. However, this civil idea quickly turns savage, as fire quickly engulfs the entire forest, ultimately killing one of the littluns. The boys are essentially left with no control over the fire: “Small flames stirred at the trunk of a tree and crawled away through leaves and brushwood, dividing and increasing. One patch touched a tree trunk and scrambled up like a bright squirrel” (Golding 44). The author compares the fire to a “squirrel,” animalistic by nature, with no sense of human order controlling it, thus operating in a very savage fashion. The passage continues: “the squirrel leapt on the wings of the wind and clung to another standing tree, eating downwards… Beneath the capering boys a quarter of a mile square of forest was savage with smoke and flame” (44). The author continues with comparing the fire, the brainchild of the boys, to an animal, further symbolizing the beginning of the transition of the boys from civilized humans to barbaric animals. Additionally, the author depicts the immense fire with a sense of confusion and chaos, progressing the idea of this “savage” fire. This fire is a landmark event in the novel. Before the fire, the boys try to maintain civility, thus preventing savagery, with the election of a leader and the use of the conch. However, the fire marks the transition in the novel where most of the boys, excluding Piggy and Simon, embrace their savage roots and ignore civility as a whole. The violent fire the boys have created even kills one of their own, yet, still only a few kids continue to make active attempts to try to remain civilized; the others begin to buy into the savage and uncivilized lifestyle because it is human nature to do so.
As the novel progresses, the boys become increasingly savage in nature, destroying their innocence, and providing evidence for the theme. Throughout the novel, Simon is seen to be a very innocent character with a rare sense of morality on the island. He is even considered by some to be the Christ-like figure of the novel due to the biblical parallels in his “sacrificial” death and his deep connection with nature and the island. Yet, with Jack as their leader, the boys descend upon Simon like a piece of meat, with savagery in their hearts, ultimately murdering him: “Simon was crying out something about a dead man on a hill. Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood Do him in! The beast [Simon] was on its knees in the center, its arms folded over its face… At once the crowd surged after it, poured down the rock, leapt onto the beast, screamed, struck, bit, tore” (153). Simon’s death is a sacrifice that reveals the true savage nature of these boys, and of mankind as a whole. The boys project their own evil and experience onto Simon by believing him, although pure at heart, to be the beast, which causes them to “tear him” to shreds with their own bare hands. This act speaks akin to the power of savagery. These boys, originally wealthy and proper English boys, in just a few weeks, have become savages. They are able to literally murder one of their own brethren based on a sheer insecurity. If proper and innocent English school children can revert to savagery so easily, to killing each other, it exemplifies that all humans are, in essence, savages by nature, and that civility is a mere tool to suppress savagery and instinct.
The author uses the motif of darkness to demonstrate that all humans are dark and “evil” at heart, which correlates to the theme of the book. When Jack and the chorus are first introduced in the story, a sense of darkness blunders around: “Within the diamond haze of the beach something dark was fumbling along. Ralph saw it first and watched till the intentness of his gaze drew all eyes that way. Then the creature stepped from mirage onto clear sand and they saw that the darkness was not all shadow, but mostly clothing” (19). The darkness, a symbol of evil and the unknown, foreshadows the bad intentions and mystery of the chorus, Jack in particular. Metaphorically, Jack and the chorus are living masses of evil and darkness, yet the others still flock to follow them later in the story. However, Jack and the chorus are not the only “dark” and evil beings on the island. In fact, the author believes all of mankind to be inherently evil, hence: “Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy” (202). In the closing moments of the book, Ralph realizes that all of the boys, including himself, have lost their innocence. Furthermore, Ralph becomes aware that all men and women are innately evil. “The darkness of man’s heart” plagues each and every individual. Ralph finally understands that all of the savagery and death that occurred on the island was due to the darkness of man’s soul, man’s true evil nature.
In William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, savagery and darkness are reoccurring motifs that provide textual evidence to the theme that mankind is barbaric and evil at its nature. Throughout the novel, savagery is shown to belittle civility, thus rendering it ineffective, revealing man’s true instinctual nature. Furthermore, the author illustrates that darkness is ever-present in the soul of all men and women, revealing man’s true evil nature. The Lord of the Flies shows that, given the chance, it is relatively easy for man to break the bonds of civilization that rule them, and develop into savage beasts.
Natural Evil in Lord of the Flies
In his work “Essay Concerning Human Understanding,” John Locke explains his belief that the human mind is what he called a “tabula rasa,” which is Latin for “clean sheet of paper.” It assumes that infants know nothing when they are born and human ideas and behaviors come from experience. Thomas Hobbes, on the other hand, believed that in man’s natural state, moral ideas do not exist and that humans intuitively desire to obtain as much power and “good” as they can, and there are no laws preventing them from harming or killing others to attain what they desire. Lord of the Flies is a Hobbesian novel, as the boys’ decline to evil appears inherent and natural. This decline is made evident through the boys’ move towards meat for food, their attraction to Jack as a leader, and the idea of a beast infecting them all.
