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Lord of the Flies. The novels exploration of the idea of human nature is based on Goldings experience with the real-life violence and brutality of World War II

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Introduction

´╗┐English Essay: Lord of the Flies William Golding?s novel Lord of the Flies was first published in 1954, shortly after the conclusion of World War II. Through a close analysis of the novel?s major antagonist, Jack, it is clear that William Golding believes that there are anarchic and savage instincts in human nature. Ordered democracy and laws are necessary to control these instincts, but when these constraints disappear, the savage side of human nature becomes prominent. This belief can be seen through the similarities between the Nazi leader, Hitler and the character of Jack in the novel. It is also evident in the character development of Jack from the beginning of novel to the end of the novel as he travels farther from civilisation and into the depths of savagery. Furthermore, the savagery of human nature is demonstrated through the literary technique of symbolism. Golding wrote Lord of the Flies less than a decade after World War II, when the world was in the midst of the Cold War. The atrocities of the Holocaust, the horrific effects of the atomic bomb, and the ominous threat of Hitler himself were all present in the minds of the reader and the author. ...read more.

Middle

At the beginning of the novel, Jack still conforms to the rules set out by society and civilisation. As the novel progresses however, Jack?s social conditioning fades rapidly and he quickly loses his concept of civilisation and rationality. Jack displays the true form of human nature by reverting to savagery and anarchic instincts. Towards the beginning of the novel when Jack tried to kill a pig, he found that he couldn?t bring himself to do it ?because of the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh; because of the unbearable blood? (p. 29). Jack?s innocence is evident at the beginning of his experience on the island. He still follows Ralph and the rules of civilisation because it is all he has ever known. As the novel progresses however, Jack becomes increasingly savage. Later in the novel, Jack told Roger to "sharpen the stick at both ends" (p. 150) when he wished to impale the pig?s head on the stick that would thus become the ?Lord of the Flies?. Yet he makes the same order in Chapter 12 with the intention of killing Ralph, portraying the fact that he has truly shed all pretences of civilisation and succumbed to his inner savage nature because of his intention to commit murder. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is clear that William Golding constructed his novel to promote particular perspectives about human nature. In particular, he promotes a pessimistic view of human nature, emphasising the necessity of democratic civilization. Through the character of Jack, Golding demonstrates to the reader the savage, anarchic side of human nature. Golding portrays Jack to be the representation of Adolf Hitler to illustrate the savagery which humans are capable of when the laws of society are stripped away. By analysing Jack?s development from the beginning to the end of the novel, the transformation from a civilised being to one who is ruled by the brutal, savage instinct of human nature is apparent. The underlying savage impulse of human nature is symbolised through Jack?s tribal face paint and the ?beast? that lives within all human beings. These techniques employed provide the reader with a clear insight into and an understanding of the way Golding has portrayed human nature. After 1955, Lord of the Flies became a bestseller among American and British readers who saw in the novel a grim prediction of their own future. The novel became canonical as it is both a provocative allegory of human evil and a literary expression of the Cold War ideology. ...read more.

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