William Goldberg’s Lord of the Flies Essay
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William Goldberg’s Lord of the Flies addresses many themes such as good vs evil, technological advancement vs a state of primal being, and man’s desire to have power at any cost. Set on a stranded island, perhaps being a parallelism to the Garden of Eden, and loss of innocence which occurs on the island due to corruption and folly. The story is about a group of English boys trapped on an island that seems like all fun and games at first.
Then the power starts to get to some of the boys and everything ends up going hostile. Stemming from the evil within man’s heart, serves us the battle ground for this particular fight between the never ending struggles of good vs evil. This fighting when thrown into a mixture of fear and panic, that is ever present on the island, leads to revelations of self, that encompasses all of mankind and forces us to truly think about what our two options are as a species; work together to build a better future or fall victim to the lust for power, that has always been a part of man, and doom all of us to a world of violence, hatred, and possibly extinction.
The possibility of extinction is ever present, but is always being fought by good men, while evil men embrace interaction of those who disagree with their ideology or agendas. This has been proven time and time again by the likes of men such as Hitler, Kim-Jong-Un, and now Roger. Roger killing Piggy because of his refusal to cooperate with his demands. Half of the glasses broke when Jack steals them from piggy after he and his hunters let the fire go out for the first time (71). This scene is similar to when Hitler killed scientists who refused to help him build weapons. Roger also threw rocks at the little ones just for the fun of it, also relating back the evil Hitler. Ralph however attempts using reason, logic, and trust to defeat the evil nature of Roger and his followers.
Rogers lack of conviction to always maintain high morals, leads to the killing of Simon and through that the destruction of Ralph’s innocence. Simon’s murder, from a religious point of view, symbolizes the loss of innocence, spirituality, and nobility. The boys being in this primal state leads to the deaths of multiple innocent people, and the general diminishing of their quality of life. But why would they do this? It is the easiest choice, one not accountable for action. However this lack of responsibility proves to be devastating to the chances of rescue because the ship misses them when the fire dies, while being left unintended by the hunters. The technology to be rescued was in their hands via the fire, but their negligent treatment of this technology just furthers the idea that the primal side of men is a negative aspect of humanity.
The neglect of the fire, leads to a missed opportunity for survival but why was the fire neglected? There only hope of civilization, rescue, and life. Ralph says “without the smoke signal well die here.”(139). This just shows how Ralph is afraid of death. Jack wanted to be the ultimate provider and his desire for full power over everyone got to his head. This ultimately leads to loosing perhaps the most vital aspect on the island, being their fire. This is just another example of how Jack desires for power, not only puts himself at a disadvantage but the whole tribe. As a leader it is important think about all aspects, not just what’s best for you. Golding’s story which transitions between good and evil reveals how cruel humanity really is and can be. This just shows how a civilization can be ruined if power is not used correctly. Evil, cruelty, death, and chaos shows through this innate behavior. But is this cruelty and chaos a learned behavior from environment or an innate function of man?