hye there,mr/miss coco,here's the essay as promised..
Lord of the Flies explores the premise that children are savages by nature and without adult guidance or supervision, the entire spectrum of this dark side would be manifested in full force.
Discuss the above statement with close reference to the evidence in the novel.
The novel ‘Lord of the Flies’ is written by William Golding shortly after the end of World War II. The novel tells us about a group of English boys who are stranded on an island during the period of war. They discover that the island is inhabited and therefore, they attempt to create their own society in order to sort things out while waiting for rescue. However, as time passes by, things begin to get out of control. This is because they are extremely young and plus, there are no adults to guide them on the island. In the end, although they are rescued, everything is in vain since they have lost most of the important things in life including their civilised way of life. The event clearly shows that children are not innocent as they are savages by nature. Without adult guidance or supervision, the entire spectrum of this dark side inherent in them would be manifested in full force. This statement will be discussed, analysed and justified further with close reference to the characters, plot and literary devices in the novel.
The main character in this novel, Ralph is described as having an athletic figure and handsome in some way. This description can be seen in chapter 1, The Sound of the Shell (p. 11). As the main protagonist and the main representative of order and civilisation in the novel, he devotes himself to convince all the other boys that they are all going to be rescued. Therefore he is elected as the leader of the group based on this reason (Lord of the flies study guide, n.d.). In the beginning, Ralph always reminds all the other boys that they will only be rescued by cooperating among each other (Lord of the flies study guide, n.d.). He insists that they build a shelter and keep a close eye at the signal fire. When most of the boys begin to give in to the basic instincts of bloodlust and barbarism, Ralph definitely could not bring himself to understand the reason of why it occurs. This indicates that Ralph is still maintaining his civilised way of life. But as time passes by, he begins to understand that savagery does exist within all of them (Lord of the flies study guide, n.d.). Upon noticing this, Ralph is determined to prevent it from overtaking him. Therefore, in chapter 9, A View to a Death (p. 183), he joins the feast meant for Jack’s tribe in order to prevent the situation from getting worse and not as an act of giving in to the savagery that is inherent within him. However, while attending Jack’s feast, Ralph is swept away by the frenzy and involves in the killing of Simon. Apart from that, when Ralph goes for hunting for the very first time in chapter 6, Beast from Air (p. 128), he feels the exhilaration and thrill of bloodlust and violence. In other word, he is excited upon going to hunt and manages to get caught up in the adventure of going hunting. This shows that Ralph begins to lose his grip on civilisation and is heading towards savagery which exists within him. From all of these occurrences, it is obvious that children are savages by nature because even the determined child like Ralph who is first portrayed as a good character, cannot suppress his sense of savagery without adult’s guidance.
If Ralph is depicted as the primary representative of order and civilization in this novel, Jack on the other hand is Ralph’s main rival. This is because Jack is the primary representative of the instinct of savagery, violence and the ultimate desire for power (Lord of the flies study guide, n.d.). In the beginning of the novel, we can see that Jack still maintains his sense of humanity and sanity. This is because when he first encounters the pig in chapter 1, The Sound of the Shell, he could not bring himself to put an end to the pig’s life (p. 40). It seems that Jack considers this kind of act would be too cruel to be executed by a young lad like him. It is the moment of realisation that stops him from committing the sin (Lord of the flies study guide, n.d.). However, after the pig disappears; he vows to himself that it he would not let that happen again. Therefore it could be depicted that from that point of time in the novel, Jack’s sense of humanity and sanity has begun to deteriorate. This is entirely true because after this particular event, he has become obsessed with the killing of the pig. Jack even begins to forget about being rescued and is more concerned of catching a pig. This is clearly depicted in chapter 3, Huts on the Beach, during Jack’s journey with Ralph upon inspecting the fire at the mountain. When Ralph tells him about the best thing that they can do is to get themselves rescued, Jack has to think for a moment before the word makes any sense to him (p. 67). From this, it is portrayed that Jack has let his own impulse towards savagery to overcome his sense of civilisation. This shows that, without adult’s guide and supervision, it will be impossible for a young lad like Jack to suppress the innate savagery which exists within him.
Apart from that, the impact from lack of adult supervision in shaping a child’s behavior can be seen from one of the plot in chapter 4, Painted Faces and Long Hair (p. 75). When two of the older boys, Roger and Maurice come out of the forest for a swim, they tend to express their superiority over the littluns by kicking the sand castles built by the littluns on the shore. While doing so, Maurice gets sand in Percival’s eye. Upon committing such act, he feels guilty because he remembers how his mother used to chastise him before. Since his mother is not there, he will not be punished and there is no reason that stops him to commit such an act again in the future. This clearly shows how lack of adult’s supervision will convert a child to savage. Then, when Roger sees another littlun, Henry being preoccupied by some small creatures on the beach, he picks up a stone and throws at Henry. It is stated that he throws it to miss by perhaps six yards in diameter, because of the taboos of earlier life (p. 78). The taboos refer to the protection of parents, school, policeman and the law which are surrounding Henry back in the civilised society. It seems that Roger is still able to maintain a civilized way of life (Lord of the flies study guide, n.d. ). However, since they are all living by themselves on the island now, it is just a matter of time before savagery takes over Roger. It can be seen in chapter 11, Castle Rock where Roger murders Piggy. He does so by leaning his weight on the log which dislodges a great rock, that begins to roll down and pushes Piggy down a cliff, which causes him to die (p. 222). He did this on purpose. It seems that the taboos of earlier life no longer have an impact on him. Therefore, it is depicted that the civilised way of life can be instilled in a child, but lack of supervision by the adult will change into the savaged way of life.
Other than that, one of the literary devices in this novel, the usage of symbolism also manages to portray the premise that children are savages by nature. One of the symbols used is the conch shell which is discovered by Ralph and Piggy (p. 21). Ralph uses it to summon all the boys on the island. Then, all the boys agree that whoever holds the conch shell has the right to speak. When this happens, the conch shell becomes a crucial symbol of civilisation and order in the novel (Lord of the flies study guide, n.d.).This is because the shell has succeeded in governing the boys’ meetings. By adhering to the rules set regarding the conch shell, it seems that the boys still maintain their civilised way of life back there where there is the existence of government and rules and laws to be adhered to regarding to the existence of social order. However, as time passes by, the boys begin to succumb to savagery. The conch shell begins to lose its significance as the savagery starts taking over the boys’ civilisation. The evidence of this can be seen in chapter 9, A View to a Death when Ralph tries to convince the other boys not to join Jack’s tribe by appealing to the conch shell as a symbol of authority, Jack denies the conch shell’s significance by saying that it does not count on his side of the island (p. 186) From here it can be depicted that without adult’s supervision to impose the laws and rules that the boys have created, somehow they would ignore the laws and rules, and reveal their savagery entirely.
In conclusion, from all of the facts and reasons, it is obvious that the central theme of this novel is indeed true. The fact that children are savages by nature cannot be denied since it has been proved thoroughly and explicitly throughout this novel. Golding also asserts that actually savagery is innate within each and everyone of us, and that it is more primal than our instinct towards the civilised way of life. From my point of view, it seems that through this novel, the writer tries to illustrate and convey that moral behaviour is something that society tends to inculcate in us by force rather than a pure expression of human individuality. Therefore when children in the novel ‘Lord of the Flies’ are left on their own, they change into savagery despite the fact that they have been raised in a civilised way before.