When thinking about War, what …
When thinking about War, what is something that comes to mind? What comes to most minds is that a war that has innocent people killing other innocent people, ruled by one guy. The same thing happens in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Jack is just like this, he is that one guy ruling a bunch of innocent people. In this case, Simon is one of those innocent people who was killed by some of the other innocent adolescents. There was no reason for Simon to die the way he did, because it wasn’t right. Simon was only an innocent child but he didn’t follow Jack’s rules so he had to die, because he wouldn’t listen.
In William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, testing human nature goes into this novel and shows how civilization was stripped away; ideals, morals, and values are destroyed. Adolescent’s and littluns are trapped on an island without adults supervision. They have to survive on their own but they don’t know how too. They are slowly destroying each other by choosing one person to be in charge. Which slowly gets everyone killing each other off and splitting the adolescents and the littluns. These children are used to having an ideal place to know what to do and when to do it, but when they are stranded by themselves, they aren’t sure of what to do. Each child has their own values and with these values they try to keep to them so they don’t lose themselves. For example, we have Jack, whose values are individualism, not trustworthiness, selfish and irresponsible. Then we have Simon values that are caring, nice, helpful, and unselfish. Piggy’s values are orderly, smart, independent and mature. Lastly we have Ralph, whose values are responsible, good leadership skills, and strict. Each one of these characters values show throughout the novel, their worth to each other and the readers.
When reading Lord of the Flies, notice that you are living through the trouble of a society set up and run by a group of marooned British teenagers. Golding believes that the nature of an individual is evil, which is why he states in the book “What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages?” (112). He isn’t sure of what we are, and he is just trying to figure that out for himself and try to explain to us what he thinks. Harry S. Babb says in his interpretation of Lord of the Flies that an attempt to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature. The moral is that the shape of a society must depend on the ethical nature of the individual and not on any political system [. . .] The whole book is symbolic in nature [. . .] (95). This shows us how the kids have no sense of direction and how they should be acting. These kids are use to having so much structure and now that they are on this island all by themselves they don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong. These children try to do what they think is right but end up hurting each other instead.
When seeing each adolescent, it is known that they are different from one another. Jack shows the evil of the individuals through the actions of how he was the cause of two members deaths, Simon and Piggy, and then attempted to murder Ralph, by doing so this caused the ultimate destruction of the island. Jack has a natural craving to be number one, he has to have anything go his way and only his way. He was not satisfied with only being the leader of the hunters, and this ultimately caused many of the conflicts in the novel. As a senior member of the group, Jack felt that he had every right to be a leader and in that he caused the downfall of the society. He used the skills he learned as the leader of the hunters to turn the society against Ralph and the members that would not follow him in his attempted to be number one. As for Simon, he is the one member that seems to have an ounce of goodness in him. Simon helps those who no one else will. Perhaps remembering that he was look down upon once. He realizes what it’s like to be scorned and to be the “little one”, so he tries to make it less miserable for the outcasts by being kind to them. Simon always wants to always help others, so when he discovers the beast is inside of everyone, he instantly runs down the mountain to tell him. He helps others even to the point of death which is where this goodness soon leads to his death, because he goes to find out what is in the trees and the kids think he is a monster and murder him.
Simon is the only member of the group who realizes that the monster is actually a spreading fear through the group. “Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!” (Golding 194). This is what they were chanting while they killed Simon. It shows how truly violent and evil these Adolescent and littluns became. Now Piggy, he is the smart and creative member in this group. Piggy is kind because of his desire to “be normal”. He never fit in before because of his fatness, glasses, and “ass-mar”, but on the island he feels that he can fit in with others if he is nice to them. He shows this when he tries to comfort Ralph after most of the groups leave for Jack. He is also constantly encouraging to Ralph, telling him that they’ll be okay, and that they can live without the others. Piggy wants desperately to be part of something, so he finds anyway he can to be helpful and kind to the leader. His role as Ralph’s lieutenant eventually leads to his death. His loyalty to Ralph is why Jack has him killed. Piggy is killed by Jack’s assistant Roger with a bolder. “Which is better-to have rules and agree, or to hunt and kill” (Golding 231). These were piggy’s last words. Nobody cared about what Piggy had to say, they were to stubborn to listen and because of it, Piggy died.
Claire Rosenfield states in her writing of “Men of a Smaller Growth : A Psychological Analysis of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies”, that “Piggy is a description of the stereotype image of the old man who has more-than-human wisdom. Piggy is like the father figure that they don’t have sense they are on the island by themselves. Piggy’s role- as man’s reasoning faculties. And as a father- derives some of its complexity from the fact that the fire which the children foster and guard on the mountain in the hope of communication with the adult world is lighted with his glasses” (5). This is telling us that Piggy is shown as a father figure and that he knows what it’s like to be in the adult world and it’s not fun and games like it is for kids. It is strictly doing what you’re supposed to do, to have structure.
