The Raw Side of Us: Delving into "Lord of the Flies"

Categories: Allegory


Within all of us lies a primal force, a side that surfaces when circumstances take a particular turn. William Golding's "Lord of the Flies" paints a vivid picture of how individuals can shift from order to chaos, from good to evil, and from civilization to savagery.

The novel lays bare the struggle between societal norms—law, morality, culture—and our wild instincts like anarchy, amorality, and the hunger for power. Golding, through the story, plainly says that situations can chip away at moral values, strip away innocence, and corrode democratic systems.

As we immerse ourselves in the narrative, we become witnesses to a compelling exploration of the darker facets of human nature.

Ralph: Symbol of Morality and Leadership

Ralph, the story's main character, starts as the guy who symbolizes order, practicality, and the regular person's vulnerabilities. His use of the conch early on highlights these traits and his civility. However, as things unfold, Ralph, despite leading, gets tangled in the downward spiral.

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The killing of Simon, a moment of deep moral decay, exposes the savage within him.

Ralph, at the beginning, represents the voice of reason and democratic values. The conch, a symbol of authority, is wielded by Ralph as a tool to establish order among the boys on the island. It is in these early moments that we see a glimpse of the civilized society that the boys, stranded on the island, initially attempt to establish.

However, as the story unfolds, we witness a gradual erosion of Ralph's moral standing.

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The killing of Simon, a character who embodies insight and a deeper understanding of the situation, is a turning point. It is an event that underscores the vulnerability of even those who initially hold the mantle of morality. The descent into savagery, marked by the participation in Simon's death, challenges Ralph's inherent goodness and illustrates the fragility of moral values in the face of chaos.

Jack: Symbol of Savagery and Power

Now, Jack, the troublemaker, stands for savagery, bloodlust, and an unquenchable thirst for power. The turning point? When he puts on a mask, shedding shame and self-awareness. Jack's use of fear about the beast and his hunger for power dissolve civilization and culture among the boys. The brutality of Jack's actions, like killing the sow and trying to murder Ralph, screams out his descent into savagery.

Jack, from the outset, represents a stark contrast to Ralph. While Ralph embodies order and a democratic approach to leadership, Jack is driven by a desire for power and dominance. The symbolic act of painting his face, almost like donning a mask, is a visual representation of the shedding of societal constraints. It marks the point where Jack liberates himself from the shackles of shame and self-consciousness, embracing the primal instincts that lurk within.

The dissolution of civilization and culture, orchestrated by Jack, unfolds as fear takes hold of the boys. Jack skillfully exploits this fear, using it as a tool to tighten his grip on power. The act of killing the sow, a manifestation of their descent into savagery, is a pivotal moment. It marks the point where the line between humanity and primal brutality blurs, highlighting the inevitability of man's fall into savagery under certain circumstances.

Simon: The Intellect and the Realization of Inherent Evil

Simon, the brainy one, doesn't dive into savagery. His lightbulb moment? Realizing fear is in us all, and there's no external beast. His crazy encounter with the Lord of the Flies drives home the idea that evil is a part of us. Sadly, his death at the hands of the others shows the cost of understanding the beast within.

Amidst the chaos and descent into savagery, Simon emerges as a character who retains his intellectual clarity. He serves as a contrast to the escalating brutality around him. Simon's realization that the fear stems from within, and that there is no external beast, positions him as a character who sees through the illusions created by fear and primal instincts.

Simon's encounter with the Lord of the Flies, a severed pig's head placed on a stick, is a surreal moment laden with symbolism. It becomes a manifestation of the inherent evil within each individual. The dialogue between Simon and the Lord of the Flies is a chilling exploration of the darkness dwelling within human nature. The acknowledgment that the beast is a part of each person, uttered by the Lord of the Flies, is a stark revelation that resonates throughout the narrative.

Simon's tragic demise, a consequence of his attempt to share the truth about the nonexistent external beast, serves as a poignant commentary on society's reluctance to confront the uncomfortable truths about human nature. His death at the hands of the others, who are blinded by fear and manipulated by Jack's orchestrated chaos, further underscores the theme of the innate evil that can emerge under the influence of primal instincts.

The Unleashing of Savagery

Now, looking at what happens away from civilization—Simon's death and Jack's complete dive into savagery—it's like peering into the core of human nature. Ralph's potential for murder and Jack's tribe shrugging off Simon's death lay bare the inner beast. These events highlight how being away from civilization can lead to losing religion and becoming complete savages.

The unraveling of events away from the structures of civilization provides a critical lens through which we witness the unbridled unleashing of the inner beast within each character. Ralph's contemplation of murder reflects the extent to which the veneer of civilization can erode under the weight of fear and chaos. It is a stark reminder that even those who initially championed order can succumb to the savage instincts that lie dormant within.

Jack's tribe, shrugging off Simon's death and continuing their descent into savagery, serves as a collective representation of the loss of religious and moral anchors. The orchestrated fear of the beast, manipulated by Jack, becomes a catalyst for the complete transformation of the boys into savage beings. The indifference toward the murder they committed and the relentless pursuit of power and violence underscore the profound impact of circumstances on human behavior.


To sum it up, "Lord of the Flies" digs into human nature, exposing how we can turn savage when chaos knocks on our door. Ralph, Jack, and Simon—symbols of morality, savagery, and intellect—show the tightrope between order and chaos, good and evil. The novel acts as a warning, reminding us of how fragile civilization is and how darkness is always lurking within us.

Updated: Jan 02, 2024
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The Raw Side of Us: Delving into "Lord of the Flies". (2016, Jul 31). Retrieved from

The Raw Side of Us: Delving into "Lord of the Flies" essay
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