Civilization Vs Savagery

706 Words3 Pages
In his novel, “Lord of the Flies,” Golding shows that society is defective due to defective human nature. He does this through the use of a group of boys stranded on an island, their behaviour in this situation and their progression towards savagery. He further illustrates this point by using numerous symbols.

From the start of the novel, Ralph, the oldest of the boys, is presented as an “ideal” person and leader. He calls the first assembly, using the conch shell he and Piggy found and is voted into the role of leader by the majority of the boys. The reasons cited for this are superficial, including “his size, and attractive appearance” and the conch, which he only found with the help of Piggy. Golding uses this to show how society can elect
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The masks and body paint, for example, represent the pure savagery within the boys once they become primitive. This camouflage comes out of Jack’s lust for hunting and his drawing inspiration from World War II, Jack even saying it is “like in the war.” The war was Golding’s reason for writing “Lord of the Flies,” as the reader is constantly reminded of its presence. The paint is the boys’ evil and the masks grant them the freedom to act on their savagery and by the end, Ralph is the only boy not covered in the…show more content…
From the beginning, the conch shell is shown to be a source of order, discipline and respect to the boys, specifically in that whoever is holding it may speak without interruption, a rule Jack breaks repeatedly. However, above all else, the conch represents civilization. While in the beginning it is glistening and powerful, it fades and becomes “fragile and white,” until Piggy finally takes it to Jack, to show him “the one thing has hasn’t got” and is killed, the conch shattering in the wake of the event. Civilization is lost and only savagery remains, because only the humans, without their found-and-handled discipline, remain.

Through the group of boys and the symbols in his novel, “Lord of the Flies,” Golding traces the defects of society to the defects of human
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