Lord of the Flies

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Argument 1: Civilization vs. Savagery

Every human has a central instinct lying within them. It is not a question of how close to the actual surface it appears, but rather how well an individual controls and deals with it. In a state of increasing distress and panic, what is one truly capable of? Can one remain sophisticated or will the temptation of their dark inner most thoughts take over, bringing out the savage which exists in us all? William Golding’s Lord of the Flies explores this inquiry through an allegory represented by a group of boys who have been marooned on a deserted island, with no surviving adults. Lord of the Flies has been interpreted and analyzed in several different manners. It has been derived that the allegory of Civilization vs. Savagery is among the strongest interpretations based on considerable supporting evidence.

William Golding's Lord of the Flies allegorically shows the good and evil that co-exists in every human being.  Each character and symbol displays this possible by what it represents. Ralph and Jack allegorically represent opposing political forces: Jack as the dictator and Ralph as the prototype of a democratic leader. “The disappearance of authority figures and the prospect of fun, however, also bring with them fear, for the boys are scared of the possibility of long-term abandonment on the island, a fear that is to be reinforced later by the "monster."(Golding, note 1, p. 33) The island represents the archetypal garden and the conch shell which represents power.  Golding uses British schoolboys to prove that a little bit of evil exists in all of us.  Each of these symbols help in proving that we all have some evil in our hearts. “Everything is taken from the ship. Nothing is invented. It is all painstakingly applied on the island. Time is nothing but the time necessary for capital to produce a benefit as the outcome of work. And the providential function of God is to guarantee a return. God knows his people, the hardworking honest type, by their beautiful properties, and the evil doers, by their poorly maintained, shabby property. Robinson's companion is not Eve, but Friday, docile towards work, happy to be a slave, and too easily disgusted by cannibalism. Any healthy reader would dream of seeing him eat Robinson.” (Gilles Deleuze, p. 12)

Ralph begins the story as a carefree boy who does not understand the tragedy amongst the boys.  Ralph soon realizes a need for authority and becomes the true leader of the boys.  He represents a democratic leader and a traditional form of government.  To enforce a parliamentary procedure, he uses to conch shell. "We've got to talk about this fear and decide there's nothing in it." (Golding, note, 1, p. 88) This symbolizes power and authority.

In the Civilization vs. Savagery allegory Ralph is part of civilization. He represents reason and leadership. While on the island it was Ralph who first gathered everyone on the beach. It was there that he was elected chief and he established their society. He runs a democracy where everyone votes on issues and he is willing to take everyone’s opinion into consideration. He believes that as long as they stay civilized they can easily survive, live in harmony, and eventually be rescued. “We’ve got to have rules and obey them,” (Golding, p. 42).   Ralph insists on having rules on the island and at first Jack agrees with him although his jealousy for Ralph’s power drives him to constantly undermine and disobey Ralph and his requests. Argument 2: As a religious allegory

The significance of Golding’s work is buried deep in his allegorical symbolism. The central focus of Golding’s allegory is the conflict between good and evil. Through his work, Golding attempts to define the nature of evil. He demonstrates the overwhelming presence of evil in every aspect of human life. He depicts evil in his story in many ways. Golding elaborates on the problems of moral choice as well as the...
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