Lord of the Flies

Corruption vs. Civilization in Lord of the Flies

William Golding's The Lord of the Flies is not simply a book about outward conflict between individuals. It is, rather, a novel about one's inner being. When the formerly-civilized British boys of Golding's novel are stranded on a desert island and must fight for survival, many of them surrender to the "Beast." Yet, contrary to the beliefs of the boys in the novel, the "Beast", or the Lord of the Flies, is not "something you could hunt and kill" (164). Instead, it is a spirit that dwells inside of a soul, slowly reducing one into complete and utter savagery. Therefore, the real conflict on the island--as shown through the character of Ralph--is inside each boy's mind. To symbolize this battle, Golding particulary uses the motifs of the pig dance, the conch, and the masks.

By dancing and singing to celebrate the brutal murdering of a pig, the boys enter into a society, or even a cult, that emphasizes brutality and sadism. The first time the boys perform this ritual, Golding describes their actions as "relieved and excited...making pig-dying noises and shouting" (81). Clearly, the boys feel a rush of exhilaration and ecstasy when they can escape their civilized manner and...

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