Savagery Versus Civilization In Lord Of The Flies

Savagery Versus Civilization In Lord Of The Flies
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The Lord of the Flies is a difficult book to read at times because it shows the evolution of what can happen with human beings when they are left alone to survive. The choice between “good and evil” or “civilization versus savagery” is always apparent in man because it is the way that they are made.

The way that the author uses the themes of savagery and civilization is through the two boys who head either side of the conflict. On one side the reader finds Ralph who wants to keep everything in order, follow the rules and keep order as best he can. On the other side is Jack who after awhile realizes that he can be the most powerful if he fights for it. The other characters fall into either side of the conflict based on their own internal needs and/or morals. Piggy is one that everyone picks on because he really does not see a need to be savage. Roger wants no part of civilization; he wants to run free and do whatever he wants to do. When the reader looks past the writing a bit to think about the situation it is very easy to see that the author is attempting to let the reader know that this type of barbaric and savage behavior is a part of every human being which makes the book frightening.

One of the challenges for human beings is that they can be civilized as long as there is a reason for it. When the boys are stranded on the island they have no reason to follow rules. It is a place where anything goes because they have to work to survive it. They are not longer told what to do and although some of the boys want to restore the order that they are used to, some of them take the opportunity to change things in a more brutal ways. It can be suggested that whenever a group of humans are in crisis of some sort, they fight amongest each other because of their fear. Once fear takes over in any situation like this it can become disastrous to the entire group. Fear builds upon itself and encourages behavior that people would not do in “normal” situations. Also, this behavior will come out in humans when they are isolated from the rest of the world. As an example, when there is a disaster like Hurricane Katrina or the World Trade Center there will always be people who get into the savage mode because they do not know what to do when the rules are gone. Instead, they struggle to find their own way of doing things because they feel so out of control. This is what happens in Lord of the Flies. Golding particularly picked boys because it is easier to see how they would be in conflict with each other than if there were boys and girls together or just girls. With all boys, an environment is created that shows how brutal the savagery can become. Boys are reliant on strength and strength over others is one of the themes that the author uses.

With the boys of Lord of the Flies it is also interesting to watch the fact that everyone needs a leader. Some of the boys could be considered “weaker” than the others and therefore were looking for a leader to tell them what to do. These were young boys and usually in any situation younger children will look to older children to lead them. The challenge in this situation is that the boys do not think far enough. They need to work together to increase their chances of rescue but many are afraid Jack so they go to his side although one of the boys has died because of the brutality. The Lord of the Flies is an interesting examination of how we as humans can be drawn into the savagery when no one is looking.