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A Study of the Disregard for Civilization in Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Powerful Essays
Civilization is the condition that exists when people have developed effective ways of organizing a society. In William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, the characters Ralph, Piggy and Jack are liable for the disregard for civilization at the end of the novel. Piggy is accountable for the lack of civilization because he makes excuses for the other boy’s savagery. He places too much faith in what society should do and, although he complains about the boys’ reckless behaviour, he does nothing to stop it. Ralph is responsible because he makes the mistake of giving Jack power; he is unable to control the other boy when Jack starts to become savage and he is prone to fleeting lapses in self-control. Jack is responsible because he blatantly disregards the “rules” of the island. He forcibly takes items from the other boys - namely Piggy and Ralph - and he focuses on satisfying his immediate needs, instead of thinking of the future. The complete disregard for civility at the end of Lord of the Flies is a result of the three main characters’ inability to see things from a perspective different to their own.
Piggy is liable for the disregard for civilization because he would rather complain about the mistakes that the other boys are making than try to correct them. He comes up with excuses for savage acts committed by the boys, instead of accepting them for what they are. In chapter ten, when Ralph mentions his and Piggy’s participation in the murder of another boy, Simon, Piggy defends them by saying that “it was an accident […] he [had] no business crawling like that out of the dark. He was batty. He asked for it” (Golding 173). Instead of accepting that he and Ralph participated in Simon’s murder, and confronting the other boys with the tru...

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..., and he would rather fulfill his immediate desires than think of the future. Ralph is liable because he makes the mistake of placing Jack in control of the choir; he is unable to control the other boy when Jack starts to act savagely and he is susceptible to lapses in self-control. Piggy is accountable for the disregard for civilization because he makes excuses for the other boy’s savagery. He places a lot of faith in what society should do, and, although he complains about the boys’ savage and childish behaviour, he does not try to prevent it. In William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, the characters Ralph, Piggy and Jack are responsible for the disregard for civilization that occurs in the novel. Civilization is when people have developed an organized, well-functioning society.

Works Cited

Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. Faber and Faber Limited, 1954. Print