Lord of the Flies

civilized society

how did the boys try to make a civilized society, and why did their choices/plans fail? give reasons. ex. fire - burned out, no one watched the fire

Asked by
Last updated by jill d #170087
Answers 2
Add Yours

In Golding's work, Lord of the Flies a group of young boys ages six to twelve are stranded on a deserted island, and strive to create a civilization among them, to which they use the conch as a very important part of the novel. It is the first item the boys find on the island that would come to be a daily part of their lives. The conch is throughout the book, with the first rule created, to when Simon is murdered Ralph tries to reason with the boys, and when Roger destroys the conch. In William Golding's novel Lord of the Flies, the conch represents civilization.

The conch is part of the first rule created on the island. The children declare that only the person that holds the conch will be able to speak at meetings. "Let him have the conch!" (35). This quote is shouted by Piggy when the boy with the mulberry colored birthmark attempted to say what he believed about the beastie. By making the conch required to be held by the speaker at a meeting the littluns can say what they think, without being interrupted by an older boy. From the start, the children want to have rules so it can be like they were back at home in England. "We got to have rules and obey them" (42). The boys created the rules because they want everybody to feel comfortable on the island, like they are part of their very own civilization.

Simon is murdered, and Piggy goes to Jack's camp to tell them what they have done. "Piggy held up the conch and the booing sagged a little, then came up again to strength" (179). As he is telling them he clenches onto the conch, as if he is trying to get the boys to remember what it was like when they first started out on the island. When the boys see the conch high above Piggy's head they remember what they had done in the beginning, how they were once civilized, but then the boys begin to throw stones at Piggy, reverting to their savage instincts. Jack says that they were all part of a murder, and there is nothing anybody could do about it because even Ralph and Piggy were a part of it.

Piggy goes to Jack's camp and tells them what is happening. Roger rolls a boulder onto piggy, destroying every last grip they had on civilization. Piggy is holding the conch and the boulder shatters the conch, as if it had shattered their idea of civilization. After Piggy is knocked into the water the boys chase and try all attempts to kill Ralph.

In Golding's novel, Lord of the Flies civilization is represented in the conch shell. The conch is part of the first rule on the island. It is used to reason with the boys, and is shattered, causing the kids to revert to primal instinct. The conch is there during every part of the novel. If the boys worked together and got rescued, it would have saved many lives of young children.



Civilization vs. Savagery

The central concern of Lord of the Flies is the conflict between two competing impulses that exist within all human beings: the instinct to live by rules, act peacefully, follow moral commands, and value the good of the group against the instinct to gratify one’s immediate desires, act violently to obtain supremacy over others, and enforce one’s will. This conflict might be expressed in a number of ways: civilization vs. savagery, order vs. chaos, reason vs. impulse, law vs. anarchy, or the broader heading of good vs. evil. Throughout the novel, Golding associates the instinct of civilization with good and the instinct of savagery with evil.

The conflict between the two instincts is the driving force of the novel, explored through the dissolution of the young English boys’ civilized, moral, disciplined behavior as they accustom themselves to a wild, brutal, barbaric life in the jungle. Lord of the Flies is an allegorical novel, which means that Golding conveys many of his main ideas and themes through symbolic characters and objects. He represents the conflict between civilization and savagery in the conflict between the novel’s two main characters: Ralph, the protagonist, who represents order and leadership; and Jack, the antagonist, who represents savagery and the desire for power.

As the novel progresses, Golding shows how different people feel the influences of the instincts of civilization and savagery to different degrees. Piggy, for instance, has no savage feelings, while Roger seems barely capable of comprehending the rules of civilization. Generally, however, Golding implies that the instinct of savagery is far more primal and fundamental to the human psyche than the instinct of civilization. Golding sees moral behavior, in many cases, as something that civilization forces upon the individual rather than a natural expression of human individuality. When left to their own devices, Golding implies, people naturally revert to cruelty, savagery, and barbarism. This idea of innate human evil is central to Lord of the Flies, and finds expression in several important symbols, most notably the beast and the sow’s head on the stake. Among all the characters, only Simon seems to possess anything like a natural, innate goodness.