Lord of the Flies: Civilization vs. Savagery

Categories: Allegory

Civilization vs. Savagery William Golding’s, Lord of the Flies is a novel that displays the power and importance of the rules of civilization and its role in preventing humans from following their natural inclination toward savagery. This novel displays how the rules of civilization are overcome by savagery when rules and authority get displaced, and savagery starts to become inevitable. When the boys were first ‘placed’ on the island it was the boy’s original instinct to be civil and just.

The boys voted on a leader, Ralph, and established rules and jobs for the boys to do and follow. This civility between the boys can be seen deteriorating throughout the course of the six hunts. Jack, who was obsessed with hunting pigs to prove himself as a hunter, is the leader of this deterioration. This deterioration started first when the three of the boys were on an expedition to search the island for any signs of other people. The three boys came across a piglet stuck in the brush but Jack froze “because the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh; because of the unbearable blood” (Lord of the Flies, page 29).

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Jack was scared of the idea of killing and spilling blood of a living animal. This action shows that Jack was still held back by the rules of civilization.

This close call is what started to fuel Jacks obsession to hunt to kill. After Jack killed his first pig, and realized that he can kill without any negative consequences, he brutally killed a mother sow with piglets.

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He then cut the head off and placed it on a stick that was sharpened at both ends as a sacrifice to the beast. This shows Jacks savage obsession to kill pigs was beginning to take over, and his fear of blood was no more. This brutal kill was savage and reckless. Jack became so confident that he can kill anything, that it lead him to want to hurt a human. Jack ended up becoming so savage that he hunted Ralph. This was when almost all of the rules that held Jack back from killing had left him and he made up his own rules. The changing effectiveness of the conch and its ability to govern over the boys is another example that displays the deterioration of the rules of civilization. The conch was first the most important item and symbol of authority that the boys had on the island.

The conch was used to call meetings and govern over the boys. But, eventually over time people like Jack started to ignore it and break the rules. He and other boys faulted away and the conch became useless “And I’ve got the conch- ‘You haven’t got it with you,’ said Jack sneering. ‘You left it behind. See, clever?- And the conch doesn’t count on this side of the island-“ (Lord of the Flies, page 166). The conch eventually is destroyed, along with Piggy killed, and the last symbol of authority over the boys is vanished. The destruction of the conch symbolizes the final loss of authority Ralph has and the final event that led Jack to be overcome fully by savagery.

The last example of the deterioration of the rules of civilization is the boy’s fear of the great beast and how they began to offer sacrifices to the beast. Throughout the novel, the beasts caused a great amount of fear within the boys. The fear started within littleuns being afraid of the dark and many other objects on the island. The fear began in the big-uns when Sam and Eric claim to be chased by a flying beast. This fear kept the boys from having a fire on mountain and gave some of the littleuns nightmares. This fear also made Jack give offerings to the beast, a pig’s head. This gruesome act had been believed to work so when the time came Jack wanted to put Ralph’s head on a stick to. This savagery is what lead to the final conflict with Ralph and Jack as Ralph held on to the last bit of goodness on the island, his life.

In conclusion the deterioration of the rules of civilization and its role in preventing humans from following their natural inclination toward savagery can be seen through these three examples: the six hunts, the loss of effectiveness of the conch, and the drastic actions caused by fear.

Savagery vs civilization in Lord Of The Flies

The’ Lord of Flies’ composed by William Golding speaks about a group of boys whom their plane was crashed in a separated island and it demonstrates how they attempted to construct their own society. However, the majority of them get absolutely affected by the primitive life, so the young boys splinter into factions, some behave in harmony and work together to keep order and achieve typical goals, while others rebel and seek just anarchy and violence. The overarching style of Lord of the Flies is the conflict between the human impulse towards savagery and the guidelines of civilization which are developed to lessen it. Throughout the novel, the dispute is dramatized by the clash between Ralph and Jack, who respectively represent civilization Vs. savagery.The distinctions are revealed by each kid’s distinct attitudes towards authority.

