Mankind is inherently cruel and savage. Discuss with close reference to the text.
Lord of the Flies is an allegorical novel written by William Golding in 1954. Set during the time of World War II, the novel outlines the unfortunate story of a plane that crashes on an remote island in the Pacific Ocean. The only survivors, a group of young boys, have to learn to survive with the little resources they have and encounter many struggles with each other on their time on the island. As an attempt to recreate the culture the boys left behind, they elect one of the main characters, Ralph, as their chief. As jealousy and conflict arises amongst the schoolboys, their hierarchy system collapses. The novel discusses significant themes such as Good versus Evil and Speech and Silence. Mankind is inherently cruel and savage, and although many elements of society have and will change, the savage nature of mankind will always remain the same, and Golding’s novel effectively reflects this.
Good versus Evil is an extremely evident and exaggerated theme throughout the novel. It is obvious that Golding exaggerates the intrinsic good and evil present in the boys on the island and uses many characters to portray this. The struggle between good and evil distinctly takes the roles of Ralph and Jack. Ralph and Jack’s competitive relationship is thoroughly portrayed throughout the novel, particularly when both characters compete for the position of chief, “Seems to me we ought to have a chief to decide things”. As Ralph claims victory of the battle for chief, Jack’s embarrassment is demonstrated through imagery, “The freckles on Jack’s face disappeared under a blush of mortification”. The battle between good and evil is also represented by the extremely symbolic encounter between Simon, depicted as the virtuous figure, and the sow’s head, depicted as the villainous figure. As the author interprets Simon as spiritual, the sow’s head also has deep religious connotations. The sow's head is symbolic of Satan, in contrast with Simon, yet it reflects a nefarious evil rather than a physical devil. Golding uses a wicked tone, “You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you? Close, close, close! I’m the reason why it’s no go?”, to mirror the immorality of the sow’s head as it speaks to Simon. Mankind is inherently cruel and savage. Although many elements of society have and will change, the savage nature of mankind will always remain the same, and Golding’s novel effectively reflects this.
Speech and Silence is a subtle yet significant theme repeated throughout the novel. Golding consistently represents verbal communication as the sole property of civilization, whereas…