• 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. In an essay about his novel “Lord of the Flies”, William Golding wrote: “The ...

    I use the word 'work' because in a way this is what the boys find themselves doing- working for this god like figure, which Jack and created for himself. "the chief has spoken" He is almost worshipped by the boys, and now there is even some sort of taboo surrounding the word 'Jack'.

  1. Analysis of Lord of the Flies.

    When he is finished, he untangles the parachute lines, freeing the parachute from the rocks. Anxious to prove to the group that the beast is not real after all, Simon stumbles toward the distant light of the fire at Jack's feast to tell the other boys what he has seen.

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

    him a coward, forcing him to act irrationally simply for the sake of preserving his status among the other boys. This breakdown in the group's desire for morality, order, and civilization is increasingly enabled (or excused) by the presence of the monster, the beast that has frightened the littluns since

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

    had the chance; consequently he made sure that at the next opportunity, he did what he thought was necessary. He killed the pig not only out of the urge to hunt, but out of the risk of being humiliated; he didn't want to seem soft like Piggy.

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

    the others, which inevitably lowers his own status in the hierarchical standings. Another large conflict, equal to that which goes on between Ralph and Jack is the conflict between the entire group and the 'Beastie'. The younger boys begin to have nightmares about a monster that supposedly inhabits the island;

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

    When Jack and his savages raid the camp for the first time Piggy straight away goes to protect the conch from Jack as he 'was sure he'd (Jack)go for the conch.'. Piggy says, 'I got the conch! Just you listen!'

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

    In both of the stories there is savagery, but there are also civil meetings. In Lord of the Flies, there are the meetings with the conch. To start off with they are civilized "Let's have a vote" "We've got to decide about being rescued" and they discuss things in an appropriate manner.

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