First, the boys’ choice of food changes as the story progresses. At first the boys ate fruit and are happy about it. The fruit symbolizes civilization, as the boys do not want to kill any thing. Then Jack tries and fails to kill a sow. The hunt soon consumes him, and the idea of meat infects the other boys. Notice also how Jack hunts the sow, not the boar or piglets. By hunting the sow Jack ends coming of a new life and maybe even hopes. When Ralph tries to hunt he goes for a boar symbolizing that he still has hope and wishes for life. Jack uses the meat to gain power. After he kills the first one, he covers himself in the sow’s blood and reenacts the murder. When Robert jabbed a stick through the sow is can be equated to rape imagery because it was “right up her ass!” (135). No one teaches or tells Robert to run the sow though he does it on instinct. He mutilates the sow in somewhat of a sexual fashion definitely in an evil fashion, with no prompting whatsoever. The change from fruit to meat is seen as a change from peaceful and feminine fruit to savage and masculine murder.
Second, Jack is the cliché evil character. When we first meet Jack we are told he was “tall, thin, and bony; and his hair red beneath the black cap. His face was crumpled, and freckled, and ugly without silliness” (Golding 20). Red hair in literature often represents a type of adventurer or rebel, which Jack is. Jack is strong-willed and egomaniacal, but is a natural born leader. He was the head choir boy at his school after all. He even has a knife for no explained reason. His knife represents violence and danger but can also be seen as a practicality. On the other hand Ralph has fair hair which is a classic cliché for good and light. He has the conch, a symbol of order and peace. He is a representative of order, civilization, and productive leadership in the novel; therefore most of the boys follow him at first. Although the boys are first attracted to Ralph, they soon move onto Jack as his sense for adventure and brashness attract them.
When the idea of a beast is first put forth the boys laugh it off, but slowly the idea of an outside evil takes control. The idea spreads like wild fire; fear is everywhere. When Simon suggests that the beast is inside them, he is rejected and scoffed at. The boys would much rather have an imaginary face to put fear on then have to face themselves. After Jack and his hunters create the Lord of the Flies, Simon talks to it. The sow agrees with Simon, saying “Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill! You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you?” (143). The quotation suggests that inside every human is an evil idea just waiting to snap and take over. For example, after Simon dies Ralph snaps. Ralph was portrayed as the stereotypical perfect human, and the evil idea of revenge even gets to him. He is consumed by grief, by the realization that everything isn’t rainbows and butterflies. Even though Piggy directs Ralph’s anger onto the idea of rescue, it’s still there. The beast of anger is inside him and diverts his path of peace between Jack’s tribe and his into a yelling match and indirectly causes Piggy’s death. Along with Piggy, the conch also dies at the same time. Both symbols of order and the symbol of science and logic are gone at the same time. Evil trumps good at this moment all because the idea of a beast consumed the boys.
Lord of the Flies shows vividly that evil overtook boys when there was no outside influence of society, thereby reinforcing the Hobbesian theory that humans are born with an innate potential for evil and are not the “clean sheets” that Locke supposed.
Savagery versus Civilisation: Representations of Power in Lord of the Flies
Golding’s exploration of the human condition continues to be read, year after year, because it challenges the reader to consider notions that are fundamental to the human condition. Through a simple premise, Golding creates an environment in which readers are forced to confront the issues of power and authority. By stripping out every unnecessary distraction and reducing humanity to its simplest form, Golding accomplishes his task of opening the reader’s eyes to the flawed nature of humanity before they can put their guard up. We, as citizens of modern society, create defence mechanisms against the harsh and brutal nature of our species through our political ideologies, religious beliefs, and “justice” systems. When Golding takes away these defence mechanisms, the reader is confronted with the true nature of humanity, power, and authority. All of our current preconceptions and defences against human nature are replaced by symbols; democracy, and autocracy, the conch and the choir leader. As Golding utilises his array of literary devices to paint a picture of life without order, he effectively challenges the reader to enter the minds of the characters and consider how different we really are.A world without authority and order is a world foreign to us. We live our lives with rules and guidelines. Police, military, the government; we know these entities exist to provide us protection from something. We all think we know what that something is; but Golding challenges us, as the reader, to consider the possibility that authority is in place to protect us from ourselves; to protect us from, as Golding metaphorically puts it; the “darkness of man’s heart”. The character of Ralph, and his associated symbolic object “the conch”, are representative of authority and order; he is the personification of democracy. Golding highlights