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Lord of the flies - What according to Golding is mankind's essential illness and how does he convey this in the novel?

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Introduction

What according to Golding is mankind's essential illness and how does he convey this in the novel? It is suggested that many of Golding's life experiences have influenced his work. His novel The Lord Of The Flies is a symbolic microcosm of the world as Golding knew it. The island, the boys and many other events in the book represent Golding's view of the world and humanity in general. Lord Of The Flies investigates three important aspects of the human experience that form the basis of the themes Golding conveys. For example, the conch and the platform represent the desire for social and political order through parliaments and governments. The natural inclination towards evil and violence is made noticeable in every country's need for an army. This is represented in the novel by the choirboys turning into hunters and then ultimately into murderers. The belief in supernatural or spiritual intervention in human destiny is represented in the book by the boys believing in a fictitious beast. According to Golding, mankind's essential illness is the tendency for every man and woman to do evil when not governed by civilised values. ...read more.

Middle

Jack uses coarse language such as "bollocks" (on page 100) whereas Ralph uses language such as "whizzoh" (on page 13). The contrast in dialogue and vocabulary between the two characters makes the reader want to associate more with Ralph. Golding has also described Ralph as "the average, rather more than average, man of goodwill and sense" and if he can do evil then so can everyone. Just when the reader feels that they would act like Ralph, the plot has Ralph taking part in Simon's murder. It is shown that Ralph wants to take part in the group because on page 152 Ralph's thoughts are such that he is "eager to take a place in this demented but partly secure society". This thought results in Ralph taking an active part in Simon's death on page 168. As Ralph has taken part in an act of evil, it portrays Golding's thoughts and conveys to the reader that we all have within us the ability to do evil. These actions portray what mankind's essential illness is according to Golding and he further proves that this exists by the number of murders that are committed and the increasing barbarity of each murder. ...read more.

Conclusion

This shows that Golding believed that mankind's essential illness will prevail over civilised rational behavior no matter how good the person may seem. Foreshadowing the murders of the boys is the hunting of the pigs. As the deaths became more and more barbaric, so too did the hunts. The hunts start off on page 53 for the practical reason of the tribe needing food. But as the novel progresses, phrases such as "Wedded to her in lust" (on page 149) show that the boys hunt not for food, but for fun. The fact that the boys get immense enjoyment from killing and show no remorse suggests that they want to act this way especially since there is no society or rules to prevent their actions. Without the rules of society Golding believes that every man will give in to a tendency to do evil. The hunts devolve from hunting pigs to hunting Ralph. Lord Of The Flies delivers a pessimistic outlook which shows that man is inherently primitive and needs society and law. Without it, humans would likely revert to savagery. This is clearly conveyed in Golding's novel by the primitive, lawless circumstances that the schoolboys find themselves in and their resulting actions and thoughts. ...read more.

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