An Analysis of Lord of the Flies by William Golding

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Savage vs. Civilized

The main concern of Lord of the flies is the conflict between the two competing drives that all humans have; to live by the rules and act right or to defy the rules and act on ones desires. Meaning Savage vs. Civilized. William Golding associates the instinct of civilization with good and the instinct of savage with evil. In the story the character Ralph is the protagonist who represents civilized, leadership, and order. On the other hand Jack is the antagonist and represents savagery and the desire for power. William implies that people are much more prone to the instinct of savagery than the instinct of civilization, especially without authority.

In the beginning of the story, the meetings that the group has are very civilized and everybody abides by the rules. They form a society that has a leader (Ralph) and have a symbol of authority, which is a conch shell. They all listen to Ralph and use the conch shell to talk during the meetings; making the meetings very civilized. In the beginning they all do their part whether it be watching the fire, building things, going hunting for food, or getting water, they all did their part. As the story goes on most of the kids start slacking and the jobs are not being done well; they are becoming more savage. For instance the fire goes out when a ship passes, there is not much water in the coconuts, and only 2 people build the last shelter. The kids can’t even have a civilized meeting, and the conch shell is not being put to use as it should be. During the meeting piggy says” What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages? What’s grownups going to think? Going off- hunting pigs- letting out fires- and now!” By piggy saying this, it shows that the kids really are acting like wild animals and little savages. They are no longer thinking before they are doing things and have no sense of control or authority. They are beginning to go wild and the instinct of savage is kicking in.
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