Preview

Civilization vs Savagery

Good Essays
Open Document
Open Document
790 Words
Grammar
Grammar
Plagiarism
Plagiarism
Writing
Writing
Score
Score
Civilization vs Savagery
Civilization vs. Savagery
The idea of civilization vs. Savagery is displayed in Lord of the flies as good vs. evil where civilization is good and savagery is evil. This idea is one that exists in all human beings: It is the instinct to follow and live by rules, act peacefully and follow moral commands against the desire for violence, to gratify ones immediate desires and reign supreme over others.
Throughout the novel, the conflict is dramatized by the clash between Ralph and Jack, who respectively represent civilization and savagery. The differing ideologies are expressed by each boy's distinct attitudes towards authority. While Ralph uses his authority to establish rules, protect the good of the group, and enforce the moral and ethical codes of the English society the boys were raised in, Jack is interested in gaining power over the other boys to gratify his most primal impulses. When Jack assumes leadership of his own tribe, he demands the complete subservience of the other boys, who not only serve him but worship him as an idol.
As the novel progresses, Golding shows how different people feel the influences of the instincts of civilization and savagery to different degrees. Piggy, for instance, has no savage feelings, while Roger seems barely capable of comprehending the rules of civilization.
The rift between civilization and savagery is also communicated through the novel's major symbols: the conch shell, which is associated with Ralph, and The Lord of the Flies, which is associated with Jack. The conch shell is a powerful marker of democratic order on the island, confirming both Ralph's leadership-determined by election-and the power of assembly among the boys. Yet, as the conflict between Ralph and Jack deepens, the conch shell loses symbolic importance. Jack declares that the conch is meaningless as a symbol of authority and order, and its decline in importance signals the decline of civilization on the island. At the same time, The Lord of the Flies,

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Although both Jack and Ralph have characteristics that make them good leaders, Ralph is more responsible, reasonable, and charismatic. However, Jack does have more control over people because he is forceful and unkind, which intimidates people. Being stranded on the island had a major impact on how the boys all thought and acted, but Ralph remained the most civil leader throughout the entire…

    • 433 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Haley Blackwell Ms. Tillman Pre-AP English II 24 June 2012 Throughout literature, certain things are considered to mean something beyond themselves; these symbols make themselves ever present in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. While some symbols appear in an obvious fashion (the glasses, the pig’s head) others like to hide from the reader (the fire, the conch shell). From Piggy’s introduction into the novel, they symbolize of his glasses seemed apparent. The glasses symbolize a voice of reason and logic within the boys, and once Jack took Piggy’s glasses from him and started the fire all the logic dissipated. The shell symbolizes an organized civilization within the boys. As they search for someone a leader, they notice Ralph – one of the oldest in the bunch – holding the conch shell. Since they dubbed Ralph leader “They obeyed the summons of the conch, partly because Ralph blew it, and he was big enough to be a link with the adult world of authority” (Golding 50). The fire symbolizes both the hope of rescue and an innate destructive change and reentrance into a primitive state within the human mind. The pig’s head symbolizes the aggression which Jack harbors toward everything as it becomes more and more dominant throughout the novel, but the pig’s head also becomes a symbol of the savagery and bloodlust of the boys near the end of the novel.…

    • 1190 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    power

    • 1732 Words
    • 7 Pages

    The theme power is expressed in both texts distinctly. Power is the possession of control or command over others, authority, and ascendary. “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely, great men are almost bad men”. Power is represented in lord of the flies through the conch shell. The conch shell becomes a powerful and effective symbol of civilisation, order, organization, and adjustment. The shell adequately governs the boys meetings, for the boy who holds the conch shell has the right to speak. In this regard the shell is more than a symbol it is an actual vessel of political compensation and democratic power. As the island civilisation erodes and the boys ascend into savagery, the conch shell loses its power and influence among them. The technique of symbolism is used to represent power in lord of the flies.…

    • 1732 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Golding demonstrates this world-view by putting English boys alone to fend for themselves on an island without any adults to enforce civilization. Each of the characters define parts of society. Ralph represents law and democracy, Piggy represents innovation and discovery, Simon represents the natural goodness in humanity, Jack represents tyranny, Roger represents cruelty and injustice, the littluns represent the common poor people, and the bigguns represent the higher class in the society. The novel shows what happens when these elements of society clash without laws.…

    • 959 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Two of the most important symbols in the novel, Lord of the Flies, by William Golding were the conch shell and the Lord of the Flies itself. After a plane crashes on an uncharted island in the Pacific Ocean, leaving a group of schoolboys stranded without adult supervision, the conch becomes the sole source of order on the island. The shell becomes a symbol of civilization very early in novel after Ralph and Piggy use it to call the rest of the boys to a meeting. However, as time goes on, fear and chaos set in, unleashing the beast within each of them, as symbolized by the Lord of the Flies, and resulting in the boys' savage behavior. In Lord of the Flies, the conch shell is an important symbol of order and power, while the Lord of the Flies symbolizes the devil from the reader's perspective, but symbolizes the beast in the eyes of the boys.…

    • 659 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    “Jack began to dance and his laughter became a bloodthirsty snarling.” pg.200 The opposing end of the spectrum from Ralph is Jack. From the moment Jack is introduced in the novel, it is clear that he is made to be in competition with Ralph. Jack is ran by his insecurity. His hunger for power is fed by jealousy. To compare Ralph and Jack is to compare apples and oranges, essentially.…

