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'How pessimistic is the view of human lifepresented in Lord of the flies?'

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Introduction

'How pessimistic is the view of human life presented in LORD OF THE FLIES?' William Golding's classic novel, Lord of the Flies, presents a very pessimistic and cynical view of human life and behaviour. The novel argues that when removed from the midst of civilization, humans will revert to a wild, barbaric lifestyle. Lord of the Flies is a cynic's view of what humans are at their core: selfish, desirous, and fundamentally evil. When the children first arrive on the island, they democratically elect a leader and delegate responsibilities but as their time on the island progresses the rules and behaviours impressed upon them by civilized society begin to crumble. A prime example of the beginning of this corrosion is when Roger throws stones at Henry. Roger is still tied by the 'taboo of old life' and will not venture to throw stones into a space six yards in diameter around Henry. As Roger gives himself to the savage lifestyle without abandon, he eventually comes to be Piggy's murderer when he leans on the lever with 'a sense of delirious abandonment' releasing a boulder onto Piggy. ...read more.

Middle

While the group is out hunting, the fire goes out and a ship passes the island. After the 'beast from the air,' the signal fire on the mountaintop is completely abandoned. The forsaking of the fire symbolizes the boys' acceptance of their life as savages on the island. At their core, the boys do not want to return to civilization with its rules and adults. The argument that civilization is an unnatural state for humans to live in is hinted at in the novel. As soon as the boys realize there are no adults present on the island, they wear only the minimal clothing necessary, let their hair grow wild, and abandon bathing. The novel portrays savagery as an instinct much more inherent than civilization. Examining the treatment of the 'littleuns' by the boys in charge can give one a timeline of the boys' descent into savagery. In the first chapters, a guardian is always left with the 'littleuns' to take care of them. Very soon the older boys tire of taking care of the younger boys and begin to ignore them. ...read more.

Conclusion

This fundamental evil also seeks to destroy all traces of civilisation surrounding it. When Piggy goes with the conch, the symbol of political legitimacy and democracy, to the rival tribe's settlement at Castle Rock, the innate evil wills the boys at the top of the fort to throw stones and jeer at Piggy and the others who have come in an attempt to salvage their civility. The savage boys force a boulder off of the top of Castle Rock destroying Piggy, the conch, and what still remained of the instinct of civilisation. The novel, Lord of the Flies, can be seen as nothing less than a severely pessimistic view of human life. The novel teaches the lesson that there is no good in the core of humans and when they attempt to be good and civilised, they will be killed among the adaptive savages. In the novel, the characters did succumb to their innate evil side; they became savages. If we believe this view of human life there seems to be no hope for our kind. Linda-Maria Westman English 2K 14.9.03 ...read more.

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