Cruelty In Lord Of The Flies

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“You would, would you? Fatty!’ Ralph made a step forward and Jack smacked Piggy’s head.” This is just one of the many instances cruelty has played a crucial role in the novel Lord of the Flies, by William Golding. Peppered with symbolism and motifs, cruelty proves to be the most essential to major themes. Cruelty has a multitude of functions critical to developing themes, ranging from motivation to evolution of characters. One of the ways that cruelty is considered a motivator is when it is used in social factors. There is a major social difference between Jack, a devious twelve year old, and Piggy, an intelligent boy suffering from asthma. Jack is incessantly vicious to Piggy. For example, only twenty-one pages into the book Jack yells…show more content…
A prime example of this is when Jack says, “He’s like Piggy. He says things like Piggy. He isn’t a proper chief.” This act of cruelty was designed to motivate the boys of the island to reject Ralph as their leader. By comparing Ralph to Piggy, Jack tries to manipulate people into thinking he would be an exemplary leader. This is a clear example of the theme that people are ruthless in the fight for power. Another instance where cruelty is used to shape the outcome of political movements is when Jack ties up Wilfred and beats him without reason. He uses this act of cruelty to control the political choices of the boys, making them too afraid to revolt against him. Interpreted, this act plays into the theme that dictators will use fear in order to remain in control. Even though cruelty is used to motivate political factors, it is also used to show how characters develop differently. In the novel Lord of the Flies, cruelty is used to aid in the development of characters. Two prime examples of this are the characters Jack, and Piggy. Jack is shown to get more violent when introduced to cruelty. In the beginning of the novel he is not able to kill a pig, but when Ralph is cruel to him and says he has not gotten a pig and needs to focus on shelters is when he starts to go down the violent slope. He continues to get more violent throughout the rest of the novel, escalating to the point where he led a man hunt for Ralph. As the cruelty on the island increased so did his
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