William Golding’s Theory: Stages Of Civilization In “Lord Of The Flies”

June 23, 2022 by Essay Writer

William Golding has published many books about humanity and wisdom. He has an important view on this topic because of the many life experiences he has had. In the book, Lord of the Flies, he talks about how the realism of cultivating and living on a stranded island can change tribal boys for the better or worse. Golding is very creative in his literature because of his ability to mix science and religion. In the book, Golding shows how the character’s, humanity decline throughout the story. He explains this in two stages. The first stage is during the first half of the book where the boys see the island as a paradise. The second stage which is the second part of the book shows the drastic effect that the island had on the boys. Golding uses these stages to show that mankind will cause its own self-destruction. The following paragraphs will analyze the stages of civilization, but first a look at William Golding. William Golding was in the military and fought in World War II. During his time in the military, he was in the invasion of Normandy. He said it changed the way he lives, thinks, and sleeps. During his time in Europe, he came across a concentration camp. He described it as emotional and straining to believe the things he saw with his own two eyes. His life changed from an Oxford graduate to a military man with up-close experience with death. He developed a mindset that even the nicest people can become evil. Golding put this theory into a novel called Lord of the flies. It is about a group of boys that are stranded on an island. Seems beautiful at first, but it quickly changes the boys and they all become insane. In one instance where he uses this theory, Ralph, the tribe leader, and Piggy, his lieutenant have disputes that lead up to the death of Simon. Simon’s death explains Golding’s theory because of how good Piggy was as a person and wouldn’t do anything wrong. Piggy changes how he lives to stay alive and doesn’t care what other people think later on in the book. Piggy’s priority was to be nice but changed throughout the stages. The first stage is calm. Calm can be described as zero problems. Happens at the beginning of the Lord of the Flies when the boys of the island think being stranded will be good, delightful, and easy. “Here, at last, was the imagined but never fully realized place leaping into real life. Ralph’s lips parted in a delighted smile and Piggy, taking this smile to himself as a mark of recognition, laughed with pleasure’’. In this text Ralph feels awoken peacefully, he is very glad that he can be free from nuclear war. In addition, Golding makes the setting of the book tropical and comfortable at the beginning of the book, which brings good morale for the tribe. Humans have a more developed thinking system than other animals. But if humans are treated like animals people will become animals. He also makes it clear that the conch shell symbolizes the status within the tribe. For example, when some in the tribe form their own tribe it broke into pieces. That would soon be the downfall of the tribe. The second stage is insanity. This is the change in the state of mind that every boy is developing. Everyone becomes more insane every day. Violence became a problem, after the killing of the pig ritual. The tribe chants “Kill the pig, slit her throat, Spill her blood”. The behavior at this time shows a change towards violence in all the boy’s humanity. The boys are becoming savage animals. When Jack kills the pig he acts less civilized and more like a beast. He becomes the new leader of the revolting boys that are done being under Ralph. Ralph at the beginning of the book acts like a good friend to Jack. But later he knew that Jack was emotionally hurt when he was not voted to be chief of the tribe. When Jack found out Ralph knew, they became enemies. The rivalry between Jack and Ralph leads to most of the violence that happens in Lord of the Flies. Their rivalry symbolizes savagery vs. civilization. Simon’s death was the most identifying sign of violence because of how corrupt the tribe’s mindset was to the beast. Golding wrote “the shrill screaming that rose before the beast was like a pain. The beast stumbled into the horseshoe”. The tribe screamed ‘Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!”. Even though they did not know it was Simon, the tribe took action as fast as possible because they became animals with no emotions. The only goal is to stay alive. The humanity in each character had been lost. In Lord of the Flies, the boys lose their humanity the longer they are on the island. Golding gives superb symbolism in many ways. For example, the conch shell symbolizes the state within the tribe. The island changed in the eyes of the kids, what was a paradise became the worst place on earth. Golding heavily implies his theory that it is easy to become evil, by seeing the transition of the tribe. The boys make a civilization but it rapidly deteriorates into shambles that they can not piece back together. Golding put in harsh realities to show the impulsive insanity the boys faced.


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