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What is Golding Telling Us About Society in 'Lord of the Flies'?

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Introduction

What is Golding Telling Us About Society in 'Lord of the Flies'? Golding is telling us that in order for society to work well, the evil within must be controlled. The only way to control this 'inner savagery' is to have rules and order. Golding experiments with his theory using a group of schoolboys who crash-land on an uninhabited island- with everything they need to survive. The shocking transformation of the boys from civilised pupils to murderous savages coincides with the breakdown of rules. Golding has experimented with boys to see how they would react without adults, and also the fact that children are more easily manipulated. This means that their transformation would be quicker than adults, which is ironic because at the time the boys are on the island, World War Two has broken out. The events on the island can be seen as an allegory for what is happening outside of it, and the actions of the boys startlingly mirror what is actually happening in the world. The boys are an extended metaphor for everyone, as savagery is a part of us, but it is harnessed by rules and order. After they have crash-landed, two characters emerge- Ralph and Piggy. Ralph is excited by the idea that there are no adults on the island so he can have fun: 'In the middle of the scar he stood on his head and grinned at the reversed fat boy. ...read more.

Middle

Sometimes rules and morals ensure we do not take revenge, but sometimes when we are so angry all that we have been taught gets thrown away and we expose our inner beast. The boys' appearances change quite a lot during the novel, as their hair gets longer and they paint their faces. The fact that Golding shows that the boys turn into tribal people as they become savage is rather prejudiced. Tribes do not fight each other, unlike what we call 'the civilised world'. At the time that Golding wrote this novel, people who did not have technology and didn't live in houses were seen as savages, and that's probably why Golding used the fact that the boys looked more like savages as they became more savage. If the story was written now then maybe the boys would have weapons and would be killing each other using them, as those who kill each other are the true savages. Ralph's rules include that if anyone wishes to speak in assemblies, or the gathering of the boys to discuss a certain issue, then they should be holding the conch: '"I'll give the conch to the next person to speak. He can hold it when he's speaking."' This shows that the conch represents order and civility. It also represents power, because it gives the one holding it the right to speak and be heard. ...read more.

Conclusion

Eve broke the rules by eating from the trees, and the downfall of man began. Humans began to suffer, as their inner beasts were exposed. This significant detail about snakes tells the reader that the beast will play a significant part in the novel, which it does. No-one believes that there is a beast at first, but as the story goes on, the boys get frightened. However they have no reason for being scared so they have the beast in their minds to blame their fear on. This beast is further misinterpreted as a dead parachutist. This is very ironic because the boys pray for an adult, to ensure order, but when the adult arrives he is dead. But Jack plays with the others' minds telling them that if there was a beast, then he would hunt it down: '"Bollocks to the rules! We're strong- we hunt. If there's a beast, we'll hunt it down! We'll close in and beat and beat and beat-!"' This shows that Jack has taken the first step into becoming savage. By saying "Bollocks to the rules", he has implied that he does not care for the rules, meaning he doesn't care if he becomes savage. He plays with the others' minds so he can be elected chief, guarding them from the beast. However, there is no beast that can be hunted, as Simon finds out Simon is a representation of Jesus Christ, wanting to spread his message but killed. ...read more.

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