Lord of the Flies - Civilisation vs. Savagery

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LORD OF THE FLIES – CIVILISATION VS. SAVAGERY

In William Goldings book, “The lord of the Flies”, one of the central themes is the struggle of civilisation against savagery. The basic principle that is preconditioned in connection with this theme is the idea that savage impulses or the “evil” in every individual is a strong part of the human psyche and that these are an inescapable fact of human existence, like the “Id” in the Freudian model of the human psyche. Opposed to this natural evil is the learned set of morals, good behaviour and rules, the “Super-ego”, that are imposed on every individual by its surroundings and that build up society. Golding suggests that these rules cannot eradicate our inborn evil part, but are capable to mitigate the full expression of out savagery. Throughout the novel Golding associates the instinct of civilisation with good and the instinct of savagery with evil.

The story starts off with two of the stranded, English boys, Ralph and Piggy, finding a conch shell and using it to assemble the other stranded children. At this assembly the boys democratically elect a leader, namely Ralph. This election and the chosen leader are the representation of civilisation, because democracy is a social system based on equality and the interest of the group. The democratically chosen leader Ralph and his conch shell, which enables democracy and thereby a form of order to develop within the group, are the symbols of rule and civilised society. The second candidate of this election is Jack, an English choir boy, who is outraged when he doesn’t win the election. To satisfy him, Ralph puts him in charge of hunting. Jacks desire to kill the pigs, to demonstrate his bravery, so his innate desire to kill is channelled into something productive by Ralph, by letting Jack provide food by hunting. This suggests that society, in this example again represented by Ralph, has the duty to provide outlet for the savage impulses of each individual. The...
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