Lord of the Flies Descriptive Good or Evil

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Lord of the Flies

The novel The Lord of the Flies is based on one significant question that

philosophers have been puzzled by for centuries – are humans essentially good, or are

they evil? Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a famous French philosopher, theorized that humans

are instinctively good, however, when given an aggravating situation, then their minds

become warped and are set into a bad state. Thus, humans are naturally good, but it is

society that demeans them. On the other hand, another great influential thinker, Thomas

Hobbes, believed that humans are inborn evil, but it is society that subdues the evil ways.

Many studies led to the assumption that humans are born with evil inside, and it is human

nature to act upon evil impulses, as in what Hobbes believes. Many believe that evil

behavior in people is something that is learned, as in what Rousseau demonstrated. There

is no answer to the dispute, yet, but it is based on one’s opinion derived from their

overview of society. The author of the novel, William Golding, seems to agree with

Hobbes’ perspective, for the children in the book are good when society is around, but

when they are on their own, they alter to self-destructive ways. Its plot is subjected on an

assembly of boys that are stranded on an island during WWII, but the longer they are

away from civilization, the more animal-like they become.

Golding uses many symbols within to book to express society nowadays. One of

the first symbols is the main setting, the island. Its main representation is the isolation

of the boys from civilization. Since they are separated, there isn’t a chance that society could influence them to be evil. The island is distinguished as “a coral reef, and beyond

that the open sea was dark blue. Within the irregular arc of coral the lagoon was still as a

mountain lake--blue of all shades and shadowy green and purple" (8). At first, it seems

as if it were a normal island. Despite it being normal at first, as the boy’s fear overpowers

them, the island becomes scarier in their eyes. “Soon the darkness was full of claws, full

of the awful unknown and menace” (99). Progressively, the group is tricked by their

mind. Another setting in which conveying the thought of evil is the jungle. The jungle is

located in the middle of the island. It exemplifies a "heart of darkness"; evil inside the

children along with inside the island.

Another major symbol in the book, that is also the most noteworthy, is the Beastie

itself. The beast and the Lord of the Flies represent the same symbol – an imaginary

evil within the boys. As the boys become more uncivilized and fearful, the Beastie

becomes larger and more frightening. Also, as their internal evil emerges throughout,

it eclipses their perception of reality. “The Beast followed us. I saw it slinking behind the

trees” (36). One of the little boys is the first to become overly obsessed with the Beast,

which is showing that he had not enough time to become trained by society to be good, so

his evil sprouts earlier than others. However, it could also mean that he was the spark

of the evil in the group of boys, so maybe some people are naturally evil, and some are

influenced by society. Golding symbolizes the inner evil with the Lord of the Flies as

well. “You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you? Close, close, close! I’m the reason why

it’s no go? Why things are the way they are?” (143). The Lord of the Flies is explaining

to Simon that he is simply inside him, as well as the others.

In addition to the setting and the Beastie/LoTF, Golding uses many other symbols

within the novel to convey how he believes humans are evil. Another main symbol is the

conch, which symbolizes democracy. The boys first use it to call assemblies and give

rights for the power of being able to speak one’s own opinion. It eventually is...
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