the distinction between unrestrained power which becomes autocracy, and power moderated by authority which manifests as democracy, by juxtaposing Jack and Ralph in their characterisation. Ralph is elected by the “toy of voting”, while Jack, in contrast, gains leadership through sheer power. The effects of unrestrained power are foreshadowed by the flames that “crept as a jaguar creeps” down their “irresistible course” making the forest “savage with smoke and flame”; a symbolic metaphor for Jack’s rise to power and the effects it has on him and the other characters. This metaphor is further supported by the events that precede it; Piggy’s glasses, the source of the power, are “snatched…off his face” by Jack, a character built on autocracy and abrasiveness, everything Ralph isn’t. Golding represents each characters associated notion with a companion object, a symbol of their primary characteristics. Ralph, the personification of authority possesses “the conch”, an object capable of assembling people by order. Jack, in contrast, carries a knife, an object that gives him the power to control life and death, and ultimately assemble people through power and fear. In furthering this pattern, other characters follow suit. Golding expresses the conundrum of leadership and intelligence this way, saying “what intelligence had been shown was traceable to Piggy while the most obvious leader was Jack”; an allusion to the idea that authority and power do not always come to those who are deserving or capable of handling it, to the contrary, Ralph realizes that “[he] can’t think…not like Piggy”. Ultimately, Golding explores the notion of authority, addressing the issues of a society without it, and effectively compares alternatives to authority as a power structure. In doing this, the he challenges the respondent to consider the effect of power in their own society, and the necessity of authority in moderating power. The notion of power is central to the human condition and has been throughout human history. The struggle for power has been the driving factor behind almost every war. Whether for power over land, wealth, or religion, power is recurrently at the centre of all the things we consider “savage” in a civilised society. Golding directly engages the reader in the power struggle by using symbolic characterisation to represent common structures of power. Jack is the originator of the chant, a key motif that becomes synonymous with the characters lust for power and their descent into savagery. As the story progresses, the chant changes form, but keeps the same pattern. The chant alludes to another theme; group-think and its relation to power. There’s a reason the term divide and conquer has become so common-place, it works all too often. The antithesis of divide and conquer is unite and conquer, and it could be argued this is what leads otherwise innocent boys to turn into savages. Group-think is a passage to dehumanization and loss of identity. Golding uses the imagery and symbolism of a “new face” to demonstrate this phenomenon. By the climax of the story, when all but Ralph have been “liberated from shame and self-consciousness” they are referred to, no longer by name or as boys, but now as “the savages”, effectively removing their identity. During the resolution, this changes to the “group of painted boys”, and “Percival Wemys Madison” is again referred to by name, as the illusion of power through anonymity is faded by the presence of civilised authority. In utilising this psychological phenomenon, Golding emphasises the point that power, un-moderated by authority and order, leads people to disregard the accountability of civilisation and become “savage”. The connection Golding makes between uncontrolled power, group-mentality, and moral devolution forces the reader to reflect upon the possibility that we are all capable of descending to the level of savages, given the right circumstances. The question of power versus authority is one that has affected humanity for millenniums. Golding asked the extended hypophoric question “Which is better–to have laws and agree, or to hunt and kill?” casting each side as a character in the story. As the story progresses, the answer to the question begins to align ever more obviously with that of the old adage “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. As absolute power gives way to impulsivity (letting the fire die out), then to savagery (staking a pigs head for no reason, and murdering Simon); order and authority slip away in turn. This triggers a rapid decline in civility and leads the characters to kill each other, run rampage, and eventually burn down the island. Golding makes an effective argument that humans are not innocent by nature and ultimately achieves this through his use of a wide variety of literary devices, effectively highlighting the flawed nature of humanity, and ultimately shaping the audience’s understanding not only of the notions explored in the text, but of themselves.
Lord of the Flies – ‘The Darkness of Man’s Heart’
Lord of the Flies delves into the subject of ‘the darkness of man’s heart’. It explores the primitivism and savagery that comes with the human nature through the various characters and language choices. William Golding uses the concept of ‘fear of the unknown’ to show how it creates apprehension amongst the boys which leads to their chaotic behaviour. He explores the result of the absence of authority and order within a society. Golding also uses the boy’s conception of the ‘beastie’ as a symbol of the ‘beast’ within us.
