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Inherent Evil in Lord of the Flies

Inherent Evil in Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies provides one with a clear understanding of Golding’s view of human nature. Whether this view is right or wrong is a point to be debated. This image Golding paints for the reader, that of humans being inherently bad, is a perspective not all people share. Lord of the Flies is but an abstract tool of Golding’s to construct the idea of the inherent evil of human nature in the minds of his readers. To construct this idea of the inherent evil, Golding employs the symbolism of Simon, Ralph, the hunt and the island.

Golding drives the point that the instinctual evil within man is inescapable. At one point in the book, when the Lord of the Flies is representing all evil, this theory is stated as, “The Lord of the Flies was expanding like a balloon” (Golding 130). Along with this idea is the religious symbolism that is used for ineffectively confronting the evil. At a point in the book, Golding has Simon, symbolic of Jesus Christ, confront the Lord of the Flies. This is a pig’s head on a stick that is imagined to talk and represent the evil in all humans. Simon tries to act and spread the knowledge of this evil to others but is killed. This is a direct reference to the death of Christ, alluding to the Holy Bible.

At many points throughout Lord of the Flies, Golding writes for the characters to become gradually more and more evil. This attribute even reaches the symbols of goodness and order, such as Ralph. Once, when Ralph and Piggy go to the feast on Jack’s beach, they begin to meld with the others and their evil ways. “Piggy and Ralph, under the threat of the sky, found themselves eager to take a place in this demented but partly secure society” (Golding 138). This really only proves their common longing for a place with others, not any depth of evilness.

Golding also has all of the characters eventually participate in the hunts, his representation of an evil ritual that humans perform. By having all of the characters practice this, he illustrates his belief that everyone is susceptible to turning evil. This is not necessarily true. Humans develop their own dedications to their own beliefs, morals, and ethics.

Jack as Symbol of Anarchy and Savagery in Lord of the Flies

Jack as Symbol of Anarchy and Savagery in Lord of the Flies

Golding’s motives for choosing the island setting for the novel, Lord of the Flies was to have the characters isolated, where the laws of their governments could not reach them. The boys on the island represented a microcosm of world society. Golding chose children because they have not yet been fully conditioned by society to understand right from wrong, and thus are guided by their instinct and what is inherent within them. Golding uses a great deal of symbolism throughout the novel. Different characters provide different symbols. Jack is a symbol of savagery and anarchy. Golding relates the inherent evil with Jack to the evil and cruelty of the larger world, which we all share.

When Jack first arrives on the island he is excited to have rules for their new settlement. Jack exclaims,” We’ll have rules!’ he cried excitedly. ‘Lots of rules” (33)! Jack Merridew is a young boy, probably the same age as Ralph, possibly older. Golding describes Jack as “tall, thin and bony; and his hair was red beneath the black cap. His face was crumpled and freckled, and ugly without silliness. Out of this face stared two light blue eyes, frustrated now, and turning, or ready to turn, to anger” (20). Jack’s eyes are always used in the novel to depict his emotions, as they are in the quote above. When the boys land on the island they are all wearing their school uniforms, but Jack and his choir are wearing cloaks and caps. Oddly enough, Jack is one of the only boys whose last name …

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…sition. For example, you could spend a paragraph on Jack’s transition from a boy unwilling to kill a pig, to savagely killing the mother pig to killing Simon and Piggy and finally to hunting Ralph. Then you could spend another paragraph on Jack’s transition from acting as a rule-abiding member of the group to leaving the group and finally to taking over the group. You could also, spend a paragraph discussing Jack’s physical transition, from the school-boy uniform at the beginning of the novel to the savage beast hiding behind the mask at the end of the novel. Organizing your paper in this fashion allows you to separate and discuss each aspect of Jack’s transition clearly and thoroughly.

2. You should use quotes throughout your paper and not just in the beginning. Your last few paragraphs do not have any support from the novel itself.

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