Lord of the Flies

Killer Savagery in "Lord of the Flies" 10th Grade

Civilization, at its core, was created to suppress barbaric instinct. However, in extreme circumstances, it is possible for instinct to prevail over civility. William Golding’s timeless Lord of the Flies is a prime example of instinct overpowering civility, along with many other important themes and ideas. Savagery and darkness are two significant motifs that reoccur in the book, both of which supply evidence to the theme of the novel that the nature of mankind is savage and dark at its core.                 

The motif of savagery beings to operate early on in the novel with the intent to disparage civility. Towards the beginning of the book, the boys have the sensible idea of building a signal fire in order to alert any ships in the area. However, this civil idea quickly turns savage, as fire quickly engulfs the entire forest, ultimately killing one of the littluns. The boys are essentially left with no control over the fire: “Small flames stirred at the trunk of a tree and crawled away through leaves and brushwood, dividing and increasing. One patch touched a tree trunk and scrambled up like a bright squirrel” (Golding 44). The author compares the fire to a...

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