Lord Of The Flies Essay On Theme

Choose a novel in which an important theme is explored. Explain how the author develops this theme throughout the novel.

            The Lord of the Flies by William Golding is a novel in which the theme of savagery versus civilisation is explored. Some British boys are stranded on an isolated island at the time of an imaginary nuclear war. On the island we see conflict between two main characters, Jack and Ralph, who respectively represent civilisation and savagery. This has an effect on the rest of the boys throughout the novel as they delve further and further into savagery.

             The theme of savagery versus civilisation is first introduced to us through the symbol of the conch shell which we associate with Ralph as he is the person who first uses it and becomes the elected leader of the boys. This symbolises authority amongst the boys. At the first assembly Ralph says “I’ll give the conch to the next person to speak…he won’t be interrupted”. This suggests civilisation as Ralph is allowing each boy to have an equal say and opinion. If they have the conch, no matter who they are or what age they are they will be given the chance to speak and will be listened to by the rest of the boys. The boys have created the island to be a democratic place which shows a civilised side to them as they try to mimic the homes they have just left.

             Contrasting with the symbol of the conch is the symbol of the beast which comes to be associated with Jack as by the end of the novel he is almost devil worshipping it. The beast begins as a  “snake thing” but by the end of the novel it has become “the Lord of the Flies”. The first quote shows us that the beast is clearly evil. Western society considers snakes to be bad omens because it was a snake that led Eve to eat from the tree of knowledge. However at this stage of the novel the beast is quite insubstantial as it is only a “thing”. As the boys fear of the beast grows so to does the beast itself until it has manifested into the devil – the ultimate and most powerful evil. He has a strong status as a Lord although it is over something pretty disgusting – the flies. The boys belief in the beast leads them to behave more like savages as they act out from their fear and they begin to loose hold of the rules, led by Jack, thus demonstrating the theme of savagery.

             One of ways Golding shows conflict between savagery and civilisation is when Jack and some of the other boys are killing the first pig. Jack chants “kill the pig, cut her throat, spill the blood”. This suggests savagery as the boys are being violent and aggressive when killing the pig and they don’t care about it. This is particularly clear through Golding’s word choice. Jack talks about cutting the pig’s throat which makes it sound like a savage action and spilling her blood which reinforces the lack of care and feeling shown towards the pug’s carcass. This shows that the boys are no longer feeling guilty about what they have done thus showing them becoming savages. 

             We can see the conflict between savagery and civilisation developing further when Piggy’s glasses are broken. We are told “Piggy cried out in terror ‘my specs!” This shows us that the boys savage natures are beginning to overule their more civilised sides. At the start of the book Jack would never have dared touch Piggy, but here he actually snaps and goes for Piggy who he despises. We can tell that Piggy is really scared as Golding chooses the words “cried” and “terror” to describe the scene. Piggy sounds like he is hurting and is genuinely terrified about what Jack might do to him and the loss of his sight. Piggy’s glasses have also come to represent intelligence on the island, with them breaking we see that the pathway to savagery is now completely open for the boys. This is the first true piece of violence between the two factions on the island and it will result in nearly all the boys becoming savages.

             A final way in which we see the theme of savagery versus civilisation being demonstrated is when Ralph sticks up for Piggy after he is attacked by Jack. Ralph says “that was a dirty trick”. This shows that Ralph is really angry at Jack for what he said and did to Piggy. He is still attempting to impose himself as leader here as he says this in an aggressive and assertive tone. This suggests there is still some glimmers of civilisation on the island at this point as there is still someone with a sense of moral goodness ready to fight for justice.

             In conclusion The Lord of the Flies by William Golding is a novel in which the theme of savagery versus civilisation is shown. Ralph represents civilisation as he wants to enforce rules and let everyone have an equal say. Whereas Jack who represents savagery as he rules over the boys and he is not interested in what they have to say. Through the boys actions Golding shows us that we need rules and to consciously impose them to make sure society functions properly.

essayLord of the Fliesprose

Lord of the Flies Theme Essay (the Root of All Evil)

Get Your
Essay Written

Starting at Just $13.90 a page

Priyanka Dutt Mr. Webb English 9HP May 6th, 2012 The Origin of Evil In William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, a group of English boys are trapped on an island without any adults which may seem like paradise. In the book a group of boys who have never met before, have been stranded on an island after their plane crashes. They try to find others and try to choose a leader which results in a group of savage hunters to be formed. Eventually their days on the island make them forget civilized behavior and when the confusion leads to a manhunt, the reader can see that the boys show the concealed side of savagery.

