Lord of the Flies: An Analysis

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The novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding definitely represents Golding’s fear of the thin veneer of civilization in the modern world and how it is bound to crumble at any time. In Golding’s novel, the boys who are stuck on the island resort to savagery after many grueling months of forcing civilization on each other. Once the boys have exited the modern world the thin layer of civilization is now gone. This forced them to use savagery to get what they want instead of being organized, using compromise, and staying civilized. The boys attempt to rise in power through murder, worry, manipulation, and fear.

The boys on the island first attempt to start a fire and succeed in this attempt. The fire on the mountain represents both the best and the worst in the human experience. The boys learned teamwork and had hopes of being rescued. This exemplifies the best in the human experience because working together is a key life skill, as is optimism. They want to make a fire to signal a ship if it ever happens to come to the shore. A boy named Piggy lets the group use his glasses to start the fire. Although the boys worked together in some ways, they also turned against each other. The boarding school and choirboys all pit themselves against Piggy, the fat and asthmatic child. He tries to give his ideas about starting the fire until Ralph, the fair-headed boy, “elbowed him to one side” (Golding 40). Ralph yells at Piggy because apparently he was supposed to make a list of the boys who had gotten out of the crashed plane safely. It seems as though the boys are just trying to find someone to take their sadness and anger out on. Piggy is an easy target. This represents the worst in the human experience. It shows that if you are a little different than your peers, they will make fun of you for no reason at all. One boy speaks up after the boys succeed in starting the fire and converse about how many of them there are on the island. Piggy decides to tell the others that he “[doesn’t] see him” (Golding 46), referring to one of the younger children. This also stands for another part of the worst in the human experience. People tend to pay less attention to you when you are young and in a group. But this incident also represents the best in the human experience. When the other little boys freak out about the missing child, the older boys try to calm them down. This is a kind gesture and also a noble one. The starting of the fire brings out both the best and the worst of the boys personalities and of the human experience.

The character named Ralph attempts to bring order to the civilization in the chapter “Beasts from Water.” Ralph, being the chief of the little tribe, naturally has the other boys’ best interest at heart. Ralph calls a meeting and decides to discuss what the group must do to ensure that the society works properly. At the assembly, Ralph grasps the conch and criticizes the boys for their failure to follow and sustain the group’s rules. He tells the boys that they must use the rocks as a bathroom, make sure that they do not steal fire from the mountain, and to keep the fire on the mountain going. Jack, the hunter chief, attempts to calm everyone down by saying there is not a beast and even if there were one he “would have seen it” (Golding 83). Later, Jack withdraws his claim and hints that there may be a beast when he says that he will track and kill it. This is an example of manipulation. It is a manipulation that leaves the rest of the children full of fear. The rest of the group is more willing to give the power to Jack and his hunter. They are willing to overlook the savagery that Jack and his crew commit for the sake of the group’s “safety.” The boys’ civilization is portrayed as a broken and wrecked society. The two head leaders are fighting and not paying as much attention to the “citizens” as they should be. In fact, the society is not civilized anymore. They have all become paranoid, and have...
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