Golding's View of Man and War Exposed in Lord of the Flies

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Golding's View of Man and War Exposed in Lord of the Flies

"...Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart" (Golding 223). An author's view of human behavior is often reflected in their writing. The novel, Lord of the Flies, by William Golding is an example of a literary work that demonstrates the author's view of man, as well his opinion of war.

Golding's Lord of the Flies is highly demonstrative of Golding's opinion that society is a thin and fragile veil that when removed shows man for what he truly is, a savage animal. Perhaps the best demonstration of this given by Golding is Jack's progression to the killing of the sow. Upon first landing on the island Jack, Ralph, and Simon go to survey their new home. Along the way the boys have their first encounter with the island's pigs. They see a piglet caught in some of the plants. Quickly Jack draws his knife so as to kill the piglet. Instead of completing the act, however, Jack hesitates. Golding states that, "The pause was only long enough for them to realize the enormity of what the downward stroke would be" (Golding page #). Golding is suggesting that the societal taboos placed on killing are still ingrained within Jack.

The next significant encounter in Jack's progression is his first killing of a pig. There is a description of a great celebration. The boys chant "Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood" (Golding page #). It is clear from Golding's description of the revelry that followed the killing that the act of the hunt provided the boys with more than food. The action of killing another living thing gives them pleasure. The last stage in Jack's metamorphosis is demonstrated by the murder of the sow. Golding describes the killing almost as a rape. He says, "Jack was on top of the sow, stabbing downward wherever pig flesh appeared ... Jack found the throat, and the hot blood spouted over his hands. The sow collapsed under them and they were heavy and fulfilled upon her" (Golding page #). In this case it is certain that the boys display animal savagery.

Because they have been away from organized society for such a long time, the boys of the island have become Golding's view of mankind, vile, destructive beasts.
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