Savagery in The Lord of the Flies Essay
Savagery in The Lord of the Flies
“At once the crowd surged after it, poured down the rock, leapt onto the beast, screamed, struck, bit, tore” (139). This brawl takes place when the boys’ believe Simon is “the beast”, so they attack and kill him. The author of this novel, Golding, is very wise about his word choice during this whole novel; he wants the boys’ to be shown in a way that portrays them as having instincts towards savagery. One way he achieves this is by using specific words to describe how the boys’ have become unkempt, unpolished and messy during their stay at the Island.
Obviously, since the boys’ have been trapped on this Island for quite some time, readers would imagine that they would figure out how to take bath’s and wash up, but of course they do not. In addition, Golding uses his diction to make the boys’ seem violent, which is a characteristic of a savage. Throughout this book, the boys’ repeatedly fight, and cause harm to one another and the author emphasizes these actions by his word choice. Furthermore, the boys’ are perceived as enraged by the reader because of the authors’ diction, and this reveals the boys’ instincts towards savagery.
According to Dictionary. com, savage is defined as being, “uncivilized and barbarous”. Golding, the author of “Lord of the Flies”, displays the boys’ instincts towards savagery by displaying careful diction throughout the chapters that make the boys’ out to be barbaric. Throughout the course of the novel, Golding uses thoughtful diction to develop the boys’ instinct towards savagery by presenting them as unpolished which is a factor of being barbaric. “He would like to have a bath, a proper wallow with soap” (99). When the author stated this, the boys had been on the island for quite a while.
Obviously, the boys had no access to soap while on the island, so they became dirty from everyday activities such as gathering wood, building shelter, and hunting pigs. Because the boys did not have access to soap, there is no plausible way they would get thoroughly washed. Since the boys became filthy over the course of their time on the island and could not get entirely clean, this causes them to become unpolished. “Unpolished” means to be dirty, untrimmed or unsophisticated. By Goldings’ use of the word “bath”, and “soap”, this immediately creates a picture of someone taking a cleansing bath.
This causes the reader to infer that the boys’ are in fact savage because they are the opposite of clean; they are dirty. The boys present themselves as being dirty by showering without soap; thus making them improperly cleaned. Also, the boys demonstrate instinct towards savagery by being unpolished by growing out their hair. Being unpolished is part of being a savage or being barbaric, (they are synonyms), because savages’ do not comb their hair and make an effort to stay clean; they just stay dirty.
Also, the boys’ demonstrate being unpolished by growing out their hair. “Diffidently, Simon allowed his pace to slacken until he was walking side by side with Ralph and looking up at him through the course black hair that now fell to his eyes” (94). In this phrase, the author is implying that Simon’s hair use to be short and has grown. When Golding chooses the diction “now”, this implies that Simon’s hair was once short and is “now” long. But if Golding discarded the word “now” in that phrase, then the reader would infer that Simon had long hair to begin with.
So it is important that Golding includes the word “now” so that the reader can pick up that the boys’ hair has grown longer. At this point in the book, the boys have been stuck on the island for a little while and have clearly decided not to cut their hair. But theoretically speaking they could not cut their hair because they have no access to scissors. As a result of not having scissors to cut their hair, they become unpolished. When their hair grows this makes them look unpolished because their hair is untrimmed, in their eyes, and messy.
By the boys’ not trimming their hair, their instincts towards savagery shine through because savages continue to grow out their hair all the way to the ground, whereas civilized human beings’ maintain their hair at a cleanly cut length. In conclusion, the author makes the boys’ come off as unpolished because of his use of words such as “bath”, “soap”, and “now” showing them as unpolished. Most importantly, the boys’ instincts towards savagery are shown by Golding’s diction demonstrating them as violent, which is part of being barbaric. For example, the hunters say, “’Kill the beast!
