Lord of the Flies was written in the 50’s, a decade or so after the war. The war demonstrated the savagery of the human race most famously so with the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The book is a reflection of Golding’s pessimism of human nature. The island becomes a microcosm of the wider world where fallen human nature leads to a huge war. When all the boys meet together in chapter 2, there is initially some conflict between Ralph and Jack, but this is just a struggle of ego’s and not necessarily showing any kind of savagery.
There is at first an agreement to order the island with a democratic system, and this is first represented by the “conch”, which is in effect the symbol for democracy on the island. “I’ll give the conch to the next person to speak. He can hold it when he’s speaking. ” Originally we see the boys as mildly presentable, most noticeably the choir who are introduced to us in a formation all in identical black clothing ” Each boy wore a square black cap with a silver badge in it.
Their bodies from throat to ankle, were hidden with black cloaks. But soon all the boys except Piggy become far more scruffy and disorganised and eventually develop animalistic behaviour. These traits are most prominent in Jack. Here are some quotes showing his less civilised appearance “Tattered shorts”, hair is “considerably longer”, “His bare back was a mass of dark freckles and peeling sunburn. ” He is described as “dog like”, “flared nostrils” “hiss of indrawn breath”, eyes are “bolting and nearly mad. ” He speaks more aggressively now aswell as being offensive “suddenly Jack shouted in rage” “Are you accusing? He and his now group of “hunters” which in itself is a descent into savagery turning a group of choir boys to hunters now discover bloodlust and have somewhat of an obsession with hunting.
Lord Of The Flies Savagery Essay
On Jack’s first hunting attempt we saw reluctance in killing the pig. Perhaps because his consience is trying to prevent him from crossing the line into savagery. The next time Jack sees the pig he attacks it with no hesitation at all. “He swung back his right arm and hurled the spear with all his strength. “compulsion to kill” Not only does he not hesitate when hunting anymore but he actually enjoys it as stated by Ralph “But you like it! ” “You want to hunt. ” Which is not followed by a denial from Jack. Hunting is becoming a personal preoccupation for him. “Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood. ” Is Jack’s most emphatic statement concerning hunting, and cements the idea in the reader’s head Jack is now a savage.
His attitude rubs of on the boys, they become more savage and are made into a tribe, with painted faces and a desire to kill. The boy’s sat down and panted like dogs. ” “paint our faces so they wouldn’t see-surround them and then.. ” An example of Jack’s attitude rubbing of on the choir boys is when Roger and Maurice kick over the littluns sand castles “kicking them over, burying the flowers, scattering the chosen stones. Maurice followed, laughing, and added to the destruction. ” The fact that the small boys were known with the generic title of littluns and bullied about due to the social heirachy in place is explained by the fact there is no society where the boys are.
No mothers watching their children the society is their own, and with those rules out of place Golding shows, this cruel nature is in all of us, but society restricts us from demonstrating it. “Maurice had received chastisement for filling a younger eye with sand. Now there was no parent to let fall a heavy hand. ” The whole system of democracy begins to fail early on in the book, Jack’s stubbornness to cooperate is a main cause of this, he hunts on his own and takes away many of the boys from democracy “All at once the crowd swayed towards the island and were gone-following Jack.
Most of the boys do not play their part in the democratic society “They’re off bathing, or eating, or playing” Ralph makes meetings and everyone talks and makes decisions, but very rarely are these ideas actually into action “Every day. Twice a day. We talk. ” Jack insists on dictatorship, he breaks the rules frequently and likes to control the group and not hear others views. Eventually he breaks away from the group and forms his own, who are complete savages and only seek to cause destruction upon the island.
He becomes somewhat of a tribal chief, dressing himself up as an “idol” The move from democracy to dictatorship is shown through tribal dancing, chanting, feasting, disregard for the littluns. The tribe do not use names, they sacrifice a pigs head to the beast. The conch loses power throughout the book mainly because of Jack manipulating its purpose and rules. For instance he says the conch doesn’t count at the top of the mountain and eventually it is destroyed in the fight between the two tribes.