Though there is fear in the boys about the island and what lies beyond it, the fear spreads through everyone and it takes charge of the boys’ lives and their fear destroys them, making them evil and someone entirely different. The novel shows that people are fierce at heart and sooner or later they are going to go back to the nature of evil that exists in humans. The boys from The Lord of the Flies are not set to act in an evil way, but the impulsive evil within them cause them to act in such a way.

The two instincts good vs. bad are the driving force of the conflict in the book. For example, good versus evil is shown through Ralph and Jack. Ralph wants organization and leadership and Jack represents savagery that wants power and shows the desire for it. As the book continues, it is represented that savagery is more significant than the instinct of civilization. It is shown that when civilization is gone and one is left alone on their own, people instinctively turn to evil, cruelty, and savagery.

When the signal fire that was meant to attract attention used to be rescued has spread across the island, burning everything, Piggy says, “you got your small fire all right” (41) and for the first time they all become conscious of their ability for destruction. The boys have become from well-behaved boys to bloodthirsty hunters who have lost their innocence and forgetful of civilization they once lived in. Piggy’s death also represents the inner evil within someone and the loss of civilization. Jack who is desperate to be the leader and wanting to spread his evil ways around the tribe orders Roger to kill Piggy.

Jack sees Piggy as an intimidation to his goals of being leader and spreading evil through the group. He knows that in order for him to have control over the other boys in his group, he must get rid of Piggy since he was a reputable figure to the boys and a positive influence on almost everyone on the island. “The rock struck Piggy” (167) and killing him and along with it, the conch broke as well. The word “struck” symbolizes how desperate Jack was to remove Piggy out of the way. By removing Piggy, all moral and civilized influence was gone that was on the children.

The conch also represents that without it, there is no more solidness on the island. Piggy was always like a motherly figure taking care of the “littluns” and even though Piggy did not know it, he was a good influence on Ralph by keeping him from giving in to his inner evil. Not only does Jack have evil inside of him, but everyone on the island especially Jack’s choir group. While Jack’s group is celebrating their achievement, Simon comes back down from the mountain with his encounter with talking to the Lord of the Flies which is the dead pig’s head stuck on top of the stick.

The Lord of the Flies talks to him and says, “I’m part of you” (132) and that is when Simon realizes that the children themselves are the beast and what they really are afraid of is actually the evil that is living inside of them. After his discovery of who the beast really is, he decides that “the news must reach the others” (137). As he comes down from the mountain he is mistaken as the “beast” and killed by Jack’s group. They bite, kick, and tear at him to stop Simon, eventually killing him in the process.

After the boys realize what they have done, they make excuses for their actions when they really knew what they were doing under the feelings of fear and excitement. Especially Jack was aware of their actions. He also saw Simon as a threat to his goals as being leader just like he saw Piggy. Jack wants to use evil as a way to keep everyone under his thumb and lead the group. Human nature is something that can defeat society. Evil and greed are qualities of corruption and most people do not want to make a better society but do better for their own benefit and needs.

Do you like
this material?Get help to write a similar one

Evil can strongly influence one’s actions and steer them in a different direction. It can work in many ways since it is a characteristic that is in everyone. Good and evil always conflict each other and not both can win. For example the conch shell represents good and the pig’s head being evil and one of them had to give such as the conch shell when it broke into many pieces. Overall, evil is stronger than good because the head had the boys controlled by fear and it does not take long for someone good to switch and be on the evil side. It is only the person who has the power choose this change.

Author: Wallace Hartsell

in Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies Theme Essay (the Root of All Evil)

We have so large base of authors that we can prepare a unique summary of any book. Don't believe? Check it!

How fast would you like to get it?

0 thoughts on “Lord Of The Flies Essay On Theme

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *