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William Golding’s award winning novel “The Lord of the Flies” shows how anybody could regress into savagery, no matter what the person’s background may be. This is the reason Golding used British schoolboys in his story. They are supposed to be some of the most civilized people. Life does change dramatically over periods of time. Sometimes the change is for the best but a lot of the time it is for the worst.
The boys on the island started as a democratic assembly however the slowly moved into dictatorship and finally ended up in anarchy. In the opening chapters of this book, we saw two boys Ralph and Piggy become aware of their surroundings . When all the survivors came together as a result of Ralph blowing the conch shell, they voted on a chief. Ralph became the leader and he made Jack the leader of a group that would be in charge of hunting and maintaining a fire.
Giving Jack this power was Ralph’s first mistake as chief. However things went along smoothly, rules were set and abided by. All of the boys agreed to give the conch shell some power by only speaking when they were holding the shell in their hands. This power was personified by the statement “By the time Ralph had finished blowing the conch the platform was crowded.” Which shows how even early on, the group let the conch shell have power.
The assembly moved towards dictatorship when Jack started to discredit Ralph and the conch. “And you shut up! Who are you anyway? Sitting there – telling people what to do. You can’t hunt, you can’t sing-.” I think that this statement stayed in the boys’ heads throughout the rest of the story. Jack finally broke off by himself and invited people to join him. However, nobody went with him at first because they were worried about what Ralph would think. Eventually everyone except for Ralph, Piggy Samneric and some of the littluns joined Jack’s tribe because he promised fun, protection and meat. Jack ruled by force, intimidation and punishment of people who disobeyed him. Jack’s power lasted almost until the naval ship came and rescued them. The boys realized that they could have all of the freedom and fun they wanted, Jack’s rules and punishment did not scare them anymore. The boys began to run wild and did not care about anything. By the end of the book, Jack began to realize that there was a higher power than his own. That power was the devil within every boy on the island. The navel officer put everything in perspective when he said “I should think that a pack of British boys, you’re all British aren’t you? would have been able to put up a better show than that – I mean-.” Life can take dramatic turns. The changes within these seemingly civilized British schoolboys are a good example of this. The changes that occurred on this island were obviously not for the better. This book definitely shows the possibility for regression in mankind.
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