The theme of ‘fear of the unknown’ runs throughout the book and is represented through the boys’ fear of the beast and the island. Fear first starts to appear at nightfall, when the younger boys have appearances of monstrous creatures in their dreams. The boys start wondering if they were in fact not alone on the island and start doubting their safety. “Ralph’s right of course. There isn’t a snake-thing. But if there was a snake we’d hunt and kill it. We’re going to hunt pigs to get meat for everybody. And we’ll look for the snake too.” (p 48) In this quote, Jack’s repetition of the ‘snake’ highlights their terror in dealing with the beast. Jack suggests that the ideal approach is to kill the beast even though he has no knowledge of what the beast is or what it is capable of. This shows when faced with a possible threat, human’s natural instinct to eradicate what they are frightened of incapacitates their rational thinking. Jack uses this fear to gain power and defect the children to join his side where he promises meat and security. “Piggy and Ralph, under the threat of the sky, found themselves eager to take a place in this demented but partly secure society.” (p 187) Even the most rational characters in this novel felt willing to go against their morals and values to join Jack’s tribe because it assured the somewhat safety against the beast. The boys’ struggle against the beast results in Simon’s gruesome death which symbolises humanity’s incapability when confronted with apprehension. Humankind’s natural instinct to act impulsively in the face of fear makes them savage and unruly.
Humans are inherently evil when left to fend for themselves. Without rule or order within a society, they are destined to crumble. The boys in Lord of the Flies come from a world where their parents controlled and educated them. From the moment they arrive on the island, these boundaries are removed and instead the boys must decide for themselves what is judicious. They start off confined by the rules of the society that they were accustomed to. “His sandy hair, considerably longer than it had been when they dropped in, was lighter now; and his bare back was a mass of dark freckles and peeling sunburn. A sharpened stick about five feet long trailed from his right hand, and except for a pair of tattered shorts held up by his knife-belt he was naked.” (p 66-67) Golding uses Jack’s changing appearance as a metaphor for his diminishing humanity. Already we can see how the island is affecting Jack and turning him into a savage creature. The lack of an authoritative figure to reprimand the boys creates a state of anarchy and more opportunities for tyranny because of the absence of consequence. “Roger stooped, picked up a stone, aimed, and threw it at Henry— threw is to miss… Yet there was a space round Henry, perhaps six yards in diameter, into which he dare not throw. Here, invisible yet strong, was the taboo of the old life.” (p 62) Roger at first throws the rocks without the intention to harm because he still living by the rules of his past life. Further on in the novel, Roger rolls a boulder off the top of a mountain onto Piggy, killing him instantly, showing that Roger has changed from being a civilised boy who knows the limits to which he is restricted to, to someone who resorts to violence and has inclinations to kill and to harm. The growth of a harmless pebble into a lethal boulder shows Roger’s character development from an innocent boy into a murderous savage. From this, we can see that without civilisation and authority, humans become corrupt and act without consequence or empathy.
The beast plays a strong role in the novel because it symbolises the darkness residing within the boys, and within human nature. The boys fear in the beast advances alongside with their savagery. “What would a beast eat?” / “Pig.” / “We eat pig.” / “Piggy!” (p 104) Golding uses this line and the repetition of the word ‘pig’ to foreshadow the boys killing Piggy. The beast is a metaphor for the boys’ primitive nature. The beast begins as only the construction of the younger boys, but starts to develop and grow into the evil within them. “’Unless we get frightened of people.’ / A sound, half-laugh, half-jeer, rose among the seated boys.” (p 105) Piggy was the first to suggest that maybe the beast was not tangible and instead a manifestation of their own sinfulness and savagery. The boys immediately reject this idea and laugh mockingly at him. They have already been convinced that the beast is real and find it harder to grasp the fact that the beast could be only a figment of their own imagination. “What I mean is… Maybe it’s only us.” (p 111) Simon also suggests the inexistence of the beast. Golding uses Simon as a character who is a symbol of humanity and compassion. Simon has a strong understanding of what the beast really is, especially after his encounter with “the Lord of the Flies.” It is ironic that the only two virtuous characters, Piggy and Simon, are the ones who get murdered showing the true power of the beast. The beast embodies primitive human behaviour in their most natural state.
Ultimately, Lord of the Flies shows that humans are innately evil. Golding suggests that the ‘fear of the unknown’ allow the boys to succumb to foolishness and irrationality. The absence of the rules of civilisation in Lord of the Flies causes chaos and disorder amongst the boys. Without the order of daily life, humans run wild. It reflects upon the darkness in human nature, which is apparent with the symbolism of the beast. Lord of the Flies presents an unnerving portrayal of the true darkness within man’s heart.
