Savagery in William Golding's Lord of the Flies

Savagery in William Golding's Lord of the Flies

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Savagery in William Golding's Lord of the Flies

"Lord of the Flies" by William Golding shows us his idea of how savage
human beings can be. It shows us that without the authority from
adults, law, punishment and order in a society, the society will break
down. Golding shows us that human beings, if left on an island will
not necessarily get along and have a good time; like in Coral Island.
The novel also shows us that humans are capable of savage acts.

At the beginning of the novel the children were split apart into
certain groups: the choir, Ralph, Piggy, Sam and Eric and the
little-uns. When these groups united they voted for a leader, and as a
result of this, jealousy ensued within Jack. This was because he lost
the vote to Ralph. And quite early on in the novel there are early
signs of conflict between Ralph and Jack, this quote conveys this "I
ought to be chief." The quote shows that Jack thinks Ralph should not
be chief and he should. Jack thinks he should be chief because he
thinks he is superior to Ralph. But the boys choose Ralph because
Ralph called everyone together, and because of this Ralph is thought
of as a more authoritative figure than Jack.

Jack was former leader of the choir, and it angered him that he did
not become the leader of the whole group. Ralph gave Jack the
opportunity of leading his choir as hunters and gatherers. He gave
Jack this position so Jack would not be upset as much as he would be.
Also he gave Jack the position because otherwise Jack would have no
power and would maybe rebel against Ralph in order to get some power.
So Ralph very tactically gave Jack power over the choir. But this was
not enough for Jack he craved for more power. In craving for more
power it led to savage acts later in the novel. Golding shows this
when Jack tells the main part of the group to follow him in a hunt,

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Jack says "the rest are making a line. Come on!" Jack enticed all of
his hunters and Sam and Eric to come along, and not follow Ralph's
orders to watch the fire. This is when Ralph began to lose order and
Jack started to takeover the group. Jack begun his savage acts when
taking the group on a hunt, and as a result they killed a pig.

The killing of the pig was a start to the savagery that led to the
killing of both Piggy and Simon. But also Jack failed to kill the
first pig he sighted, this also led to his savagery. He failed at
first because it was at the beginning of the novel, and at the
beginning Jack still had his morals in place. Jack prepares to kill
the pig but hesitates "Jack drew his knife again with a flourish. He
raised his arm in the air. There came a pause, a hiatus." This quote
shows us that he is remember what is done at home, and he hesitates
because at home they wouldn't go out and kill pigs.

Another example of Jacks savagery is at the beginning of the novel
Jack takes Piggy's glasses just for a laugh, then later on in the
novel Jack ends up stealing the glasses from Piggy because the glasses
were the only form of technology on the island. And in being the only
form of technology on the island Jack had to have them because it
would give him more power. Taking Piggy's glasses was a savage act
because stealing someone's possessions is a savage act. It is also I
think a savage act because Piggy cannot see without his glasses, so
without his glasses he is unable to do anything, so becomes useless.
Jack, I think would not have stole them if they were accompanied by
adults because he would know he would get punished; possibly beaten.
But on the island there was no real form of punishment. But taking
Piggy's glasses is an immoral act as well as savage, so maybe if he
was taught as a child to be more moral than he is, he would have
thought before taking the glasses. So Jack did not restrain to take
Piggy's glasses because not only there is no form of punishment, but
also because Jack maybe immoral.

When Jack takes over and becomes leader of the island, Ralph, Piggy
Simon, Sam and Eric, are all left out. When Jack is chief physical
punishment is introduced, this is shown when Roger beats Wilfred;
Wilfred obviously displeased Jack in some way. In torturing Wilfred
Jack and Roger were being savages. Torturing I think is a savage act
because it does not occur in a civil society. I think violence is used
here not only because Wilfred has displeased Jack but because Jack has
the power to punish individual, and Jack is using his power to his
advantage. The advantage being keeping order within his tribe.

In "Lord Of The Flies" a great power is given to Jack and Ralph. The
power of controlling the population of the whole island. And with
great power comes great responsibility. Ralph or Jack could not handle
the responsibility of looking after all the people on the island, and
it ended up in death. The death of Simon and Piggy both were savage
acts by people on the island. Simon died because people's imaginations
drove them crazy and drove them to savage acts. The imagination of the
beast grew in their minds and lead them to killing Simon. Piggy died
because Roger and some others thought maybe he was too clever. It is
survival of the fittest, or survival of meanest, and Piggy was all
brain and no brawn. If you were civilised you would not survive on the
island. To survive on the island you needed to become one of the
savages. Simon was an exception because he was thought of as the
beast. But Piggy died because he was not strong enough and he was too
clever for Jack and his men. I think Golding in his novel "Lord of The
Flies" that maybe that the strong people win over the weak. Golding
shows us that maybe in a situation of being deserted on an island, the
strong will survive, and the weak will not. One example of this is
when the vote takes place, Piggy tries to be one of the candidates but
is ignored, and the two strongest are chosen to be elected; Ralph and
Jack.

In Golding's novel it shows us how he thinks how savage humans can be.
One quote I have picked out 'His head opened and stuff came out,' this
gives us a graphic image of what happened to Piggy. This quote shows
us of maybe what is thought of as a savage act 'Kill the pig! cut his
throat! bash him in!' This quote gives us an example of a chant Jack
and his hunters sang. The quote suggests they have adopted a form of
chanting which maybe thought of as savage. Another quote 'kill the
beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood! Do him in!' This is another
chant, but not when they are killing a pig but when they are
supposedly killing the beast (Simon). This quote shows us imagination
and fear can drive us into savage acts. I think the boys delight in
killing pigs and supposed beasts. I think this because of how they
chant, the chanting suggests that they enjoy the killing because like
in football you chant because you are enjoying yourself and good
things are happening. Also I think the boys also get caught up in the
adrenaline rush and in the killing of Simon, they did get caught up
and did not realise what was going on. The chants and rituals change
because the boys seem to be more blood thirsty, the first chant "kill
the pig! Cut his throat! Bash him in!" changes into "kill the beast!
Cut his throat! Spill his blood! Do him in!" The boys have added
"spill his blood!" this suggests more blood lust.

This novel shows us that there are many things that can drive us into
savagery. Firstly craving for power, Jack craved for power and he got
it but he performed savage acts to get that power. Jack killed pigs,
which was a savage act but they did need food. Killing the pigs was
not just a savage act it was also for fun and pleasure. I think they
did it so often because of the rush and delight in the hunt. Also in
killing the mother pig it shows how savage they can be, I think they
killed it just out of pleasure in seeing the animal struggle to get
away. The novel suggests that something fun can be something savage.

In killing the pigs he took power because he overruled Ralph's orders.
Also Jack had his men kill Piggy, and was going to kill Ralph. So to
get full power Jack performed savage acts. Secondly Imagination and
fear can drive us into savage acts, the killing of Simon. Thirdly
without authority from adults, law and order savagery is free to incur
because there is no punishment for savage acts like killing someone.

The novel shows you that civil human beings without authority, can
quickly turn into savage primitive beasts. Especially without
authority of adults, children are more easily turned into savages. All
moral and civil knowledge is morphed into chaos, death and general
havoc.
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