Cut his throat! Spill his blood! ’” (138). The boys’ chanted this right before they disturbingly killed Simon, a friend they mistake for the beast. He is mistaken for being the beast because he crawled out of the forest to tell the boy’s that the beast was in fact a pig’s head, but the boys’ did not listen because they had been acting out the killing of a pig, so their adrenaline was very intense. Also, Simon was very mysterious and wandered around places by himself, so the boys’ became very suspicious that he was the beast. When the boys’ refer to the beast”, they are talking about a monster that some believe is on the island. When Golding uses the word’s “kill”, and “cut”, this assures us that the boys’ have instincts to be savage by being violent.
Violent is defined as being destructive and unrestrained. The word “kill” portrays them as violent because they are taking the life of another, and that is very destructive because they are affecting not only their victim but the victims loved ones as well. The diction of “cut” causes the reader to infer that the boy’s are violent because cutting a person causes them pain, and is destructive to the victim’s body. Cut” and “kill” represent instinct towards savagery because savages’ kill animals by cutting them and this is a very harsh way of killing a living thing. These are harsh violent acts because they inflict scorching pain on others’ and are very unnecessary; they boys’ have fruit available that they can eat. The words “cut” and “kill” also represent being barbaric because savage and barbaric are synonyms and the words “cut” and “kill” represent instincts towards savagery. Ultimately, the boys’ instincts towards savagery are shown by Golding’s diction of “cut” and “kill”.
Furthermore, Golding takes advantage of his word choice to show the boys’ instincts towards savagery when, “Ralph hit Jack in the stomach and made him grunt” (162). Before Ralph hit Jack, Ralph called an assembly that addressed the need for everyone to help with a fire on the island in order to get rescued and for Jack to return Piggy’s glasses to him. The reason why Ralph attacked Jack was because Jack hit him in the ear because Ralph called him a rude name. Ralph called him a mean name because Jack believes the boys’ should hunt, and Ralph wants to get rescued.
After Ralph and Jack get into an altercation, Piggy preaches to the boys’ about being civil and lighting a fire, and then the boys’ kill him. Hit is defined as striking an individual and that can lead to bruising and pain. Since Golding uses the word “hit” to describe one of the boys’ actions, this displays their instinct towards savagery. The term “hit” means to strike an individual with harmful purposes. Hitting shows violent characteristics because it causes pain and suffering. By the boys’ hitting each other, it shows that they have instincts towards savagery because they are causing pain to each other which is uncivilized.
Savage is defined as being uncivilized. On the other hand, if the boys’ were not hitting each other, and playing and arguing verbally instead of violently, then this would show civilized and polite manners. But they perform the opposite tasks; therefore they have opposite characteristics of a civilized person. Being violent is a part of having instincts towards savagery because savages hurt, kill and harm others, and those are considered violent actions. In short, Golding uses thoughtful diction such as hit” and “kill” to show the boys’ instincts towards savagery by making the boys’ seem violent.
Equally important is that Golding takes advantage of cautious diction to make the boys’ instincts towards savagery shown by portraying them as enraged, and enraged is a characteristic of being barbaric. During some of the chapters the boys’ get angry emotions. For example, “A sick fear and rage swept him” (169). This emotion happened to the character, Ralph, while he was hiding from the boys’ that were hunting him and he was with the pigs’ head (or the beast). He felt rage because he was isolated and all of the boys’ were hunting him. At the end of this chapter the boys’ were found by a few officers.
Enraged is a characteristic of being barbaric because barbaric people are angry most of the time from being violent with one another because they have no self control. Barbaric people had no self control because they were never taught any manners. Being barbaric is being a savage because barbaric and savage are synonyms according to Dictionary. com. On behalf of Golding using the word choice “rage”, this shows that the boys’ have instincts towards being savages because they are mad. Being full of “rage” is a signal of being a savage because savages are angry most of the time. And being full of rage is uncivilized, which is barbaric.