Piggy: Brains, Wisdom, and the Human Spirit
In the introduction to William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies, E.M Forster describes Piggy as not only “the brains of the party” but also “the wisdom of the heart” and “the human spirit.” This description of Piggy becomes more accurate as the novel increases and the distinction between savagery and civilization becomes clearer. At the beginning of the novel, Piggy may seem to the boys on the island a brainy nuisance; yet as Jack and his tribe rapidly dominate the island with their brute force Piggy’s insight, experience as an outcast, and staunch belief in ethical ideals keep him from falling into the lure of savagery. When Ralph weeps at the end of the novel, he clearly sees how wisdom, soul, and sacrifice have made Piggy a true friend.Piggy, most commonly acknowledged as Ralph’s subordinate, brims with intelligence that is both beneficial and harmful to himself; while his specs, symbolizing brains, clarity, and his physical limitations, prove to be a supportive pillar of survival on the island. His responsibility and need for structure can be seen when he says to Ralph, “How can you expect to be rescued if you don’t put first things first and act proper?”(45). Chastising Ralph and Jack for running up the mountain “howling and screaming…like a pack of kids” at Ralph’s suggestion of a signal fire, Piggy says that the first thing the boys should have done was build shelters by the beach. (45). Already at the beginning of the novel, Piggy is separated from the group in the sense that he is the only one to act maturely and think of a logical plan of action, while Ralph and the others run impulsively at the idea of fun. This costs him acceptance from the other boys, but is a lesson Golding wants his readers to abide by. It is an emphasis on the importance of nonconformity even at the price of sacrificing acceptance; it is human nature to want others’ approval, but conforming to a mad society like Jack’s can lead to fatal consequences. According to one interpretation of the novel’s allegory, Piggy is symbolic of technology. This is seen when Piggy, always thinking of scientific possibilities, exclaims, “If only we could make a radio—or a boat!”(162). Although the thought of scientific advancement on a deserted island is clever, perhaps Piggy subconsciously wants to recreate a small piece of his old world on this island because of his longing for home. When Jack and his tribe come to steal Piggy’s specs for their own fire on Castle Rock, Jack steals Piggy’s intelligence and uses it against him, leaving Piggy bereft of his clarity and intellect. Without his glasses, Piggy becomes blind— his physical and mental capabilities are stolen from him forever by the savage Jack. Piggy’s intelligence and experience as an outcast both contribute to the wisdom that helps him retain his civility while understanding the cruelty possessed by Jack from an objective standpoint. Through the idea of a name list, Piggy implicitly states that without individual identity, the boys will become nameless faces and civility on the island will deteriorate into savagery. Again, Golding’s message about nonconformity is clear. One must value the individual in order to retain a diverse and functioning society. While Piggy is unable to gather all of the boy’s names into a list, a little ‘un dies in the fire and all Ralph and Piggy can remember was “that little ‘un—him with the mark on his face” because without a name, he is unidentifiable. (46). Piggy’s specs, symbolizing clarity, allow him to foresee the island’s ultimate fate. When he says, “Won’t we look funny if the whole island burns up?”, Piggy subconsciously predicts that if responsibility fails to supersede fun, then the island will go up in smoke as it does when Jack sets the island on fire to force Ralph out of his hiding position. Even from the beginning, the boys dislike Piggy for his “fat, and ass-mar, and specs, and a certain disinclination for manual labor” (65). They label him an outsider, allowing their contempt for Piggy to turn into full fledged hatred as the boys rapidly turn savage. Piggy’s foresight is a symbol of his wisdom because he can sense danger. On the night of Simon’s death, Ralph and Piggy follow Jack’s tribe to Castle Rock for meat. When Jack and his tribe begin dancing wildly, Piggy warns Ralph, “Come away. There’s going to be trouble” (151). Here, Piggy tries to caution Ralph not to get involved with Jack’s chanting and barbaric behavior. Even Ralph, who is labeled an outsider by the end of the novel, cannot see that the beast is something intangible. Yet Piggy sees this when Ralph asks him, “What makes things break up like they do?”(140). Piggy, thinking deeply, responds, “Jack”(140). Piggy notices that “a taboo was evolving round that word” and Jack was slowly becoming a symbol of the beast.(140). Piggy attributes the destruction of morality and order on the island to the insidious way Jack lures the boys into his tribe with hunting so that Ralph’s civilized government will be abandoned in favor of Jack’s totalitarianism. Deeper and more inherent than intelligence, wisdom is what keeps Piggy cautious of the future so that his actions will not be as easily influenced by Jack’s savage behavior.The human spirit can be described as Piggy’s inner voice, urging him to fight for his beliefs no matter how many times he is belittled by Jack and his tribe. When Jack steals Piggy’s specs for his fire on Castle Rock, Piggy implores him, “I don’t ask for my glasses back, not as a favor. I don’t ask you to be a sport, I’ll say— not because you’re strong, but because what’s right’s right”(171). Although Jack deprives him of reason, Piggy retains a strong sense of morality from the structured lifestyle he was raised in. Piggy cannot comprehend why anyone would breach the tacit laws of ethical behavior; because he has always led a sheltered and wholesome life, he is naturally drawn to do what is right. Piggy also fights for his ideals, passionately unleashing his anger and confusion only to be ignored by the deaf ears of Jack’s tribe. Gaining confidence from the conch in his hands, Piggy bravely reproaches the boys by saying, “which is better—to be a pack of painted Indians like you are, or to be sensible like Ralph is? …Which is better—to have rules and agree, or to hunt and kill?”(180). Piggy believes in these principles like a zealot, and eventually dies because of them. Rather than conform to Jack’s tribe, Piggy remains true to Ralph; and although he suffers a ruthless death, Piggy dies with the knowledge that he had stayed true to his morality while fighting for the ideals he believed in fervently.Piggy’s brains, wisdom, and spirit endear him to Ralph by the end of the novel. As a wash of realization overcomes Ralph, he weeps for “the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy”(202). Golding’s portrayal of Piggy as an unloved outcast emphasizes the lesson of resisting the temptation of a mad society, even if it involves sacrificing acceptance and love. Although Piggy is never heard by Jack and the other boys, he surpassed them by refusing to conform. Piggy deserved the description, “brains of the party, wisdom of the heart, and the human spirit” because he alone remained true to himself and the civility in which he was brought up.
