Lord of the Flies

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Guise of Human Nature

Since the origin of man, innate tendencies of society have been malevolent in nature. In the novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding, the mask of civilization is removed, and the genuine disposition of society is revealed. Initially, the boys who are marooned on the island are indoctrinated with the propriety of advanced society. Slowly, however, this mask is removed, and the boys revert to their primitive instincts in order to survive. Though the veil of civility attempts to camouflage the inherent evil of society, it is ascertainable that mankind is rancorous at its nucleus.

In the opening chapters, the youth’s actions are dictated by the docile ideals of the British culture from which they came. At the beginning of the novel, the boys repeatedly refer to themselves as “English.”[William Golding, 1954, 42] This shows how influential civilization is to their identity. At this point, every action that the boys take to contrive a social order is modeled after the cloaked civilization from which they originated. Ralph’s society is democratic which mirrors the British society during that time period. The conch is representative of the crown, and is a symbol of loyalty to the outcasts. The boys are benevolent, and behave as though the laws and habits of Britain still apply. Roger makes this point abundantly clear when he is throwing rocks “to miss”[65] Henry, as the “taboo of old life”[65] lingered over him. Instead of just doing as he innately desires, which is to hurt Henry, he feels as though “the protection of parents and school and policemen and law,”[65] are presiding over him. This same situation arises when Jack goes to kill the first pig that the boys meet. Jack knows that how to kill the pig, but misses his chance as he is afraid to contradict the ideals of civilization. The veil of society completely covers the boys at this point in the novel.

Over the course of the novel, the boys reveal their more savage nature. As...
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