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Golding’s View of Man and War Exposed in Lord of the Flies

Golding’s View of Man and War Exposed in Lord of the Flies

“…Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart” (Golding 223). An author’s view of human behavior is often reflected in their writing. The novel, Lord of the Flies, by William Golding is an example of a literary work that demonstrates the author’s view of man, as well his opinion of war.

Golding’s Lord of the Flies is highly demonstrative of Golding’s opinion that society is a thin and fragile veil that when removed shows man for what he truly is, a savage animal. Perhaps the best demonstration of this given by Golding is Jack’s progression to the killing of the sow. Upon first landing on the island Jack, Ralph, and Simon go to survey their new home. Along the way the boys have their first encounter with the island’s pigs. They see a piglet caught in some of the plants. Quickly Jack draws his knife so as to kill the piglet. Instead of completing the act, however, Jack hesitates. Golding states that, “The pause was only long enough for them to realize the enormity of what the downward stroke would be” (Golding page #). Golding is suggesting that the societal taboos placed on killing are still ingrained within Jack.

The next significant encounter in Jack’s progression is his first killing of a pig. There is a description of a great celebration. The boys chant “Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood” (Golding page #). It is clear from Golding’s description of the revelry that followed the killing that the act of the hunt provided the boys with more than food. The action of killing another living thing gives them pleasure. The last stage in Jack’s metamorphosis is demonstrated by the murder of the sow. Golding describes the killing almost as a rape. He says, “Jack was on top of the sow, stabbing downward wherever pig flesh appeared … Jack found the throat, and the hot blood spouted over his hands. The sow collapsed under them and they were heavy and fulfilled upon her” (Golding page #). In this case it is certain that the boys display animal savagery.

Because they have been away from organized society for such a long time, the boys of the island have become Golding’s view of mankind, vile, destructive beasts.

Democracy to Dictatorship in Lord of the Flies

Democracy to Dictatorship in Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies by William Golding is a novel that represents a microcosm of society in a tale about children stranded on an island. Of the group of young boys there are two who want to lead for the duration of their stay, Jack and Ralph. Through the opposing characters of Jack and Ralph, Golding reveals the gradual process from democracy to dictatorship from Ralph’s democratic election to his lack of law enforcement to Jack’s strict rule and his violent law enforcement.

Upon the arrival of the boys to the island Jack immediately found himself in the center of a power struggle. Although the conflict was brief, there was still a very obvious confrontation between Jack and Ralph. Once the boys had assembled themselves there was an election to see who was to be chief. Despite the fact that Ralph was voted leader, the desire to be in command never left Jack. Jack already had some leadership skills, being head choirboy at his old school, and he continuously challenged Ralph. The greatest source of conflict between Jack and Ralph was the debate over the necessity of maintaining a fire. Ralph felt that it was necessary to keep it burning at all times while Jack believed that hunting pigs and getting meat was much more essential.

Ralph was elected shortly after their arrival to the island, but his time in power came to end quite gradually. He tried to run his group through a democratic type system in which all major decision were first discussed at an assembly before they were put into action. At these assemblies his views were questioned not only by Jack, but by the other boys as well. Even the ideas that the assembly could agree on usually weren’t pu…

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…rd. Lord of the Flies. By William Golding. New York: Berkley, 1954.

Gunton, Sharon R., ed. Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 17. Detroit: Gale, 1981. 68 vols.

Magill, Frank N., ed. Masterplots. Vol. 2. Englewood Cliffs: n.p., 1949. 3 vols.


1. Your paper could have been stronger had you used more quotes. Each time you make a specific point concerning the novel, you should back up your point by using a specific quote from that novel. That way your readers have proof that your point is valid.

2. Also when quoting you must always place in parentheses the name of the author and the page on which the quote can be found. This way your readers can look up the quotes for themselves.

3. Quotation marks (“”) should be uses to surround the whole quote while apostrophes (”) should be used to surround inner speeches of quotes.

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