Lord of the Flies: Man's Primitive Face

Topics: Lord of the Flies, William Golding, Civilization Pages: 4 (1364 words) Published: November 17, 2006
In the novel Lord of the Flies, William Golding displays the two different personalities that mankind possesses; one civilized, the other primitive. William Golding uses the setting, personalities, and imagery in Lord of the Flies to give the reader a detailed description of these two faces of man. The story's setting is essential for the evolution of both sides of man. When an airplane full of schoolboys crashes on an island, only the children survive. The children scout out and find the island is roughly boat-shaped. It is a bit of irony in that the island the children are trapped on is shaped exactly like the thing that could save them (a boat). Despite this irony, they are for a fact, trapped. An ocean surrounds them and no one in the world even knows where they are. The boys, having been cut off from the world, must now create their own.

After a while the children realize that there are, "No grownups!" (Golding 7; ch. 1) This means that there are no parents or adults to give the boys rules or punish them if they do wrong, so they must learn how to govern themselves. Their first attempt imitates the world that they have grown up with, that of a civilized democracy. A conch shell is used to call "assemblies" and (meaningless) decisions are voted on (Golding 16, ch. 1). They keep a fire on the top of a mountain in hope for rescue and a return to their usual lives. This fire is a symbol of their still civilized society.

Unfortunately, soon the children tire of their sophisticated life. They want to play and rapidly lose interest in any job they happen to be doing. Ralph addresses the problem when he speaks to the group, "We have lots of assemblies. Everybody enjoys speaking and being together. We decide things. But they don't get done. We were going to have water brought from the stream and left in those coconut shells under fresh leaves. It worked for a few days. Now there's no water. The shells are dry. People drink from the...

Cited: 1. Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: The Berkeley Group, 1954.
2. Gerenser, Scott, comp. "Lord of the Flies Summary." Lord of the Flies, by William Golding. 2 Oct. 1998. 28 Apr. 2006 .
3. Lee, I, comp. "Understanding "Lord of the Flies": a Novel by William Golding." A Research Guide for Students. 24 Apr. 2006. 24 Apr. 2006 .
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