Lord of the flies is a novel written by William Golding, and the novel itself has many dominant themes in it, but the ones I chose to write about is the human natures, like evil, and the destruction of the society. It is a novel that shows the bad side of every single human - our destructive nature. One of the most important human traits that can lead to destruction is the struggle for power, which is the most obvious trait that leads to the destruction of the society in the novel as well. Through the breakdown of the society formed by innocent kids who survived the plane wreck, Golding shows that there are many basic human traits that can lead to the destruction of the society. Humans constantly want to be above other human beings. “We speak of love when we destroy nature. It sounds like innocence of cruel arrogance.” Toba Beta, Master of Stupidity (1) All of the symbols Golding uses throughout the novel show the revelation of evil from within the children. Golding uses Lord of the Flies as the title of the novel because the Lord of the Flies symbolizes the innate evil within the children, which is the main idea of the novel. Golding shows that the children are not conditioned by society or another satanic force to act in an evil manner; the innate evil within themselves causes them to act in such a way. Every human being is savage at heart, no matter how hard they try to oppress it. Evil is an instinct, a part of human kind, but what exactly is evil and what defines it? Mr. Golding believes that evil is intrinsic to human beings; he shows some examples of evil in the Lord of the Flies, in a form called bullying. Bullying increases the bully’s self-confidence, while it lowers the victim’s, in this case Jack harass Piggy to increase his self-assurance. Humans have two desires that conflict with each other: to live by civilization and to live by savagery. The civilized impulse we have is to live peacefully, morally, and by rules and laws. The savage characteristic we have is to act violently, using force to gain authority and power over others. Throughout Lord of the Flies, Mr. Golding links the idea of civilization with good, and savagery with evil. How do civilization and savagery compare and contrast? Mr. Golding implies that civilization and savagery are opposite forms of basic government structure.
There is no concept of good or evil in nature. It only exists in the minds of humanity. Are hot and cold separates? No, they are differences in temperature; it is not possible to know hot unless we have cold to compare it with. The only difference is that they are at different ends of the scale. Even then, hot and cold vary on perception, what a child may find hot, could be warm or cold to an adult. In general, most people believe that helping others is good, whilst harming others is evil. However, everyone has a different definition of what is harmful and helpful. While some things are considered evil by nearly everyone, such as dishonesty, lying, murder, etc., there are a lot of actions that can be considered good by some and evil by others. In previous societies, where people mostly agreed on what was good and what was evil, the concept of evil served the function of letting people know what was socially acceptable and what was not. "Life...is scientific....I know there isn't no beast...but I know there isn't no fear, either....Unless we get frightened of people." (2) "Kill the pig! Cut his throat! Kill the pig! Bash him in! “ (3) These are some of the quotes from the novel that show cruelty in each human, and that who we should fear from is people, not animals, or other creatures. Another very dominant theme in Lord of the Flies is that man is savage at heart, always ultimately reverting back to an evil and primitive nature. The cycle of man's rise to power, or righteousness, and his inevitable fall from grace is an important point that book proves again and again, often comparing man with characters from the Bible to give a more vivid picture of his descent. Lord Of The Flies symbolizes this fall in different manners, ranging from the illustration of the mentality of actual primitive man to the reflections of a corrupt seaman in purgatory. The novel is the story of a group of boys of different backgrounds who are marooned on an unknown island when their plane crashes. As the boys try to organize and formulate a plan to get rescued, they begin to separate and as a result of the dissension a band of savage tribal hunters is formed. Eventually the "stranded boys in Lord of the Flies almost entirely shake off civilized behavior:. When the confusion finally leads to a manhunt [for Ralph], the reader realizes that despite the strong sense of British character and civility that has been instilled in the youth throughout their lives, the boys have backpedaled and shown the underlying savage side existent in all humans. "Golding senses that institutions and order imposed from without are temporary, but man's irrationality and urge for destruction are enduring". The novel shows the reader how easy it is to revert back to the evil nature inherent in man. If a group of well-conditioned school boys can ultimately wind up committing various extreme travesties, one can imagine what adults, leaders of society, are capable of doing under the pressures of trying to maintain world relations. Lord of the Flies' apprehension of evil is such that it touches the nerve of contemporary horror as no English novel of its time has done. References:
1. http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/destruction-of-nature 2. Chapter 5, pg. 76 (Lord of the flies, William Golding)
3. Chapter 7, pg. 104 (Lord of the flies, William Golding)