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“Lord of the Flies,” Documents the decline of a group of boys from civilisation to savagery.” Discuss.

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Introduction

"Lord of the Flies," Documents the decline of a group of boys from civilisation to savagery." Discuss. Lord of the Flies was written in the 50's, a decade or so after the war. The war demonstrated the savagery of the human race most famously so with the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The book is a reflection of Golding's pessimism of human nature. The island becomes a microcosm of the wider world where fallen human nature leads to a huge war. When all the boys meet together in chapter 2, there is initially some conflict between Ralph and Jack, but this is just a struggle of ego's and not necessarily showing any kind of savagery. There is at first an agreement to order the island with a democratic system, and this is first represented by the "conch", which is in effect the symbol for democracy on the island. "I'll give the conch to the next person to speak. He can hold it when he's speaking." Originally we see the boys as mildly presentable, most noticeably the choir who are introduced to us in a formation all in identical black clothing " Each boy wore a square black cap with a silver badge in it. Their bodies from throat to ankle, were hidden with black cloaks." ...read more.

Middle

Eventually he breaks away from the group and forms his own, who are complete savages and only seek to cause destruction upon the island. He becomes somewhat of a tribal chief, dressing himself up as an "idol" The move from democracy to dictatorship is shown through tribal dancing, chanting, feasting, disregard for the littluns. The tribe do not use names, they sacrifice a pigs head to the beast. The conch loses power throughout the book mainly because of Jack manipulating its purpose and rules. For instance he says the conch doesn't count at the top of the mountain and eventually it is destroyed in the fight between the two tribes. One can also detect the descend into savagery through the events of the boys using rocks and stones and making fires. The great rock of pink granite is the meeting place of the boys for meetings and could therefore be seen as the physical symbol of organisation, democracy and civilisation manifested on the island. Rocks and stones are soon items that aggression are taken out, for example there is a part of the book where Roger throws stones at Henry, even though he deliberately misses him because the way he acted in a civilised society is still fresh in his mind. "here, invisible yet strong, was the taboo of the old life." ...read more.

Conclusion

At one point when Sam and Eric are guarding the fire, the flames illuminate the outline of the dead parachutist, this invokes fear them and they run away convinced they have seen "the beast." Fear is then felt by all in the group at some point, even the rationally Piggy is swept away by supersticion. It is fear that is detrimental to the state of the group, sincere statements from Sam and Eric leave little room for doubt. "We've seen the beast with our own eyes-No we weren't asleep" they even give a detailed account of how the beast chased them through the forest. The groups response was a strong one "The circle of boys shrank away in horror." Sam and Eric's irrational fear has been passed to all other boys, even those who try to combat it feel fear, even Simon is fearful of it "However Simon thought of the beast, there rose before his inward sight the picture of a human race once heroic and sick." Even though the boys descend from civilisation into savagery there are glimpses of their previous states of mind even in the light of their situation. Boys state their addresses and Jack flinches when describing how he killed a pig. "Percival Wemys Madison, The Vicarage, Harcourt St. Anthony, Hants, telephone, telephone, telephone" Civilisation is in the boys minds, but gradually savagery descends and we see all traces of society fade away, most noticeably in Jack's new found bloodlust and lack of hesitation when killing pigs. Interestingly ...read more.

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