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How Lord of the Flies Related to Aspects of Human Nature

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William Golding's novel "Lord of the Flies" not only provides a profound insight into human nature but also does so in a way that is remarkable for its use of shock and horror.

Golding presents aspects of human nature as themes in the book. It alerts us to our potential to descend from order to chaos, good to evil, civilization to savagery. They are explored through how innate evil can be brought out in certain situations, the dangers in not addressing our own fears and the battle between civilization and anarchy.

Most importantly, Golding achieved the above using metaphorical and didactic writing techniques that unquestionably shocked his readers - and still shocks them today. "Lord of the Flies" is essentially an allegory. It reveals how people can descend into barbarism in an atmosphere of chaos.

The main issues in the novel are that of the divide between civilization and savagery, the innate human evil, power and its consequences, and grouping.

The theme of the breakdown of civilization toward savagery emphasizes the struggle between the ruling elements of society which include law, morality, culture and the chaotic elements of humanity's savage instincts which include anarchy, bloodlust, amorality, selfishness and a desire for power.

The book implies that civilization is a veneer, which can be easily pierced to reveal the brutality of human nature. Golding's main representation of the conflict between civilization and savagery is through the characters in the novel. Ralph, the protagonist and Piggy are both symbols for morality and leadership, whilst the antagonist, Jack and his right hand man Roger are symbols for the desire for power, selfishness and amorality. Jack cannot at first bring himself to kill a...

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...savage instincts lurking within all human beings, even at the height of civilization.

In looking at this, we see that "Lord of the Flies" is in practice an essay or thesis on the human condition. This last important sentence is his conclusion, the summary of his opinions and beliefs.

Golding's use of themes and symbols such as the close conflict between civilization and savagery, instinctive evil, and power; extensive writing techniques to provide the reader with a more reflective insight into human nature; and his life's experiences, enrich the novel with truths that can only be truly discovered through bitter experience. For these reasons, it can be seen that "Lord of the Flies" does shock and disturb the reader into an insight and better understanding of the human condition

-"Lord of the Flies", William Golding, The Berkley Publishing Group, New York, 1954
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