Civilization can be seen as cultural and intellectual refinement in human society. In the Lord of the Flies, the boys started off embracing civil guidelines and producing civility among themselves. These rules last for some time, and throughout this time no mayhem breaks out. Within the unique there are many indications revealing the boys attempt in developing a civilized society on that island. Initially, there is the conch which represents order and encourages the kids to have respect and persistence for each other; this is shown in the quote” I’ll provide the conch to the next person to speak, he can hold it when he’s speaking. “. The 2nd thing to demonstrate how they tried to be more civilized is their need to choose a leader. The boy’s electing a leader is maybe among the best displays of democracy and civilization that takes place in the book. “Yes! Let’s vote! Choose chief” this reveals they understood that electing a leader is the only thing to make things work out, especially in a large group of young boys. Another representation of civility in the book is the huts that the kids made. These shelters provide the practical purpose of utilizing shelters to safeguard them from weather.

They also provide a substitute for home , a place where the boys can gather togother in the hours of darkness to seek comfort from being close to other people . They provide an escape from the darkness and unknown which lies outside their walls . At last , the barometer of the boy’s connection to civilization is the signal fire . In the early parts of the novel , the fact that the boys maintain the fire is a sign that they want to be rescued and return to society . When the fire burns low or goes out , we realize that the boys have lost sight of their desire to be rescued and have accepted their savage lives on the island .Thus , the signal fire functions as a measurement of the strengths of the civilized instinct remaining on the island . Ironically , at the end of the novel , a fire finally summons a ship to the island , but not the signal fire . Instead , it is the fire of savagery – the forest fire Jack’s group starts as part of his quest to hunt and kill Ralph .

On the other hand , Savagery is the fierce , violent and uncontrolled society which is lacking the restrains which are normal to human beings . In the Lord of The Flies , the boys descent to savagery is a gradual process . There are some influential factors for there descent . First reasons may be the lack of faith and fire . As the days go by without any sign of a rescue ship , the boys start to doubt if they ever will be rescued. This discourses them from working to keep the signal fire going . “I’ve been watching the sea . There hasn’t been the trace of a ship , perhaps we’ll never be rescued ..” , as a result for Roger saying this the boys stop guarding the fire and make ir go out ; therefore , a struggle happens to make the fire , also piggy’s glasses are broken which symbolize loss of intellect and civilization and the rise of savage instincts . Another thing to illustrate them getting more savage is the War Paint , Jack uses white and red clay and makes black marks with a stick of charcoal . He wishes to camouflage himself so that the pig won’t spot him in the jungle.

However , once he applies the paint , Jack becomes aware the ‘ behind the mask ‘ of his painted face he is free from all restrains and responsibilities , he can in effect do what he wants . When the boys follow Jack and apply paint to themselves they almost instantly change . The war paint starts to reveal the hunters’ inner savagery and it conceals their true identities so they can do whatever they want with no consequences even murder . The other thing is the Lack of democracy , Rebellion and Fear . When the younger boys started following Jack things got out of control . Jack influenced the boys and made them follow his rebellious ways . He leads them into killing and this the most brutal display of savagery , he also leads them into believing that there is a beast and evoking fear upon them.

This fear of the beast eventually leads to the death of Simon , the most civilized of them all . The last stage happened to the boys is the Loss of innocence . After the boys ‘ most riveting display of brutality and savagery , the boys’ sense of morality is completely gone . Their innocence goes along with it . They are no longer little church boys but brutal savage beinngs completely misguided by an even more brutal leader . In conclusion, in the novel The Lord of the Flies, Golding succeeds in showing the actions, decisions and thinking of young children. At many points throughout Lord of the Flies, he writes for the characters to become gradually more and more evil . He manages to show us how human beings can move from civilization to savagery easily as it’s one of the prime instincts in human beings .

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Lord of the Flies: Civilization vs. Savagery. (2016, Mar 24). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/lord-of-the-flies-civilization-vs-savagery-essay

Lord of the Flies: Civilization vs. Savagery

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