Then there’s Ralph, he is the one that tries to civilize the boys and in this effort that he eventually becomes the hunted member of the group. Ralph starts off the book by showing his kindness and goodness. As a leader, he desires for all the boys to be safely rescued and for them to be taken care of. He starts with the best intentions in mind, and wants to have the best for everyone, but as the novel continues the evil intensifies. Ralph won’t participate in the wickedness of others. He keeps away from evil by having quiet times by himself and keeping his goal to be rescued, at the top of his priorities. He eventually realizes that evil exists only inside the boys, and he is determined not to let the evilness get a hold of him. As for Jack’s attempt to get the power, he turns the boys against Ralph and tries to have him murdered. Arnold Johnston states in his “Lord of the flies : Fable, Myth, and Fiction”; “There is clashing beliefs when it says The real problem that arises among the boys involves their own inner nature, and emerges most directly from a clash between those who wish to keep a fire burning on the island’s mountain to attract rescuers and those who wish to hut and indulge in what at first seems to be the natural inclination of children toward unrestrained play” (121). This is telling us that the problem is from each boy letting their inner nature come out and show who they really are and how they actually act towards other people around them. They know how to follow and not lead for themselves. They feel the need to follow someone to fit into this new civilization to them. Everyone follows Jack on trying to kill Ralph, they try to smoke Ralph out which causes the destruction of the island and shows the true evils of Jack as an individual, and how all he wanted was power over everyone, but Ralph, Piggy and Simon wouldn’t let that happen, and Jack did not like that at all.
Golding says that “His mind was crowded with memories; memories of the knowledge that has come to them when they closed in on the struggling pig, knowledge that they had outwitted a living things, imposed their will upon it, taken away it’s like a long satisfying drink” (84). This quote is from the book, when reading this quote it says that someone couldn’t figure out how to deal with them killing a pig and that’s now how they had to live while stuck on that island. “The child inherently either good or neutral, manifesting his goodness if left alone and uncorrupted by the adult world or reflecting and recreating the healthy and civilised environment of this initial consciousness”(Gindin 154). Reading this from James Gindin, “The Fictional Explosion: Lord of the Flies and The Inheritors” of the quote from above and how they are similar on if someone isn’t sure of how to feel, but they go along with it because they don’t want to die.
Meanwhile the British are having a war while Golding was writing this book. Golding knew what happened to people after being away from civilization for a long period of time which is what gave him this idea to write about a group of boys stranded on an island, to show how no civilization can show the true evil in someone. It starts off slow and barely noticeable but then Jack goes crazy about not being in charge of everyone. He then starts to have everyone kill people that won’t let him be in charge. Innocent people die, because some little brat of a teenager didn’t get his way, so he killed them. Golding is just showing us how humans are very shallow creatures and have that deep evil in us not only limited to need but to greed and fake happiness that we seem to get. Golding also shows us how unstable and weak living humans are. “We’ll soon be like animals anyways “. (Golding, 113) He shows how there isn’t much that the good has been able to do, mistakes were made.
“Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of a true, wise friend called Piggy” (Golding 261). Quotes from the novel, it shows us how these school boys that were stranded on this island thought it would be fun to not have adult supervision until things went downhill. When they came to this island, they were just innocent, normal school boys. They were happy about the no adults and then celebrated the freedom, just like every kid would do. They played in the lagoon and had so much fun, however they soon gradually became more and more corrupt without knowing it. One of the most well known theme is the beast, which is the boys’ greatest fear. The boys had came across a dead man with a parachutist and had believed it to be a beast. The beast represents the evil residing within everyone. The beast is used as a reason to avoid self-knowledge. Golding uses the boy’s’ daydreams to show their fears and what they want. The beast gives the boy’s something to fear and to focus on that fear that they have towards it. “The beast had teeth . . . and big black eyes (Golding 156).” The boys didn’t actually see the Beast, they are making this up, which causes their fear to grow more. Leighton Hodson says in “The Metaphor of Darkness: Lord of the Flies”;
Making people understand their own humanity, which Golding sees as the basic quality in a writer, can be narrowed down to mean, in his case, making people become self-aware and honest with themselves about the condition they find themselves in, and the kind of life they lead. This talks about humanity laws and how human nature works. Civilization’s ironic response to Ralph’s wish for some stabilizing “sign” from the world of grownups- who parachutes to the island to become “The Beast” in the eyes of this society (97).
When reading Hodson’s take on this it just says that, human nature and civilization should be around. It would not be a good idea to not have it cause sooner or later everyone will become savage and kill anyone when they aren’t getting their way.
The whole point to this was to show and tell you that not all humans are as nice as they seem at first, they can start off nice and sweet, but sooner or later you will start to notice something in them come out that you have never seen before and it will not be pretty. Civilization is stripped away from these school boys, and they learn how to slowly make it on their own and it is not an easy thing to learn. The failed to try and keep what they thought was normal civilization to them. Not everywhere you go will have the same type of civilization.