Civilization: Savagery, Power, Fear

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Civilization: Savagery, Power, Fear

Civilization is when man meets his basic needs. Civilization begins to

form when man is searching for something more; something better than just

meeting his basic needs, for he has already achieved this. Civilization forms

slowly and carefully, and once it is formed, it can change and be destroyed

at any moment. Civilization is as fragile as an eggshell, and it has three

basic forces that can destroy it: savagery, power, and fear.

Savagery is when a people revert back to their lost human instincts.

Savagery is most often found in situations where the people are under extreme

circumstances. One example of this is being stranded on a deserted tropical

island. In William Golding's book, Lord of the Flies, he has done just that.

Golding had his characters revert back to their lost human instincts. When

the boys on the island finally catch a pig and get meat, the one hunter, and

main character, Jack, cannot bear to let someone else tell his savage story.

He begins, "We spread round. I crept, on hands and knees. The spears fell out

because they hadn't barbs on. The pig ran away and made an awful noise-It

turned back and ran into the circle, bleeding-We closed in-I cut the pig's

throat-" (p. 74-75). Jack has reverted back to savage, uncivilized ways; his

civilization has been shattered because of being stranded. Jack even gets the

rest of the boys to join in, "As they danced, they sang. `Kill the pig. Cut

her throat. Bash her in.'" Savagery can destroy civilization. It only takes a

small number, even a single person, to revert back, and everyone will soon


Another example of people being savage is in the book, The Pearl, by John

Steinbeck. In this book, when a family finds an unbelievably large pearl and

tries to better their own lives with it, their friends and neighbors become

their enemies, they even begin to fight in their own family. Greed has caused

the family and the townsfolk to revert back to being savages. One example of

this is when Juana, the wife, tries to rid them of the pearl because she

knows of its bad nature. Kino, her husband, catches her, "Her arm was up to

throw when he leaped at her arm and wrenched the pearl from her. He struck

her in the face with his clenched fist and she fell among the boulders, and
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