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How does Golding present the theme of savagery and civilisation in "Lord of the Flies"?

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Introduction

´╗┐How does William Golding present the theme of savagery and civilisation in the Lord of the Flies? Lord of the Flies is an allegorical novel written by William Golding. An allegorical novel is where characters and objects within the text can have real life representations or meanings. For example, Golding uses the conch to represent the backbone of civilisation and order on the island. In the first assembly, the boys participate in an election for leader; ?the toy of voting was almost as pleasing as the conch?, a democratic and civilised act in itself. After being elected Ralph sets a few rules, ?we can?t have everyone speaking at once. We?ll have to have hands up like at school? ? therefore in assemblies in order to speak you must be in possession of the conch. This quote suggests that the schoolboys have to refer back to the civilised world for their discipline. From the phrase ?hands up like at school? we get the impression the boys are incapable of maintaining order and society themselves so they have to relate back to methods enforced and applied back in Britain. ...read more.

Middle

Jack want them to become hunters; this can be seen as becoming more primitive or savage, but also by the fact that Jack orders them to remove their choir robes, ?Alright choir. Take off your togs?. This is a deliberate indication from Golding that they want to become disconnected from the outside world. It also could indicate to us that they want to become more individual and leave behind the order and uniform that the civilised world enforces. Essentially the robes represent integrity and pureness. We are also told that the robes have crosses on them to suggest Catholicism ? however, later in the text, they murder other schoolboys implying irony and contrast to their normal lives. This implies that although we struggle to believe it civilisation and savagery among humans is very close. Savagery is always very alert in the back of our minds. Golding also presents the lack of civilisation through the use of the boys not following orders and requests. Such as when Ralph and Piggy instruct the boys to keep a steady supply of fresh water-filled coconut shells in the shade, ?stood there among skull-like coconuts? however soon the boys disobey this order and drink straight from the river. ...read more.

Conclusion

The mask also breaks any link to the civilised world he had, similar to the choir robes and the signal fire, and also allows him to conceal his civilised principles. The main way Golding presents savagery on the island is through the use of the imaginary ?beast?. The beast stands for the primal instinct within all humans. There is a feel of increasing fear from the boys as the threat of the imaginary ?beast? increases ? as they become more savage they almost idolise the beast as if it were a god-like figure by giving the physical form of the beast (the pigs head) sacrifices to ensure their protection. Simon, a religious and biblical parallel, is the only character in the story to realise that the beast is actually a symbol of evil and savagery inside the boys. Golding is trying to give us the impression that savagery and civilisation is very linked and not as far apart as we might have previously thought. He is trying to plant the idea that every one of us has savagery within our minds we just choose to fight it. ...read more.

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