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To What Extent Does William Golding Portray Mankind As Being Inherently Evil?

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To What Extent Does William Golding Portray Mankind As Being Inherently Evil? Although I do not think he shows humans to be completely, irrevocably evil, I think that Golding paints an increasingly dim picture of humankind. As his faith in humanity's intrinsic good fails, Golding's foresight of a dark future for man is reflected in the colour of his metaphorical oil paints as he writes this allegorical novel. Even supposedly innocent children are shown to be incredibly sinful and the rules and regulations they are brought up under fade away into insignificance. This mirrors William Golding's belief that people are born corrupt and malevolent, they are not influenced into bad ways; rather it is something about us as a species. Throughout his story, Golding demonstrates the true nature of people coming out into the open - manifesting itself more openly after being restrained by society for so long. At the start of Lord Of The Flies, there is chaos amidst horrendous storms, with panicky schoolboys unregulated and vulnerable. Together though, they set about their predicament in a very well meaning, sophisticated way - everything is orderly and civilised in true boy-scout fashion. The boys act above their ages and decide they ought to "...call the others...have a meeting"(I, p. 22), to organise themselves and to build shelters after their adult 'election'. Like in Parliament, only one person is allowed to speak at once and the conch helps to enforce this. With the well meaning and democratic Ralph in charge, even specific jobs are allocated amongst the children with Jack's choir designated the island's hunters. ...read more.


Maybe, the only thing there is to fear is the boys themselves, they are the only possibly source of danger. The evil so far evident is propagated through fear and Jack takes advantage of the situation in a typically crude way. He makes the most of the panic and suggests a hunt for the beast so overcome but his unrestrained emotions - "We'll...beat and beat and beat-"(V, p. 114). The longer Ralph is on the island the more often he is aware of his own personal appearance. Away from civilisation he finds his hair unkempt and his clothing constantly dirty. He realises how tiresome life is and that he does not like always feeling dirty - he "...understood how much he disliked perpetually flicking the tangled hair out of his eyes..."(V, p. 96). Ralph recognises that he now considers this situation to be normal and sighs with disdain - he is succumbing to savagery and all that goes with it. However, in the ongoing battle between good and bad in his conscience, Ralph seems to be leaning more and more to the good side. Conversely, Jack intentionally stifles his ethical side as the story progresses and gives evil total control. He branches off his own tribe where he can have full authority. Meanwhile, Ralph is finding it harder to remain focussed: he can hardly remember what is important like a signal fire and is confused and confounded by a "...shutter that flickered in his brain"(VIII, p. 175) so he cannot concentrate. All Jack cares about is the thrill of the hunt. ...read more.


Simon is killed by the fear provoked frenzy of the children and finally, Ralph can hold out no longer as is tempted by the zeal of the dances and he lashes out as he "trust his own stick"(XII, p. 239) coming down to their level in these extreme life or death circumstances. Finally, when rescue comes, one has to wonder to what sort of world are they being taken? Even mature adults are fighting barbarically and they will merely be exchanging their childish fights for a more real war. Although it sometimes helps to hide behind face paints and darkness, evil will always find a way through. In our so-called civilised world, training and conditioning from birth are all we can manage to just about keep away widespread anarchy and have an orderly life. Even then things go wrong but without these continuous safeguards what sort of world would we live in? Simon was right - "...it's only us"(V, p. 111) - we are the infection of this planet, the source of all evil. I think that although some of us may usually be able to control it, William Golding certainly believes that there is evil inbuilt in every person. He does not see the rosy outlook of "...uninterrupted harmony and happiness"(XIX, p. 163 of R.M. Ballantyne's The Coral Island) found on Ralph Rover, Jack and Peterkin's Coral Island. Iniquity will always be triumphant, will always prevail, and this does not promise a healthy future for the human race. If there is still war, famine, torture, murder, rape and Steps in an adult and developed world, what does this say about mankind? Jonathan Hobbs Page 1 4/27/2007 ...read more.

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