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At the end of 'Lord of the Flies' Ralph weeps for "the end of innocence, the darkness in man's heart" How does Golding use the boys' experiences on the island to explore the nature of mankind?

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Introduction

At the end of 'Lord of the Flies' Ralph weeps for "the end of innocence, the darkness in man's heart" How does Golding use the boys' experiences on the island to explore the nature of mankind? Through the course of this novel Ralph's character is changed beyond all recognition. He had arrived on the island as a bright-excited boy, dipping into a coral lagoon naked. This is the innocence he weeps for when he realises by the end, the darkness in mans heart has turned him into no more than a hunted savage. Golding uses the boys' experiences from beginning to end to explore the darkness in man's heart and the aspects of human nature that make these changes to character. In this book Golding refers to the darkness in man's hearts as 'the beast'. It is all that is evil, and although the boys see it as something bodily that the can hunt and kill we know that it is a part of them. As does Simon, "However Simon thought of the beast, there rose before his inward sight the picture of a human at once heroic and sick." The greed and selfishness that humans have break up their fun on the island. We see this happening when Ralph is trying to build the huts, although everyone had agreed to help each other, they give up to go play and only Ralph and Simon are left. "They're hopeless...All day I've been working with Simon. No one else. They're off bathing, or eating, or playing." We also see their selfishness where the littluns are concerned. ...read more.

Middle

For that moment they loose all that was human and go back to their ancestral savagery. Later the boys deal with this event in their own ways, Jack says the beast came disguised as Simon; where as Ralph feels guilt and disgust for what he did "...I don't know what I was". Even though the boys do not fully admit what the did was murder, they know it was wrong. Golding uses this situation and puts to us, that mankind are born as savages and that without our moral and social constraints we fall back into that same uncivilised state. And perhaps we are also born with an innate sense of right and wrong that is made clear by reason and ration thinking. Piggy is the voice of reason. He represents rational thinking. He is constantly telling them not to rush off but to think things through and to do things properly. Piggy and Ralph are the first ones to say there is no beast. "You only get them in big countries, like Africa, or India" Piggy reminds them of adults and of civilisation. "What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages? What's grown-ups going to think?" This is not to say Piggy was the only thing on the island that reminded the boys of their socialisation, they did that themselves. When Roger is throwing stones at Henry: "Here yet strong, was the taboo of old life. Round the squatting child was the protection of parents and school and policemen and the law. ...read more.

Conclusion

Simon is a visionary, he identifies the nature of the beast and tries to describe it to the others "Simon became inarticulate in his efforts to express mankind's essential illness. Inspiration came to him. 'What's the dirtiest thing there is?'" but like Piggy Simon is not a leader and no one is willing to listen. "He's batty" Simon also prophesies Ralph's leaving the island and going home, "All the same. You'll get back alright. I think so anyway." Jack is another rare type of human being, sadly not as rare as Simon but infrequent all the same. By making the other boys so susceptible to Jack the evil he possesses Golding shows us just how hard it is for human beings to stay 'good'. Even with rules and morals we still find more evil in our world than good. Between Ralph, Simon, Piggy and Jack Golding shows us all aspects of good and evil that make up humans. He shows us we are 'dual' and that what changed Ralph was the civilisation of humanity itself. If Jack hadn't have embodied the evil maybe things would have been very different. But if Ralph hadn't have been socialised and civilised to start off with then perhaps it wouldn't have mattered at all. Did these boys change? Or did they simply revert back to an ancestral humanity they already had? What they experience through their stay on this island, with the need to dominate and the duality of themselves shows us that without rules and authority people are just savage and that this itself is the nature of mankind. ...read more.

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