Two Faces of Man
William Golding was inspired by his experiences in the Royal Navy during World War II when he wrote Lord of the Flies (Beetz 2514). Golding has said this about his book:The theme is an attempt to trace the defeats of society back to the defects of human nature. The moral is that the shape of society must depend on the ethical nature of the individual and not on any political system however apparently logical or respectable. The whole book is symbolic in nature except the rescue in the end where adult life appears, dignified and capable, but in reality enmeshed in the same evil as the symbolic life of the children on the island. (Epstein 204)In the novel he displays the two different personalities that mankind possesses, one civilized, the other primitive. Golding uses the setting, characters, and symbolism in Lord of the Flies to give the reader a detailed description of these two faces of man.The story’s setting is essential for the evolution of both sides of man. When an airplane carrying a bunch of school boys crashes on an island, only the children survive. The island the children find themselves on is roughly boat-shaped (Golding 29; ch. 1). It is ironic that the children are stuck on an island shaped like the thing that could save them (a boat). Despite this irony, they are trapped. They are surrounded by ocean and no one knows where they are. The boys, isolated from society, must now create their own.The children soon realize that there are, “No grownups!” (Golding 8; ch. 1) This means that the boys must fend for themselves until they are rescued. There are no parents or adults to give the boys rules or punish them if they do wrong, so they must learn how to control and govern themselves. Their first attempt mimics the society that they have grown up with, that of a civilized democracy (Michel-Michot 175). A conch shell is used to call assemblies and decisions are voted on (Golding 17, ch. 1). The fire that they try to keep going on the top of the mountain is a symbol of their civilized society because it represents their hopes for rescue and a return to their ordinary lives (Michel-Michot 175).Unfortunately, the children soon grow tired of this civilized life. They want to have fun and quickly lose interest in whatever job they are doing. Ralph states the problem when he says to the group of children, ” We have lots of assemblies. Everybody enjoys speaking and being together. We decide things. But they don’t get done. We were going to have water brought from the stream and left in those coconut shells under fresh leaves. So it was for a few days. Now there’s no water. The shells are dry. People drink from the river.’ ” (Golding 79; ch. 5) All of their resolutions soon degrade and fall apart. The society gives into its more primitive side and now only concerns itself with having fun. Hunting, which originally was only a practice of getting food so that they could survive until they were rescued becomes all important. (Michel-Michot 175-6) All of the children’s fears become condensed into a monster that they fear and awe. They make sacrifices to “the beast” to appease it and keep themselves safe (Golding 137; ch. 8). In the end, their grand society becomes no better than a bunch of savages in this lush island setting.The island is abundant in resources, with lots of fresh water and plentiful fruit ripe for the picking. “He walked with an accustomed tread through the acres of fruit trees, where the least energetic could find an easy if unsatisfying meal.” (Golding 56; ch. 3) Although rich with nature’s splendor, the children are sorely lacking in the technology with which they have become accustomed to. They do not even have matches. If not for Piggy’s “specs”, they would not be able to create fire (Golding 42; ch. 2). This lack of technology both hinders their attempts to be civilized and hastens their progression towards savagery.The story’s characters serve as archetypes that display the struggle between man’s quest for civilization and his urges to become primitive. The most important characters in the story are Ralph, Piggy, Simon, and Jack. Roger, Sam, and Eric, although not as important as the others, also serve to add color to the story and lend to its progression towards savagery.Ralph is the story’s protagonist. He is a natural leader because of his superior height, strength, and good looks (Rosenfield 172). He is also the democratic man, the keeper of the civilized ways (Spitz 173). He was chosen chief by a vote from his peers and strives to maintain order, to “rule through persuasion, with the consent of the governed.” (Spitz 173) Ralph is “every man” and his body serves as the battle ground between reason and instinct. (Rosenfield 172) Ralph loses this battle and eventually starts to regress to a primitive state. This is shown near the end of the story when he has trouble reasoning things through. “Then, at the moment of greatest passion and conviction, that curtain flapped in his head and he forgot what he had been driving at.” (Golding 163; ch. 10) Ralph’s regression continues until he is no more than an