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The End of Innocence in Lord of the Flies

The End of Innocence in Lord of the Flies

William Golding wrote the novel Lord of the Flies “to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature.”(Golding) He wanted to show that humans naturally live in savagery and ignorance with little knowledge on how to live together peacefully. To accomplish his premise Golding strands a group of boys on an island who then must set up government in an attempt to survive. The story uses heavy symbolism to compare the life on the island to the entire civilization of the world.

Each character on the island represents one aspect of civilized society; those who represent uninhibited man survive and those who represent intellectual or spiritual man die. One of the more terrifying deaths is that of Simon who symbolizes the spiritual side of humanity. Simon is a prophet. He alone saw what the others were becoming and he alone knew that the beast, feared by all the children, was in fact humanities own inner savagery. Fear was the driving force on the island, it was this fear that kept Simon from telling the others of the “true beast”, he knew that if he told them they would turn against him.

All through the book Simon is one of the few boys who works for the good of the group and never runs off during a job to go have fun. Simon sincerely cares about the other boys. He often helps the “littluns” retrieve the quality fruit from high in the trees, yet “Simon turned away from them and went where the jest perceptible path led him.”(61) Simon loves his solitude, he often wonders off into the jungle to be alone. “The assembly grinned at the thought of going out into the darkness. Then Simon stood up and Ralph looked at him in astonishment.”(93) Sim…

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…arked in a ritual and primitive dance. When the barely visible Simon came down from the mountain to tell the others of his discovery, he was thought to be the beast. As Simon emerged from the trees a mob of wild boys attacked and killed him. When the other boys learn what they had done they deny fault: ” ‘It was an accident,’ said Piggy suddenly … ‘He hadn’t no business crawling like that out of the dark.'”(173)

When Simon dies so does the truth, he is unable to tell the others about the true identity of the beast. The boys on the island foolishly destroy any attempts to be saved and unknowingly destroy the one person that could bring them salvation. Simons death shows evil is often victorious over the dwindling fight for order. With order lost the thin veneer, which is civilization, erodes and mankind revert back to his ancient primitiveness.

Exposing the Human Soul in Lord of the Flies

Exposing the Human Soul in Lord of the Flies

William Golding in his novel Lord of the Flies symbolically describes the degeneration of a civilized society in three stages. Embedded within this story of a group of young boys struggling to survive alone on a deserted island are insights to the capacity of evil within the human soul and how it can completely destroy society. After a plane crash that results in their inhabitation of the island, the boys establish a democratic society that thrives on order, necessity, and unity. Slowly, however, the peaceful society that they create shatters through a path of hatred, disrespect, murder, and the release of the true human soul.

Upon a desolate tropical island, the lost boys begin to organize themselves to gain a sense of stability, order, and brotherhood. They elect Ralph, the oldest boy at twelve years of age, as leader and use a conch found in the lagoon as a symbol of democracy and respect. Two other children, Jack, the head of a choir group, and Simon, a small but intellectual boy, accompany Ralph on an expedition to determine whether the land is truly an island. They find that it is indeed true, and compose a plan to light a fire on the beach to create smoke; their only hope of rescue. After they obtain the glasses of an intelligent and rather fat child called “Piggy,” they make a fire using the sunlight and glass lenses. However, the fire spreads to the forest quickly and destroys the group’s supply of firewood. The boys shrug this off as an accident and Ralph and Simon commence work on shelters.

They begin to build a society that contains rules and government. “‘I agree with Ralph,’ states Jack. ‘We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After a…

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…tegrate in the evil within themselves.

They start in peace and end in hatred and murder. With the exception of Ralph and Piggy, the boys completely abandon reason, civilization, and the thought of rescue. They fight the harmless “beast” that terrifies them, not knowing that something so much more fearful, deadly, and destructive lie within themselves. Being human, they have a capacity for evil inside of their soul that is immeasurable and can destroy the life of everyone around them, including their own. They never realize this and continue to break their “morals,” which were simply superficial rules of society that were fed to them unwillingly. They act upon these morals despite their own thoughts and emotions. The latter is the definition of civilization. As it wears away layer after layer in this book, the true human soul is bared, naked and fearless.

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