• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What Has Lord of the Flies To Say About Civilisation and Human Behaviour?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

What has Lord of the Flies to say about Civilisation and Human Behaviour? Do you agree with Authors point of view? Lord of the Flies appears to be simply a story about how a group of marooned school boys follow their daily lives on a Pacific island. The story is used to demonstrate the author's theory about the basic egotistic and selfishness of the human being. William Golding, the author of the novel, was 43 years old when Lord of the Flies was first published in 1954. This was a time of great uncertainty and political discontent and he would have been heavily influenced by his experiences in World War II. Golding takes a very pessimistic veiw of humanity throughout the novel, believing that humans are based upon pure evil. When the schoolboys first arrive on the island, they immediately look for a way to maintain law and order since there are no grown-ups. Civilisation cannot be an individual thing and therefore the boys want to belong to a group with social responsibility, with a leader. ...read more.

Middle

Jack calls Roger away to watch him paint his face, as an important sign of the loss of civilisation and the change to savagery. Jack's painted mask represents a shield or cover which he can hide behind and frees him from all social responsibility. Jack says to Roger whilst painting his face: "For hunting. Like in the war. You know dazzle-paint." (Chapter Four, p68). He compares his face paint to war camouflage, illustrating that being on a desert island is a war for him. Death is a fundamental theme of the novel, both in its accidental form and violent form. The death of the mulberry-marked boy results from irresponsible actions by the other boys. His death signifies a weakening of the social structure and civilisation of the island and promises evil in the future. Death itself is uncivilised because there is no dignity in death. It is a frequent aspect of the book and a regular reminder of how easy it is to move from a civilised existence to a completly different state and how suddenly it can happen. ...read more.

Conclusion

Ralph says immediately recalling how he needed - in the civilised world - to speak to a grown up. As I have mentioned earlier, this book was first published in 1954, when Golding was 43 years old. He would have thought about it, planned it and written it over a period of worldwide confusion and war. He was bound to have a gloomy view of life. I think his vision of human nature and behaviour is too pessimistic. Golding was surrounded by tragic events, and I think his ideas were firmly influenced by some form of religious teaching that made him believe we are all born evil and it is only through the 'laws' of Christianity and society are we temporarily 'saved'. Whilst I agree with the novels veiwpoint that civilisation is a society with a thin veneer which can be easily broken down when circumstances are difficult, I believe that we are divided between those who are 'good' and those who are 'less good', but the number of people who are born evil is very few indeed. I have a much more optimistic view on civilisation compared to Golding - perhaps influenced by the greater freedom of todays society and the absence of any personal experience of conflict. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE William Golding section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE William Golding essays

  1. How does Golding present the decline from civilisation to savagery?

    Due to his academic childhood, he is more mature than the others and retained his civilized behaviour, and his experience of life gives him a more realistic understanding of the cruelty possessed by some people. However, the boys are too young to value the intelligence and pragmatic thinking Piggy offers

  2. Themes, Motifs, and Symbols - Themes are the fundamental concepts addressed and explored in ...

    Darkness falls, and Ralph proposes that they wait until morning to climb the mountain, since it will do no good to hunt the monster at night. Jack calls him a coward, and Ralph finally agrees to go on the hunt simply to regain his position in the eyes of the group.

  1. To what extent is Lord of the flies a pessimistic book?

    You knew didn't you? I'm part of you.' Golding is using this conversation to say that the reason everything is going wrong is because of the beast is not something external which can be killed. 'I'm the reason why it's no go. Why things are the way they are.'

  2. Lord of the Flies - How does Golding present the decline from civilisation to ...

    The butterflies, which stand for hope and peace, are replaced by flies which are dirty, it has become tainted. The hunt is described with sexual imagery, as if it were a rape, 'the sow collapsed under them and they were heavy and fulfilled upon her', 'Jack was on top of the sow', 'wedded to her in lust'.

  1. Analysis of Lord of the Flies.

    Nevertheless, the subtheme of religious belief is important to the novel and stands as one of its most complex issues, especially as it relates to Simon. Simon is often described as a Christ figure, a character with a mystical connection to his environment, who possesses a saintly and selfless disposition and whose death is tragic and sacrificial.

  2. To what extent do you consider the Lord of the Flies to be a ...

    Instead of needing to describe how every boy felt, Golding used Samneric as a means of describing and portraying the general atmosphere. As they were able to be influenced, it is obvious that they would follow anyone who seemed particularly strong in the leadership contest.

  1. Compare the threats to civilisation in the Lord of the Flies by William Golding ...

    He is the complete opposite of Jack and is a descent and honest leader. Ralph is described as "athletic", "good looking", "broad shouldered" and is said "to have a mildness about his mouth and eyes' that proclaimed no devil." Ralph is the character giving hope to the group, the character

  2. Compare and Contrast the Writer's treatment of the Themes of Civilisation and Savagery in ...

    the village already has civilisation and there are civilised people living there. This makes Lord of the Flies more savage because there is no civilisation at all which makes it unknown and dangerous. This adds and creates suspense and tension, which makes the story more interesting and exciting.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work