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I will explore how the themes of civilisation and barbarity are presented in the Lord of the Flies

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´╗┐Today I will explore how the themes of civilisation and barbarity are presented in the lord of the flies. I will examine how the two themes contrast and change throughout the course of the novel. What?s particularly striking is that at the beginning of the novel the boys obey the basic rules of society; they call ?assemblies?, they use the conch to take turns in speaking and they elect their leader democratically. Even jack, who later on in the novel is the malevolent protagonist, accepts the fact that Ralph is chief. The civilised rules of their island also stop the boys being too violent. Jack can?t bring himself to kill the trapped piglet and Roger doesn?t throw stones directly at henry because of, as Golding explains, the ?taboo of the old life?. This means that Ralph can organise people and can build shelters, collect clean water, light a signal fire and keep everyone living in a civilised manner. ...read more.


Then when piggy reprimands him about his actions, Jack instead of apologising, like a civilised person, hits piggy and breaks his glasses. This is the start of the purposeful violence between the characters which is to come on the island. Both Ralph and Piggy sense that the rules made at the beginning are ?slipping away? and realise that the boys will go ?further and further? without limits. This prediction is soon to become eerily precise as by the end of the novel Ralph is being hunted down like an animal As civilisation breaks down its jacks tribe that comes to epitomises barbarity it is selfish, violent and lawless. They hunt feast and as Golding says ?have fun?. Nearly all the boys join him and they completely forget about being rescued. One of the first things they do is violently slaughter a sow. They enjoy the cruelty and rejecting the values of their old civilised life. ...read more.


As William Golding writes the mask provides a ?liberation into savagery?. When piggy is killed and all of jacks tribe wears face paint, Ralph looks at the tribe?s ?anonymous devils? faces?. The face paint provides a mask to hide behind and it means that no one has to take individual responsibility for any barbarity that occurs. Ralph is scared by this and runs away. Finally when the officer arrives, he wears a clean white uniform. He is disappointed that the British boys couldn?t put up a better show. However this is ironic and hypercritical of the officer as although his clothes are clean, the world he lives in is also at war just like on the island where the boys live. At the end of the book you release that what Golding was trying to portray is the fact that our civilised behaviour and appearances hide our much darker human nature. And it is with this bleak message of Golding?s that I conclude my presentation to you today ...read more.

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