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What is human nature? How does William Golding use it in such a simple story of English boys to precisely illustrate how truly destructive humans can be? Golding was in World War Two, he saw how destructive humans can be, and how a normal person can go from a civilized human beign into savages. In Lord of the Flies, William Golding uses the theme of human nature to show how easily society can collapse, and how self-destructive human nature is. Throughout the story Golding conveys a theme of how twisted and sick human nature can lead us to be. Many different parts of human nature can all lead to the collapse of society. Some of the aspects of human nature Golding plugged into the book are; destruction, demoralization, hysteria and panic. These emotions all attribute to the collapse of society. Golding includes character, conflict, and as well as symbolism to portray that men are inherently evil.
Golding makes very good use of characters in Lord of the Flies, he shows both good and evil through each of the characters. One of the characters that represents goodness is Simon. He is very good and pure, and has the most positive outlook. Simon is very different from the other boys, he seems to always be helping the Littluns and many other vulnerable boys such as Piggy. "Simon sitting between the twins and Piggy, wiped his mouth and shoved his piece of meat over the rocks to Piggy, who grabbed it." (Golding, pg.74) This quote interprets an example of a time when Simon helped Piggy by giving him food, it shows Simon's wholeheartedness. Another example would be when Simon helps the Littluns pick fruit from high to reach places. All in all Golding tries to portray Simon as a Christ like figure.
On the other hand, Golding tries to show the evil within man through Jack. Jack is a character in which he almost symbolizes cruel political leaders, such as Castro, Hussein, Hitler, etc. He is the leader of the hunters, the first time they find a pig, Jack stops, and couldn't kill the pig. That revealed how Jack was civilized, yet later on he would kill the pig without hesitation. "'We've got to have rules and obey them. After all, we're not savages. We're English, and the English are best at everything.
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Jack as a character who was blood thirsty to kill anything in sight.
In addition to characters, Golding also uses conflicts to model his theme. One occurrence which portrays this concept is when Simon is murdered. After
Simon’s encounter with "The Lord of the Flies," he scurries back in fear to the tribe finding them dancing around the fire. He gets into the middle and the boys
mistake him for a beast and vigorously stab him pouring out all the fear that they locked within themselves. Jack stands there encouraging the boys on, not caring
whether it is really a beast or Simon. The "beast" talk has been going on for a while now, and the anxiety as well as fear has been building up inside everyone on the
island. As a result, everyone feels a sense of relief when they think that they have the beast and they really want to get rid the beast as quickly as possible. "Him Him!" they all shouted. "Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood! Do him in!" (Golding, pg.138) Evil is vital to Jack’s world and he does not tolerate anything lower than evil. Moreover, Simon represents the good in man. He is indeed the "conscious" and the "nice guy" on the island. As a result, Jack finds a need to eliminate Simon from the island so that, in the end, evil will be able to dominate the entire place without any interference.
Besides the use of character and conflict, the author also uses symbolism to further convey his theme of man innate evil tendencies. Almost every object in
the story symbolizes something more important than what it really is. An obvious symbol in the novel that best represents evil is the beast. Everyone is in complete
shock and in a state of fear and they do not want to except the fact that there is certainly a beast in the island. As the "fear talk" about the beast continues, the boys
begin to blame each other for it. Jack said, "You Littluns started all this! With the fear talk. Beasts! Of course we’re frightened sometimes but we put up with being frightened. Only Ralph says your scream in the night. What does that mean but nightmares? Anyway, you don’t hunt or build or help--you useless lot of cry babies! That’s what. And as for the fear-- you’ll have to put up with that like the rest of us." (Golding, pg 75) This depicts that when fear begins to build up inside of humans, humans begin to turn toward other people around them to take out the blame. It gives a view of how much hatred and selfishness man is capable of holding. Golding’s use of a beast to symbolize evil is extremely brilliant for the word "beast" itself connotes anything but the good.
With the use of character, conflict, as well as symbolism, Golding slowly leads up to his theme that man is born with evil tendencies. With the memories of
his past experiences, he successfully weaves this theme into the novel, Lord of the Flies by creatively using symbols like Jack, the beast, and disagreements or
murders to clearly give a full understanding of his achieved goal. As Eudora Welty once said, "Human life is fiction’s only theme," Golding definitely portrays this in his brilliant classic work of literature, Lord of the Flies.