The Themes in Lord of the Flies

Topics: Human, Africa, Humans Pages: 3 (1053 words) Published: February 27, 2011
William Golding’s Lord of the Flies portrays many different themes throughout the novel. Golding described the theme of his novel as “an attempt to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature.” Other themes included in the novel are the conflict being civilized or uncivilized (SparkNotes Editors), the loss of innocence (SparkNotes Editors), and the inability to alter human nature (2Friendman 73). Also, Golding uses motifs to help develop these major themes. These motifs include the bible and never-ending circles (Hollahan 67).

Lawrence Friedman’s essay on the inability to alter human nature helps express the meaning of Golding’s theme. When Golding described his theme, he meant that when humans are left alone with no guidance of how to be civilized, they revert to the barbaric ways of their ancestors. The English boys were so young that they “mistake their savage hunt for fun and games” (2Friedman 74). They were left on a coral island with no rules or laws. The only means of survival they knew were their instincts. These instincts include a cruel way of doing things. The reason people in our society today do not act like savages is because our ancestors set laws against acting in such vulgar ways. The population has grown accustomed to these laws. Young boys who do not fully have the ability to reason are the likely candidates to behave inhumanly. As stated by Friedman, “…fallen man can rise only by the apparently impossible means of transcending his very nature” (74). Man’s inability to modify himself lies in the misfortune of Lord of the Flies.

Another major theme in Lord of the Flies involves a conflict that exists in every human being. This divergence is simply between knowing what is right and knowing what is wrong. It involves following rules and act civilized verses acting violently and imposing one’s own desires. Golding uses the two main characters to portray the conflict. Jack represents evil, the longing for power, and...
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