English 10¬ —Period 1
Sunday, March 30, 2014
Stripped of Civilization
Are we born savage? Is civilization the only factor that domesticates us and keeps us in check? William Golding answered these questions in his novel, Lord of the Flies. In the story, a group of boys crash landed on a deserted island with no adults and initially tried to set up order and government. Ralph and Piggy were the ones who represented this desire for order. But as time went on they slowly became increasingly corrupted. Some say that the island itself corrupted them. However, it must have been the lack of civilization that merely enabled them to reveal their true inner savage. Lord of the Flies serves as a philosophical allegory to the philosophies of Thomas Hobbes. It presents the idea that civilization kept the boys in check; unchecked, the boys became savage.
Ralph started off very innocent, but even he was not safe from becoming savage. An illustration of Ralph’s early innocence was when he was dreaming of “feeding the ponies with sugar over the garden wall.”(113) He refused to accept the bad around him and responded to negativity with his playfulness. This supports Hobbes’ social contract theory. At the time, Ralph was quite new to the island so naturally he still desired to abide by the rules of society. When faced with stress, Ralph “stood on his head and grinned at the reversed fat boy.” (2) It shielded him from having to face the horrors of reality. This also supports the ideas of Hobbes. Ralph resorted to his childish nature due to his want for innocence. However, this innocence was soon broken.
In just some time, the boys had lost a great deal of their innocence. For instance, when the excited children crowded around Ralph to reenact the assassination of the pig, his “desire to squeeze and hurt was over-mastering” (134) Ralph became confronted with his inner primitive nature. This proved to be a turning point for Ralph in his...
Cited: Fregoso, Chimei. "Allegories in Lord of the Flies." English 10B. High Tech Los Angeles. Room 1, Los Angeles. 19 Feb. 2014. Class lecture.
Golding, William. Lord of the flies. Hardcover ed. New York, New York: Penguin Books, 20131954. Print.
"Leviathan Quotes by Thomas Hobbes." Goodreads. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2014.
Shmoop Editorial Team. "Lord of the Flies." Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 26 Feb. 2014. .
"SparkNotes Lord Of The Flies." SparkNotes. SparkNotes, n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2014. .
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