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What does William Golding have to say about the nature of evil in "Lord of the Flies"?

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Lord of the Flies - William Golding By Devesh Amar What does William Golding have to say about the nature of evil in "Lord of the Flies"? William Golding was born and brought up in the early 1900's in England, where he lead a well educated childhood under the guidance of his scientific and rational parents. But his parent's influence was often in vain, as the darkness and unknown created a barrier of irrational thoughts. He then went on to serve the Royal Navy during the Second World War (1939-1945), where he experienced for himself the horrors perpetrated by the Nazis, the dropping of the first atom bomb and the cruelty and brutality of combat. These memories had obviously touched Golding, who expressed this change by his pessimistic view that "anyone who moved through those years without understanding that man produces evil as a bee produces honey, must have been blind or wrong in the head." After the war, Golding resumed his normal profession of teaching at a boy's school in Salisbury, after which he wrote and published his first book in 1954- "Lord of the Flies". This was based on the plot of R.M. Ballantyne's text "The Coral Island". The same plot is used by Golding, in which three boys have been shipwrecked on an island and like true "British gentlemen" work as a team in order to survive. They eventually escape death from vicious cannibals, the exterior evil existing on the island, because of their miraculous conversion in Christians. ...read more.


His violent proclamation and use of propaganda clearly creates a link between him and a famous dictator who also used the same methods to captivate his inhabitants- Adolf Hitler. But the conflict continues, and just as Jack seemed to increase his popularity, Ralph puts down the claims and repeats, "there isn't a beast" But the first real evidence of the boys' gradual savage deterioration is when Jack leads the very first hunt into the jungle, accompanied by his hunters. They return bearing a corpse of a hunted pig. This, in itself is a very brutal act for boys of such youth to be carrying out, and this act is supported by the savage chant, which is repeated to the pleasure of the dehumanising group- ''Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood'' . Such an act send's shivers down the innocent Piggy, who snivels' at the sight of this mutilated pig. Simon sensibly consoles him, displaying his inner strength to hold his nerve in such an extreme situation but also begins to see for imself how Jack has become fearless and unconscious of rules, and that sooner or later, they would be vulnerable to his savagery as well. But Jack still hasn't totally lost his mind, as he shudders at the sight of his bloody hands - 'He noticed blood on his hands and grimaced distastefully'. They set out on another hunt, and this time they really show their orgy savagery by separating a sow from its family, and then sticking a spear up its anus in jubilation. ...read more.


Jack even bullies Ralph's only companions, Samneric, leaving the leader isolated. At the very end of the novel, the savages try to hunt down and kill Ralph and in doing so, burn down the forest. This final descent into outright savagery is an exclamation mark to everything that had lead up to this. But he is rescued when he bumps into a naval officer, who thinks that this was "all fun and games". But when he heard of the two deaths, he too was shocked and surprised, and couldn't put into words the amount of disbelief that had arose in his head. Thinking back to this, and recalling all that had happened with the murders and breakdown of the society he had tried so hard to maintain until their rescue, Ralph begins to cry; the others all join him and the sobs rise up, overwhelming the officer who turns his back to glance at the naval cruiser out in the water. No longer savages, the arrival of a grown-up and "civilization" turns them from savages back to what they were in the beginning-a group of lost boys. "Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy." Piggy's name, the voice of reason, is invoked here one last time, counterbalanced by the mention of "the darkness of man's heart." Everything returns to what it was and, at last, the boys are rescued by naval officers who came across their ruined island in a British ship of war. ...read more.

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