One can also detect the descend into savagery through the events of the boys using rocks and stones and making fires. The great rock of pink granite is the meeting place of the boys for meetings and could therefore be seen as the physical symbol of organisation, democracy and civilisation manifested on the island. Rocks and stones are soon items that aggression are taken out, for example there is a part of the book where Roger throws stones at Henry, even though he deliberately misses him because the way he acted in a civilised society is still fresh in his mind. here, invisible yet strong, was the taboo of the old life. ”
He is excited at the prospect of mastery over Henry’s actions, an emotion showing fallen human nature. In Chapter 6 we see a party led by Ralph and Jack lead a party to hunt the beast on a previously unexplored part of the island. All but Ralph become restless with the challenge of being rescued and are instead compelled to tip over rocks, but this time it has a darker motive. The rocks are not just tipped for fun as they were with Jack, Simon and Ralph early on, but they are tools of losing aggression.
The climax of rock tipping is met when Ralph and Piggy and the twins go to Jack’s tribe on the fort. Roger finds a rock that would be suitable to crush the people down below “a log had been jammed under the topmost rock and another lever under that… a full effort would send the rock thundering down. ” Note that Roger no longer hesitates when it comes to using rocks to inflict pain, the invisible force that is his civilised self is now gone. Roger pushes the rock down and kills Piggy, the group have commited a deliberate act of murder and it completes the descendance of his tribe into evil, savage behaviour.
The conch “exploded into a thousand tiny fragments” and “ceased to exist” this is a symbol of the complete and utter annhialation of democracy, order, and civilization. It holds the significance of Piggy’s glasses being broken (the breakdown of true vision) but on a grander scale. Also fire holds a role in the descent into savagery, originally fire is a good thing. It seems as though it is the boys escape from the island and perhaps their only hope, this would be done by sending up smoke which they hoped would be seen by a passing boat/ship “If a ship comes near the island they may notice us.
So we must make smoke on top of the mountain. ” This plan eventually turns into an assault on nature, the fire “crawled through leaves and brushwood” “was savage with smoke and flame” The fire spreads across the island and Golding suggests the death of the boy with the mulberry birthmark. Golding is perhaps demonstrating symbolically how all humans are born with the mark of original sin, and are destined to be evil and go to hell. This is suggested by the line “Piggy looked nervously into hell. The task of keeping the rescue fire alight becomes increasingly difficult, Jack’s group finds hunting a more desirable occupation and only Ralph, Piggy and Simon are left with the fire. A turning point in the book is when the fire goes out and a ship goes by without noticing the boys. The fire going out is symbolic of the hope of being rescued dying out, and the ship going away shows the boys going further and further from civilisation.
The hunters later come back and look disappointed that the fire is gone, but a dead pig on the fire rises their spirits and it seems that eating the dead pig seems more important to them than the prospect of rescue, which is a demonstration of the group turning to savagery. At one point when Sam and Eric are guarding the fire, the flames illuminate the outline of the dead parachutist, this invokes fear them and they run away convinced they have seen “the beast. ” Fear is then felt by all in the group at some point, even the rationally Piggy is swept away by supersticion.
It is fear that is detrimental to the state of the group, sincere statements from Sam and Eric leave little room for doubt. “We’ve seen the beast with our own eyes-No we weren’t asleep” they even give a detailed account of how the beast chased them through the forest. The groups response was a strong one “The circle of boys shrank away in horror. ” Sam and Eric’s irrational fear has been passed to all other boys, even those who try to combat it feel fear, even Simon is fearful of it “However Simon thought of the beast, there rose before his inward sight the picture of a human race once heroic and sick.
Even though the boys descend from civilisation into savagery there are glimpses of their previous states of mind even in the light of their situation. Boys state their addresses and Jack flinches when describing how he killed a pig. “Percival Wemys Madison, The Vicarage, Harcourt St. Anthony, Hants, telephone, telephone, telephone” Civilisation is in the boys minds, but gradually savagery descends and we see all traces of society fade away, most noticeably in Jack’s new found bloodlust and lack of hesitation when killing pigs.