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In the Lord of the Flies William Golding has a group of schoolboys crash on an island and become barbaric. The reason why the boys turn wild is because of their primal instinct to hurt others. This behavior is inherited from early ancestors killing to
stay alive. Mans tendency towards violence, how people take sides and divide into
groups, and the struggle for power are three ways mans behavior will generally occur.
Each of these suggests that violence is a key factor to getting what they want.
Mans primal instinct towards violence really shows when they are living without rules or realize that there are no authority figures to enforce any rules. Without having consequences for any actions that might be taken then they primal instinct of the boys
begins to take over. Even though the fact of no punishments may be known in the back
of ones mind there is still the thought of what’s right. “Roger stooped, picked up a stone, aimed, and threw it at Henry and back again.” (Page 67) This is an example of how
Roger knows it is wrong to hit someone with a rock but also knows that there are no
punishments for anything. “The madness came into his eyes again. “I thought I might
kill.”” (Page 55) This is showing how he lets his primal side take over his thoughts when he is hunting. He forgets about everything he had ever been told about what’s right
because of his primal instinct to kill. He had an urge to hunt, his instincts were teaching him how. Even thought he really did now know how to hunt mans primal instincts helped him learn quickly.
How people take sides and form groups shows how majority rules. The majority that rules needs a leader. This leader has to hold the rules but when the children’s primal instincts take over the control is lost but the majority still rules. “Let him be the chief with the trumpet thing.” (Page 24) This quote shows how all of the children are agreeing on this. Once one mentions it, the rest agree. If there is not anyone brave enough to mention something then no one will because they are all afraid that no one else will agree with them. “Who thinks Ralph oughtn’t be chief?” – “he looked expectantly at the boys ranged round, who had frozen.
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Piggy!” “Piggy!” “Piggy!” “Oh Piggy!” A storm of laughter arose and even the tinniest child joined in. For the moment the boys were a closed circuit of sympathy with Piggy outside:” (page 23) As long as what someone has started seems mildly amusing everyone will join in. It takes one person to start something and after that everyone will join in.
There is a major struggle for power, their desperate attempts for this power brings
them to their primal instinct to hurt others. They wish to control and in the process of
being there will do anything they can. Also to stay there they will make the others fear
them. Before the primal instincts start to show they listen very well. “Ralph smiled and
held up the conch for silence” (page 25) All of the children are quite content and listen quite well. Jack, as a leader takes as he pleases and does not think rationally and uses his power to become the most powerful, he wants everything. “We’ll raid them and take fire.” (Page 150) He wants everything that he can possibly get to be the most powerful.
Jack was applying pain and fear to keep his power. “—they made us. They hurt us--- ”
(page 207) Jack uses violence in his struggle for power and eventually achieves his goal.
The rules are eventually enforced because they become afraid of what might happen if
they do not listen.
The behavior that was inherited from early ancestors killing to stay alive is what
message Golding managed to get across. The desperate struggle for power brought in
killing to bring fear among the rest of the children so that he was the leader. As long as he had all the children afraid to leave him then he had the majority of them because not one of them was going to get up and risk there life because they did not like him.
Golding is saying that without authority to enforce rules mans primal instincts will begin to take over.