Lord of the Flies Literary Essay

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MARCH 2012

This essay aims to explain why and how the move from civilized children to savagery occurred on the island in Lord of the Flies. It also looks at the reasons the term “savage” is used in the novel, as well as the abuse of authority in it. It suggests that the move to savagery is caused by one person, Jack Merridew, who acts as a catalyst for the rest of the boys on the island.

From the first chapter in the novel, it is evident that that the boys rely on rules and look for some sort of authority to follow. Piggy asks, "Where's the man with the megaphone?” Throughout the start of the book we see this trend continuing. Still in chapter one we see that as soon as the boys begin to find one another, they immediately ask where the grown ups are, this time Piggy asks, "Aren't there any grownups at all?” And Jack asks, "Where's the man with the trumpet?" We also see how they assemble due to the sound of the conch and immediately listen to Ralph, as he is the one in possession of it. It is evident in the text when it says “Signs of life were visible now on the beach.” (Occurs shortly after conch was blown) and “At last Ralph ceased to blow and sat there [and] there was silence.” We also see how the oldest boys immediately put themselves in the position of some sort of power, “Ralph raised a hand for silence.” And when Jack was asked to be captain, “With dreary obedience the choir raised their hands.” It is therefore safe to say that when the boys first meet at the beginning of the novel, they immediately create some sort of ruling system in terms of the conch and age. As there are two that feel they should be leader, they have a democratic election, much like a modern society would have. Ralph wins this election and does so under fair conditions, “Every hand outside the choir except Piggy's was raised immediately. Then Piggy, too, raised his hand.” So we now have a tribe, which is happy, with a leader. Why...
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