    • 700 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Civilization Vs Savagery

    • 1204 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Wars of mass destruction allow countries to perform acts of terror and justify them by claiming they have ‘right’ on their side. An author by the name of William Golding, who is a World War II veteran, is appalled by different countries’ abilities to propagandize these acts and brainwash soldiers into thinking killing fellow man is fair. This brainwashing influences William Golding to believe human nature in its natural state is savagery. William Golding in his critically acclaimed novel, Lord of the Flies, exemplifies the theme, civilization versus savagery, by the utilization of a stranded island, lack of supervision, and the transformation of characters from good to evil.…

    • 1204 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    In Golding’s Lord of the Flies, the conch shell is a symbol for order and structure which furthers the novel’s theme that civilization is needed to diminish the savagery of humans or else they will fully embrace their wild side and lose any sense of moral responsibility. After Ralph is voted chief, because he held the conch, he tells the choir that “they can be… hunters” (20). Initially, Jack’s eagerness to kill was directed into helping the group of boys as a whole and he posed no threat to the well-being of them. By requiring Jack to contribute to the building of a productive society, Ralph is able to divert his impulses to the improvement of the civilization. As time went on, Jack began to rebel against the authority and exclaimed “we…

    • 291 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Civility vs. Savagery

    • 911 Words
    • 4 Pages

    There are multiple symbols in the novel that embody certain aspects of civilization and savagery. Order and unity are epitomized by the conch shell. The shell originally had a powerful…

    • 911 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The first reason why Savagery is superior to Civilization is because of its Savagery is easier to implement because it has less rules and regulations, triumphs over Civilization throughout the novel, and has a fundamental place in human nature. The Milgram Experiment is a real experiment that shows that savagery is the natural human state. In the Milgram Experiment there were subjects (“teachers”) who had to quiz (“learners”) actors on word pairs and every time a wrong answer was given the “teacher” was supposed to press a button administering an electric shock. As the experiment went on the shocks got stronger and stronger (in reality the “learners” were faking the pain and there was no shock, but the subjects did not know that). After they were assured that they wouldn’t be responsible for their actions they felt fine administering what they thought could have been fatal shocks. This shows that when absolved of responsibility they had no qualms about hurting…

    • 574 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Ultimately, Ralph and the boys that cling to the vestiges of rule-bound society and community cannot overpower the savage motivations of Jack’s need for dominance through violence and fear-mongering. Ralph and his allies' fight for what is right becomes more and more desperate as they lose the battle against Jack’s brand of tyranny, bred of violence and…

    • 492 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Struggle For Power In the novel, Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, there is several times where characters struggle for power. The two main people who have the worst time in their struggle for power are Jack and Ralph. They both are very opinionated and have different outlooks on how the tribe should be ran until they are rescued. This often happens among newly created societies and this one in particular because they are all young boys. Jack struggles for power against Ralph in the beginning whereas Ralph struggles for it more towards the end.…

    • 743 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The lack of supervision and parental guidance has allowed Jack to let go of the restriction that society has put on to him. The community that the boys had flimsily created had begun to fall apart. Piggy, one of Ralph’s last followers and his true friend, tells Ralph that he needs to use his initial leadership status to keep the boys together but it ultimately fails. Jack creates his own tribe to hunt and have fun with him. Piggy is eventually killed by one of Jack’s comrades and Ralph is pushed to run away from Jack’s tribe because he had taken everything from Ralph. The remaining boys are eventually rescued by a British naval officer. Jack and Ralph can be considered two sides of one coin because they’ve both had positions of power throughout the novel. However, the major difference that really contrast the two is Jack demanded attention and power and eagerly to the role of leader. Ralph, contrastingly, had power thrust upon him and most of his factoring leadership qualifications were Piggy telling him what things to do or giving him…

    • 760 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Jack Vs Ralph

    • 748 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Jack and Ralph each want to have power and will do anything to get it. Both want so much for the others to see them as their leader, and are in constant argument as to who should be the leader. Jack is envious of Ralph, as he is the chosen leader. There are significant differences between the two also cause many more conflicts to arise. While Ralph is focused on rescue, Jack is focused on hunting. This is portrayed clearly in the book when he is so keen on killing a pig; "'Kill the pig! Cut his throat! Kill the pig! Bash him in!'". On the other side of the spectrum Ralph is very keen on rules. He is shown in the novel as…

    • 748 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    The Symbolism of the Conch In Lord of the Flies, several symbols are used to illustrate important ideas that are crucial to the plot and meaning of the book. One of these symbols is the conch: this rare shell is not only a precious and expensive in the world of merchandise; it also holds a dark and mysterious power over a group of English boys, lost on an island with no adults, clues, or means of escape. The boys set up a civilization and try to live in the society they have set up. This system works for a while, aided by the power of the conch. However, as the story advances, the civilized way of life that the boys have set up starts falling apart, and savagery starts luring certain boys outside of the safe and rational walls of civilization. William Golding intertwines the fast-paced, enticing story of the boys’ plight on the island and the descent into savagery with the powerful and deeply meaningful symbolism of the conch.…

    • 1086 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays