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Violent Society in Lord of the Flies

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Why does the society on the island collapse into violence in 'Lord of the Flies'? 'Lord of the Flies' is an allegorical novel by William Golding in which he employs the scene of a deserted island and the cast of a group of English schoolboys to serve as a framework, through which he explores the themes of his book. The major themes that Golding tackles are the conditioning of behaviour vs. the malicious inclination of human nature and the spectrum of civilisation and savagery. The violence on the island is generated for several reasons, major ones being the loss of conditioning, the transformation from civilised to savage and the conflict between Ralph and Jack. Conditioning is the learning process by which our behaviour becomes dependant on an event or action occurring in our environment. The boys have been constantly conditioned by schoolteachers and parents to follow the conduct of the English society, and not to do wrong or be immoral, as if they were disobedient, they would have been given punishments from authority: in this period, corporal punishment would have been common. The point in the book which clearly demonstrates the conditioning of the boys is when Roger throws stones at Henry in chapter four: 'Roger gathered a handful of stones...a civilization that knew nothing of him and was in ruins.' ...read more.


meat; Ralph looks forward, aiming to achieve a less obvious but more worthwhile result, but Jack is obsessed with fulfilling his immediate desires, such as his monomania about cooked meat. Golding makes clear that there is such a difference between the two boys in chapter three, when Ralph and Jack are making decisions about what to do next: 'The walked along, two continents of experience and feeling, unable to communicate.' (page 70). By saying that they are 'continents', Golding automatically makes their ideas seems foreign to the other, and just some lines later Golding says that 'they looked at each other, baffled,' as if each boy was confused with the thoughts of the other. Then in chapter four, Ralph, having just spotted a ship in the distance, sprints up the mountain to find Jack and the hunters returning with a kill and the fire burned out. 'The two boys faced each other...baffled common-sense.' (page 89). Golding now says that the boys are now separate 'worlds' making them seem even more strange and different to the other. Here also the emotion of anger is a strong element in their relationship as Jack has disobeyed Ralph's order of keeping the fire alight, and has lost a chance of rescue with the passing of a ship. The two boys have had a clash since the beginning of the novel, since the election, and as Jack tries to stretch ...read more.


(pages 76-77). Henry felt blissful that he was able to control and order about another life form, and that he was able to impose his will upon it. Jack has had this need from the beginning of the novel: he wanted to be chief, and then as he was denied this power, he wanted control over his choir. Jack imposes his will on other boys to get his way, and this produces violence from Jack's side to anyone who disobeys or antagonises him. The violence on the island comes from many different sources and inevitably leads to corrupting and collapsing the society on the island. The loss of conditioning of the boys causes the morals and principles, which were learnt from the conditioning, to fade, and as they dissolve, the malicious inclination of human nature grows compelling the boys to result to violence and hostility. And as conditioning fades, so does the boys' civilised nature, with the result of them becoming violent savages. The conflict between Ralph and Jack forms two different sides of island, like two different forces in a war, and from their conflict comes much of the violence that tears apart the society on the island. Roger's particularly dark nature produces fear and terror as well as violence. Jack's desire to control and order the other boys generates violence to any offenders to his law. And so the combination of all these sources brings about all the violence that goes on throughout the novel. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

The writer has produced an engaging, well written account and shows a good knowledge of the novel by referring widely to different parts of it in detail. The quotes themselves need to be improved and the essay writing itself could be less descriptive in places. Overall, this attains a very good rating, but not quite the top! ****

Marked by teacher Karen Reader 28/05/2012

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