William Golding and Ralph Essay

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Words: 781
Pages: 4

The Evolution of Savagery

In the novel, Lord of the Flies, William Golding uses the characters Ralph, Simon, and Jack to portray his perspective on society. Golding tells the story of a group of British boys who are left to fend for themselves on an island after their plane had crash-landed. Golding uses the character Ralph to portray civilization. In the beginning of the novel, Ralph, who represents the common man, summons all the boys on the island with the conch to hold a meeting. As boys reveal their names, Ralph embarrasses Piggy by introducing him by the nickname that he asked Ralph not to call him. Later, Piggy complains to Ralph “you told ‘em. After what I said,” but Ralph brushes it off as nothing (25). In doing so, Ralph arrogantly gains the feeling of supremacy, making Piggy feel incompetent and humiliated. Golding is showing how the individuals of society are selfish when it comes to the competition of who holds power. During the meeting, the boys decide to hold an election in order to choose a leader. Many of the boys vote “him with the shell” as their leader because as Ralph holds the conch, the boys see his “size and attractive appearance” and an authoritative figure who reeks of order and maturity (22). When in fact, it was Piggy’s idea to blow the conch and hold the meeting. Ralph claimed Piggy’s idea as his own to deceive the boys, making them believe not only is he physically attractive but that he is also intelligent. Golding uses this scene to show how some individuals who make up society will betray one another to acquire dominance. From the beginning to end of the novel, Golding slowly shows us how man’s dark side starts to override human goodness through the character Simon. During the beginning of the novel when the boys’ plane first crashed, they try to start their own civilization with rules and responsibilities that each boy must carry. Simon is the only one who has the decency to pick the fruits that are too high to reach for the little ones and carries on the task of building huts when the others start to get lazy and stop (50; 56). Simon is the only one who demonstrates man’s ability to be civilized. Golding is showing that man’s good side can be present while existing in a world of evil. However, Golding has many of the boys fall into temptation of savagery instead of maintaining human goodness. In the middle of the novel, when Simon is experiencing his seizure, he tries to return to the boys and tell them about the parachutist on the mountain. However, Simon is so weak that he has to crawl just to get to them. The boys mistakenly assume him as the beast and kill him with their bare hands as they “screamed, struck, bit, tore.” (153). Golding is literally showing man’s inner savage destroying his ability of righteousness. With the use of Simon, it is justified that without rules and order, man…