For example, savages kill people constantly because they are violent, and killing is an act of violence which is an act that barbaric people carry out. While they are killing someone they are usually feeling some gust of rage; obviously they would not be feeling joyous and wonderful while they are committing such a terrible act. So they would be feeling the opposite of happy while killing a person; they would feel mad and enraged. Beyond that, Golding uses his word choice to demonstrate to the boys’ instinct towards savagery by making the reader see them as enraged by the character’s yelling angrily at one another. Jack shouted angrily” (162).
Jack was shouting at his hunters’ to grab Sam and Eric because he wanted the two little boys’ to be tied up and turned into hunters. Jacks’ ultimate goal was to turn everyone against Ralph and eventually kill him with his hunters backing him up. His hunters were all of the boys’ on the Island with the exception of Sam, Eric, and Ralph of course. However, Jack only succeeded in one of these tasks; turning all of the boys’ against Ralph. By Goldings’ use of the word, “angrily”, this shows the reader that the boys’ have become savage.
This fact is because the word “angrily” is a synonym for the word enraged, according to Dictionary. com. Since the words “angrily” and enraged are similar, this means that Golding purposefully tried to display the characters as enraged, thus attempting to make them seem savage to the reader. “Angrily” is a description of having instincts towards savagery because savages do tasks madly quite often; they kill animals and people madly because they have adrenaline pumping and they are mad while they kill so that they will not hesitate.
If they were to hesitate killing a live animal or human it would be because they were happy, or felt remorse for their prey, so it is crucial that they carry out their task angrily so they can get the job done. Being barbaric and the word “angrily” are connected because acting “angrily” is a task of barbaric people because acting barbaric is acting uncivilized, which is the definition of savagery. And savagery and barbaric are synonyms. All in all, Golding uses careful word choice to show the boys’ instinct towards savagery by showing them as enraged, and being enraged is a trait of being a barbaric individual.
All throughout the novel, “The Lord of the Flies”, Golding uses word choice to show the boys’ instincts towards savagery by proving them to be barbaric. He uses words such as “tangled”, and “knotted” to show the reader that the boys’ have become very gross, and dirty. By the boys’ becoming disgusting, and unpolished they turned into savages; being unpolished is a part of being a savage because savages do not care how dirty they become. Golding also takes the word “kill” to portray the boys’ as being savages because killing another human being is very violent, and being violent is a characteristic of having instincts towards savagery.
Moreover, Golding use a word such as “angrily” to make the reader believe that the boys’ have instincts towards savagery by being enraged. Being angry is part of being a savage because savages act off of strong emotion, and being enraged is a strong emotion and Jack is described as doing something “angrily”, so he is a savage because he is angry. Being barbaric is a summary of all of these traits of a beast because barbaric people are messy, and they do not care if their appearance makes others’ perceive them as unprofessional and lazy; therefore they are unpolished.
Barbaric individuals are also violent because they kill animals for food and that is considered an act of violence. Lastly the boys’ are barbaric because they are enraged throughout the novel, and barbaric people are mad a majority of the time because they are very violent and they harm each other often. All of these characteristics are barbaric because they are all “uncivilized” traits of a human being. For example, a civilized human being would stay clean, stray clear from violence, and be happy a majority of the time.
These are all of the opposite actions of the boy’s. Ultimately, the boys’ are shown as barbaric by Goldings’ diction demonstrating their instinct towards savagery because being barbaric is considered being unpolished, violent, and enraged, and the boys’ are all of these three things. Being barbaric shows the boys’ instincts towards savagery because barbaric is also a synonym for the word “savage” according to Dictionary. com. All of the reader’s that have the privilege of reading this novel can learn quite a few lessons from it.
The most important lesson is that rules are there to maintain order; not to cause unruly punishment. For instance if the boys’ on the Island would have listened to Ralph about always having a fire going(which is a rule), then they would have gone home earlier and Piggy and Simon most likely would not have died. This is significant because even though most of us will never be unfortunate enough get trapped on an Island, we can learn the importance of rules and order through the dramatic emphasis of rules the author succeeds in making by the killing of two innocent boys’.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 2 October 2016
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