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An innocent pig in a jungle nibbles on grass in the early morning. The pig squeals whilst his head snapped off with a boy as its last image it would ever witness. “He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man” is a quote which widely relates to the novel, Lord of the flies, and creates a comparison of how it’s like to be civilized and savage. The characters in the story represent the difference between being a beast and being civilized by showing responsibility, coming of age, and rationalism.
First of all, responsibility plays a huge role in this story for responsibility resembles a man of civilization and leadership. Being a civilized government is no easy task in comparison to being a savage. Ralph tried to form a government with his reliance to the conch and portrayed responsibility through his willingness to keep everyone together. In the beginning of the novel, Ralph was the boy who maintained order.
He does so by using the conch as power to create assemblies and positively mannered conversations. He is a boy who decides from right or wrong and acts upon situations.
For example, the littluns could not live on their own and could not feed or protect each other. The littluns soon became scared of the rumour about a “beast”. With this knowledge, Ralph creates shelters for the littluns to hide. This created a sense of safety and protection. In addition, Ralph demonstrates how he can problem solve as a leader.
Jack comes into the picture and takes care of the boys when he fulfills his duty as a leader and decides to hunt for food. Food is a huge priority because the boys were only left to eat fruits from the island which caused diarrhea. With Jack acting like a leader, he decides to hunt animals for food. In short, being a civilized being is no easy task.
Secondly, characters in the novel are carefree and free to do what they please. Ralph and the others became the adults and went through the difficult of babysitting everyone to be rescued whilst the rest took the easy path and went to have fun. The boys progressed from being well-behaved, orderly children to blood thirsty hunters. The boys on the island excluding, Ralph, Piggy, and Simon, all did what they wanted to do.
They thought of the island as a place for joy and fun. They did what they wanted to regardless of the consequences. For example, the littluns all played in the water and the jungle while Ralph was creating shelters for everyone. Being a leader is not an easy task for not everyone can be expected to fulfill tasks. As mentioned previously, the littluns feared a beast or a monster which they thought had roamed the island. With this in mind, Jack takes complete advantage and decides to use his power to calm the littluns, but what really feared the littluns was Jack himself.
The littuns has developed their loss of innocence and have been drowned in fear and follows Jack as a leader. They become carefree and do whatever they want which applies to Jack as well. Jack finds clay ont he island and uses it as a way to cover his face. This is symbolic because the time Jack puts on the mask, he becomes a different person and takes on a different persona. As he put the mask on, he threw away his old self and emotions. He kills Simon and watches the death of Piggy with no shame or guilt. He has permanently changed himself. Therefore, being a savage and following your id is a simple task.
Last but not least, the children in the novel showed rationalism and some were fully aware of the predicament they were caught in. As the novel progresses, the majority of the characters lost there viewpoints and completely forgot about the rescue. While Ralph, Simon, and Piggy were working hard on being rescued, Jack became obsessed with the nonsense of hunting and gaining power. Jack chose to do what everyone else wanted to do, and that was to have fun. In the beginning of the novel, Ralph prioritized the rescue and wanted to maintain the fire for outsiders to possible see for rescue. Jack promised to keep the fire going with his hunters, but soon failed to do so when he retreated his group in order to hunt for a pig. He has lost the objectives that he should have achieved. As Piggy was represented as the weak and helpless, yet smart and resourceful, he was the character who was most consumed by the conch.
He wanted to maintain order and civilization. Jack also said to follow rules and later on became a hypocrite and backstabbed his own rules. While Jack spent all his time being fixated to hunting, Ralph worked extremely hard into creating shelters for the protection from fear and weather. Jack, on the other hand, has become the fear and uses it to control and kill or witness death of other characters without feeling guilt or negative emotions. Once again, Ralph, the leader, ends up working hard, experiencing the death of others, and sticking through until the very end of the novel. Whilst Jack, the power, ends up losing sanity as well as the rest of the children. Jack is the dictator and gains control of everyone on the island with the exception of Ralph and is followed because it is easier to be with Jack for he has food, fire, and shelters.
In conclusion, being a man of civilization must be responsible, have emotions/feelings, and be irrational. These people are bound by rules and what we call being humane. On the other hand, being a savage is far easier for they are able to do whatever their id desires and lives with no guilt by their side. Civilization requires a person to be responsible, be mature, recognize the things that are happening around them, and keep sight of goals. Savages are required to have fun, be free, have no goals or dedication, and have no morals. Perhaps in the future, everyone will become savages and take the easy road.
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