Lord of the Flies

Natural Evil in Lord of the Flies 12th Grade

In his work "Essay Concerning Human Understanding," John Locke explains his belief that the human mind is what he called a "tabula rasa," which is Latin for "clean sheet of paper." It assumes that infants know nothing when they are born and human ideas and behaviors come from experience. Thomas Hobbes, on the other hand, believed that in man’s natural state, moral ideas do not exist and that humans intuitively desire to obtain as much power and “good” as they can, and there are no laws preventing them from harming or killing others to attain what they desire. Lord of the Flies is a Hobbesian novel, as the boys' decline to evil appears inherent and natural. This decline is made evident through the boys' move towards meat for food, their attraction to Jack as a leader, and the idea of a beast infecting them all.

First, the boys' choice of food changes as the story progresses. At first the boys ate fruit and are happy about it. The fruit symbolizes civilization, as the boys do not want to kill any thing. Then Jack tries and fails to kill a sow. The hunt soon consumes him, and the idea of meat infects the other boys. Notice also how Jack hunts the sow, not the boar or piglets. By hunting the sow Jack ends coming...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1715 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 10778 literature essays, 2703 sample college application essays, 652 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in