Lord of the Flies

What do the boys "attitudes and actions" reveal about human nature?

Chaper One

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Chapter One immediately establishes the tension between the impulse towards savagery and the need for civilization that exists within the human spirit. Freed from adult authority and the mores of society, Ralph plays in the beach naked, a practice that at the time of Golding's writing was commonly associated with pre-industrial cultures believed to be "uncivilized" or "savage." Yet if Ralph's nudity is an uncivilized practice, it is also a reference to another popular conception of pre-civilized life, that of the Garden of Eden. Ralph does not panic over the children's abandonment on the island, but he approaches it as a paradise in which he can play happily. The reader, aware of the outcome of the Biblical Eden, should treat the boys' "paradise" with similar skepticism. Like Eden, the island paradise will collapse; the questions are how and why.