Descent into Savagery
Lord of The Flies
By: Em Boone.
Grade 10 English
Descent into Savagery
The novel “Lord of The Flies” seems completely innocent at first, but as you read on, you can tell that the isolated island is getting to them. The boys become violent and thirsty for human fear. They are questioned “Is the beast only within us?” I will describe their descent into savagery with a variety of extracts from the novel, trying to prove that the ‘best’ is within us all.
In the beginning the boys are very civilized and decide that since they are British they must do things properly. Ralph was the one to blow the conch, so they all agree to vote him chief. “Let’s vote – him with the shell.” (P.21.) Jack the other candidate for chief looks shocked that for once in his life, he wasn’t chosen first. Ralph noticing this announces that Jack is in charge of the choir and lets him chose their island job. Jack makes them hunters. Ralph in my opinion was a good choice, he proves this later on by thinking thoroughly and keeping a sane civil mind.
Ralphs first decision as chief is for Jack, Simon and himself to do the ‘grown-up’ thing and explore the island. They want to make sure it is an island, and see if they’re in fact the only human inhabitants. When finished exploring, they are proven right. “There aren’t any grown-ups. We shall have to look after ourselves.” (P.31.) Ralph then creates his first rule: having ‘hands-up’ like at school during assemblies, then that person would be given the conch in order to speak.
The hunter’s fist opportunity to kill a pig is during the exploring of the island. Jack raises his knife into the air and freezes. He doesn’t stab the pig because “of the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh; because of the unbearable blood.” (P.29.) In the beginning death was scary. This shows Jack not being able to bare the blood, which aggravates him more, because he wants to look superior and heuristic towards the others.
The first moment the savage within is brought out is when the child with the birthmark talks. “He says he saw a ‘beastie’ the snake-thing and will it come back tonight?" (P.34) the children are afraid of the night and the shadows. Their imaginative minds not only create a fear for themselves, but for all of them; even though the ‘bigguns’ won’t admit it, or believe that the fear is of themselves.
Their next move is making a signal fire, which goes chaotic – they all become overly excited and end up burning down part of the forest along with burning the boy with the birthmark to death. When the fire burns out Jack realizes the mistake they’ve made and says “We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all, we’re not savages. We’re English.” (P.40)
The boys become more tribal when Ralph and Jack buttheads about how Jack and his hunters haven’t putting as much contribution as the others in building shelters. “The madness came into his eyes again. ‘I thought I might kill.’” Ralph points out that he didn’t and asks for his help and Jack just declares “We want meat-!”(P.47) This leads to a row between the two. In the end Ralph says “All I’m saying is we’ve worked dash hard. That’s all.” (P.47) Jack is beginning his inhumanity behavior and wants nothing to but hunt.
This is when the real ‘fun’ begins; Jack brings out the real beast in himself by painting his face to hide from his self-consciousness and shame, he becomes an alter ego who lives off the fear of other living things. He wants power within the knife he possesses. His first act of being “an awesome stranger” (P.58) is creating the war dance to slaughter a pig: “Kill the pig, cut her throat, spill her blood.” (P.62) ironically, earlier he wanted rules he said “We’re not savages. We’re English.” (P.40) Painting your face, and creating a killing dance is savage in my opinion.
When a ship passes and everyone’s home of rescue is...
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