Lord of the Flies: Civilization vs Savagery

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The human mind is made of up two instincts that constantly have conflict: the instinct to live by society’s rules and the instinct to live by your own rules. Our civilized will has been to live morally by law and order, and our savage will has been to act out for our own selfish needs. We each choose to live by one or the other depending on how we feel is the correct way to live. In this allegorical novel, William Golding represents the transformation from civilization to savagery in the conflict between two of the main characters: Ralph who represents law and order and Jack who represents savagery and violence. Lord of the Flies has remained a very controversial novel to this day with its startling, brutal, and truthful picture of the human nature.
In the beginning, human influence was starting to affect this uninhabited “Garden of Eden”. Ralph, the charismatic and newly elected leader of the young boys’ parliament, is absolutely committed to civilization and morality, and is determined to make sure the boys survive and be rescued. At first, everyone is excited about living on such a fantastic island filled with flowers, fruit, and swimming pools. It is apparent that Ralph adores the island when, “… [he] laughed delightedly again and stood on his head” (4). However, he had to make sure they all stayed on task. To stay in touch with civilization, they decide to build shelters, make a
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“bathroom”, and use coconuts to drink out of. At first, Jack, the lead choir boy, is excited about creating a government declaring, “We’ll have rules! Lots of rules!” and has not yet abandoned the familiarity of civilization that he was accustomed to (25). With a signal smoke, shelters, and food being gathered, the boys shouldn’t have any wor...

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... others around them. Their stark differences of order and violence ended up changing hearts and destroying lives. All of the boys realize by the end of Lord of the Flies that they would never be the same now that their innocence is gone and they believe that evil is in every man’s heart. Ralph’s vulnerability appears again for the first time in a long time when he “wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy” (182). However, he will never be the same after this terrifying and life-changing experience. In the end, the battle between civilization and savagery never has a victor. The conflict between civilization and savagery is unending; the presence of savagery will always conceal itself within all humans even with civilization at its highest point.

Works Cited

Lord of the Flies
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