animal, who uses its most basic instincts to escape the fire which threatens to burn the island down and the rest of the tribe who want to hunt him down (Babb 11). “He [Ralph] shot forward, burst the thicket, was in the open, screaming, snarling, bloody.” (Golding 199; ch. 12)Piggy is fat, nearly blind, and asthmatic. He also embodies reason and intelligence. Piggy represents rationality, logic, science, and the ways of thinking that a civilized society depends on (Taylor 170). He has a strong urge to distinguish and to order until reduced to a manageable system (Magill 826). He insists on collecting the names of all the stranded children, using the conch to call assemblies, and having meetings (Babb 11). Piggy is the brains behind Ralph’s leadership. Piggy is the first one who suggests using the conch Ralph found to assemble the others (Golding 17; ch. 1). He is the one who brings Ralph back to the topic at hand near the end of the novel when Ralph’s reasoning starts to deteriorate under the constant pressure of trying to remain civilized (Babb 22). He assumes that civilized society is all powerful because it seems more reasonable for people to co-exist with rules and mutual respect, rather than obedience and terror (Beetz 2515). ” Which is better- to have rules and agree, or to hunt and kill?’ ” (Golding 180; ch. 11)Simon is the Christ figure of the book and the voice of revelation (Spitz 172). He consistently reveals a kindness that no one else seems to possess whether it be through his comforting of Ralph, offering of food to Piggy , or getting fruits for the younger children (Babb 24). He is the most self-conscious of the boys, and prefers to withdraw into solitude for lonely mediations (Magill 827). He is the first to suggest that there is no beast, that, ” . . . maybe it’s only us.’ ” (Golding 89; ch. 5). Simon seeks to confront his fears and comes to accept the evil that exists both in him and in everyone (Babb 30-1). He does this by speaking to a pig head that was put on a stick and climbing the mountain to find that the “beast” is really just a dead pilot (Golding 137; ch. 8). Simon is mistaken for the “beast” when he comes back to explain to the rest of the children what he found and is ironically killed by those he wished to save (Golding 152; ch. 9).Jack is the novel’s antagonist. He is the opposite of Ralph, distinguished by his ugliness and red hair (Rosenfield 172). He loses both elections when voting on who will become the leader of the group and is obsessed with power. This is why he is so intent on hunting, it is a way of imposing his will upon a living thing (Babb 9).Jack’s rise to power first begins when the younger children’s fears start to distort their surroundings: twigs become creepers, shadows become demons, etc. (Rosenfield 173). Jack uses this fear to become the younger children’s protector. If they do what he says, the “beast” cannot get them. Jack soon decides to form his own society. It becomes based on this kind of ceremonial obeisance to himself and is shown by those sacrifices by which the tribe creates its beast, thereby sanctifying the fear and irrationality that govern the children’s actions (Babb 21).Roger is Jack’s henchman. He has a sadistic soul and delights in tormenting others. An example of this is when he throws stones at a younger child when nobody is watching (Golding 62; ch. 4). As the children’s society degrades, Roger slowly loses the inhibitions that society has imposed upon him. Where once he was afraid to hit a child with a stone when no one was around, he soon becomes a deadly enforcer. He kills Piggy by pushing a bolder on him while in plain sight of everyone and also tortures Sam and Eric until they tell him where Ralph is hiding (Golding 180-1; ch. 11). Roger gladly enacts the evil deeds that help the story progress in its downward spiral towards savagery.Sam and Eric are identical twins in this novel. In the beginning, they are two separate beings, but as time goes on they merge into one being, “Samneric” (Golding 182; ch. 11). They represent the average man of good who will stick to his principles for as long as possible, but will eventually join the majority when it becomes too hard to stand alone on his own ground (Michel-Michot 177). This is shown by their fierce loyalty to Ralph, even when almost all of the other kids have abandoned Ralph’s group for Jack’s fun tribe. Only after being tortured do they agree to become part of Jack’s tribe (Golding 188; ch. 12).The symbolism in the story lends a deeper meaning to the chain of events that eventually unfurl. Most of these symbols can be divided into two groups: symbols that represent civilization and order, and symbols that represent chaos and savagery.The conch used to regulate the assemblies is the symbol of democracy and free speech. Although adequate when used to gather the boys together, it holds little power when confronted with violence and tyranny (Michel-Michot 176). This is shown to us when Roger destroys the conch with the same bolder that kills Piggy, effectively destroying the last remnants of Ralph’s civilized society (Golding 181; ch. 11).The signal fire, and Piggy’s glasses (which are used to light the fires), are also symbols of civilization. The signal fire represents rescue, but it is also a distant end that will only be reached at the price of an everyday effort (Michel-Michot 176). Like most things in our society, culture and education to name a few, it is a duty that must be done for no immediate end (Michel-Michot 176). Piggy’s glasses serve as a marker for their society’s progression into darkness. As Piggy loses his sight, so too, do the boys lose sight of their original goal: rescue (Rosenfield 173). One of the lenses of Piggy’s glasses breaks after a fight with Jack. The fight started when Jack let the signal fire die out while a ship was passing, thereby costing them a chance at being rescued (Golding 71; ch. 4).Golding names the pig head that Jack puts on a stick as a sacrifice for the beast, “Lord of the Flies” (Golding 138; ch. 8). It symbolizes the anarchic, amoral, driving force of Jack’s tribe (Epstein 205). Only Simon knows that the reason why the beast cannot be found outside is because the beast lives inside all of us. We all have a little of the Lord of the Flies in us.The “beast” becomes a sign of the children’s unrest (Michel-Michot 175). It goes from being a nightmare in some little boy’s dreams in the beginning of the novel to something very real that requires sacrifice if one is to be safe (Golding 37; ch. 2). The beast represents the children’s superstitious fears which become so overpowering that it eventually takes control of the situation (Michel-Michot 175).The mask that Jack wears takes away his self-consciousness by striping him of his individuality. When the rest of the group begins to wear masks, they cease being individuals and become a mob. By destroying their personal identity they lose their personal responsibility (Magill 827). “He had even glimpsed one of them, striped brown, black, and red, and had judged that it was Bill. But really, thought Ralph, this was not Bill. This was a savage whose image refused to blend with that ancient picture of a boy in shorts and shirt.” (Golding 183; ch. 12) Even to Ralph, who once knew him, Bill has become something completely different once he dons the mask and makeup.The sequence of killing can be used to track the children’s turning from innocence to savagery (Babb 14-5). First, the boy with the birth mark accidentally dies in a fire (Golding 46; ch. 2). Then, Simon dies in a violent act committed by a group of people (Golding 152-3; ch. 9). Piggy is killed by an individual (Roger) quite deliberately (Golding 180-1; ch. 11). Finally the change is complete and the children have become complete savages. They choose to hunt Ralph down near the end of the novel, knowing full well that the hunt will end in murder and sacrifice (Babb 14-5).William Golding uses Lord of the Flies to teach us that the most dangerous enemy is not the evil found without, but the evil found within each of us. At the end of the novel, Ralph and the other boys realize the horror of their actions: The tears began to flow and sobs shook him. He [Ralph] gave himself up to them for the first time on the island; great shuddering spasms of grief that seemed to wrench his whole body. His voice rose under the black smoke before the burning wreckage of the island; and infected by that emotion, the other little boys began to shake and sob too. And in the middle of them, with filthy body, matted hair, and unwiped nose, Ralph wept for the end of innocence . . . (Golding 202; ch. 12). Unfortunately, the naval officer who rescues them has yet to learn the lesson these boys have. He will take them back to the “civilized” world, which happens to be engulfed in war at the moment. Ironically, the children have survived one primitive and infantile morality system only to be thrown back into a bigger one, World War II (Rosenfield 175). Evil will always be a part of man’s nature. Golding’s novel was meant to show us that this evil must be accepted, not ignored, or grave will the consequences be.Works CitedGolding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Berkley, 1954.Babb, Howard S. The Novels of William Golding. N.p.: Ohio State UP, 1970.Beetz, Kirk H., ed. Beacham’s Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction. Vol. 5. Osprey: n.p., 1996. 5 vols.Epstein, E. L. Afterword. Lord of the Flies. By William Golding. New York: Berkley, 1954. Gunton, Sharon R., ed. Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 17. Detroit: Gale, 1981. 68 vols.Magill, Frank N., ed. Masterplots. Vol. 2. Englewood Cliffs: n.p., 1949. 3 vols.Matuz, Roger., ed. Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 58. Detroit: Gale, 1990. 68 vols.Michel-Michot, Paulette. “The Myth of Innocence,”. Matuz 175-7.Rosenfield, Claire. “Men of a Smaller Growth’: A Psychological Analysis of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies.” Matuz 172-5.Spitz, David. “Power and Authority: An Interpretation of Golding’s Lord of the Flies,”. Gunton 172-3.Taylor, Harry H. “The Case against William Golding’s Simon-Piggy.” Gunton 170-1.