Lord of the Flies: Is There Hope for Man?

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One of the main themes in William Golding's 1954 novel Lord of the Flies is that without civilization, there is no law and order. The expression of Golding's unorthodox and complex views are embodied in the many varied characters in the novel. One of Golding's unorthodox views is that only one aspect of the modern world keeps people from reverting back to savagery and that is society. Golding shows the extreme situations of what could possibly happen in a society composed of people taken from a structured society then put into a structureless society in the blink of an eye. First there is a need for order until the people on the island realize that there are no rules to dictate their lives and take Daveers into their own hands. Golding is also a master of contrasting characterization. This can be seen in the conflicts between the characters of Jack, the savage; Simon, the savior; and Piggy, the one with all the ideas.

Arguably, the most savage person on the island is Jack Merridew. The first image of Jack and his group is presented as "something dark" and a "creature" before Golding goes on to explain "the creature was a party of boys." Ironically, that is exactly what happens. The beast turns out to be the evil within the children themselves. Jack conflicts with most of the other major characters from the beginning. He calls Piggy "Fatty" repeatedly and opposes Jack almost every step of the way. As the novel progresses, Jack becomes more domineering and assertive, slowly losing all of his former morals and civility. The one point in the novel where this happens is when Jack paints his face: "He made one cheek and one eye socket white. . ." Then Jack proceeds to cover the other half of his face in red, foreshadowing his perpetual recruiting and takeover of the island. Jack ends up as the other authority figure on the island by force and by exploiting the other boys need for savagery. The need for savagery arises because of Golding's views of humans as being vicious by nature. Jack, being a leader in his own right, can not see the light of day again once he has seen the darkness of self indulgence and absolute power.

Simon, on the other hand, is not wild at all and can easily differentiate the light from the darkness.

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