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At the end of the novel, Ralph wept for the “darkness in man’s heart”. By referring closely to at least three incidents, show the truth of this statement.

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Introduction

Name: Lin Tian'ai (25) Class: Sec 301 Subject: Literature Essay Question: At the end of the novel, Ralph wept for the "darkness in man's heart". By referring closely to at least three incidents, show the truth of this statement. Golding uses the phrase "darkness in man's heart" to refer to the evil and barbarism in man. Throughout the novel, "darkness" is used as a symbolism for the evil, savagery and cruelty within mankind. Evenings are "menaced by the coming of the dark", and it is at night-time when the darkness of ignorance and superstition descends on the community, that the island becomes a frightening place, and when dreadful deeds occur such as the murder of Simon. The first incident that shows the extent of savagery in the boys is the hunting of the sow. The large sow had been peacefully suckling her young, "sunk in deep maternal bliss" and so her death agony is therefore even more horrifying and gruesome. Jack's behaviour is especially barbaric when he is described as "lugging out the hot bags of coloured guts". Violence is portrayed with phrases like "air was full of sweat and noise and blood and terror" and "prodding with his knife whenever pigflesh appeared". ...read more.

Middle

The boys are so blinded by the "thick, urgent" desire to kill and hurt that they lose all their senses. Animal savagery seizes them and as Golding puts it, there are "no words, and no movements but the tearing of teeth and claws". The fact that the chant of the boys has changed to "Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!" is a subtle reminder that the boys have changed their target from being an animal ("it") to a person, more specifically, a male ("he"). Golding could be suggesting that the boys have subconscious replaced their desire to hurt an animal with an urge to actually kill a person. The fact that the beast has now become a person could also mean that the boys have turned into beasts themselves! The boys want so badly to kill Simon (because of the savage beast within them) that they see Simon for what they want him to be and thus give way to their primitive urges. Simon's death in the hands his own companions, to whom he tries to reveal a fundamental truth, is tragically ironic. No longer contented with killing pigs, the boys have moved on to killing human beings and the "tearing of teeth and claws" show us how the boys are behaving like the beast themselves! ...read more.

Conclusion

This is a final confirmation of the fact that evil now reigns on the island and the fact that evil has triumphed over good. Piggy's death symbolises the 'death' of intellect, logic and reason which he has come to represent. Thus, when the conch dies with Piggy ("exploded into a thousand white fragments"), Golding is suggesting that democracy cannot prevail over human beings. As such, the killing of Piggy can be viewed as the obliteration of intellect and reason from the island. After the higher ideals of religion and poetry (poetic beauty in Simon's surroundings) are destroyed with Simon's death, the intellectual form of society with its laws and democracy is killed with Piggy's death. With these three incidents, we see how the boys gradually become complete savages. Although children are traditionally thought to be innocent and that they become corrupted only because of society, Golding destroys this belief by showing how even the supposedly 'pure' and 'untainted' children are capable of evil and cruelty. Although the boys begin by trying to create a civilised society similar to what they are familiar with, they gradually reject these restrictions and revert to primitive ways of savages. In this way, Golding reveals the "darkness in man's heart" by showing us the evil within the boys - they are the beasts themselves! The End ...read more.

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