In the book Lord of the Flies written by William Golding we are give
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In the book, "Lord of the Flies" written by William Golding, we are given a glimpse at the inherent behavior of men. This behavior has a side so savage and so ferocious that it strips away the civilized rationale of man and bears resemblance to the distinctive, and raw emotional state of animals. Golding exposes this nature as one found not only in adults, but rather as one that also manifests itself in the youngest members of society; the children.
Golding uses a group of young boys stranded on a desert island to convey his message of primitive human savagery. He shows how quickly the transition can be made between civilized and bestial behavior. The young boys who arrive on the island are very different from the ones who leave. When they first arrive they appear to be well mannered and quite civilized. These are young English boys, boys who are especially known for their decorous behavior. As the boys begin to convene on the island after their arrival, we soon see how deep civility is ingrained in them. A certain group of boys, a chorus, illustrates this point best:
"The creature was a party of boys, marching approximately in step in two
parallel lines and dressed in strangely eccentric clothing. Shorts, shirts, and different garments they carried in their hands; but each boy wore a square black cap with a silver badge on it."(17)
These young boys had established a small government with Ralph as their leader, using the conch shell as a way of establishing order in their daily meetings. There was Piggy, whose quiet source of intelligence seemed, at some points, to be the only voice of reason on the island. Jack, who Golding uses to represent the darkest side of man is the antagonist to Piggy's sensible side of reason. Jack eventually leads the boys into utter chaos within a matter of days. Initially the boys appear to have a well established sense of order throughout their small community, but it does not take long for their order to spiral out of control.
Perhaps the best example of the boys' changing behaviors is indicated in their, emotional outbursts during the hunt. When they first start to hunt for meat, it is out of necessity, out of a need for food. The boys do not enjoy their hunt and they fail to spear a pig when their rational behavior takes over,
" He raised his arm in the air. There came a pause, a hiatus, the pig continued to scream and the creepers to jerk, and the blade continued to flash at the end of a bony arm. The pause was only long enough for them to understand what an enormity the downward stroke would be. Then the piglet tore loose from the creepers and scurried into the undergrowth. They were left looking at each other and the place of terror. . ."Why didn't you-?" They knew very well why he hadn't: because of the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh."(27)
The boys fear killing the pig because of what they have been taught. They have been taught to respect life. They still have their morals, and they respect other living creatures. They hesitate to kill the pig because its life still has meaning. Though it does not take long for this respect to dissipate, and for the boys to show a complete disregard for life in general.
The boys begin to hunt for the thrill of it. They find pleasure in the power that comes from the killing of another living thing. The boys create a song, a chant, for hunting. "Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood."(63) This chant comes with their new found love of hunting, a love that exposes their truly barbaric side. Their barbarism reveals itself after they succeed in killing their first pig,
"The boys chattered and danced. The twins continued to grin. I cut the pig's throat," said Jack, proudly, and yet twitched as he said it. "There was lashings of blood," said Jack, laughing and shuddering, "you should have seen it!" "We'll go hunting everyday-" (64)
This change in behavior develops so quickly that it seems obvious that it had been there all along, waiting for the right opportunity
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Fiction, Literature, English-language films, Allegory, Lord of the Flies, William Golding, The Boys, Motivation, Instinct
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