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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
  • Essay length: 1660 words

What particular aspects of human nature are explored in Lord of the Flies; and how have the author's techniques and choice of content deepened your understanding of this matter?

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

What particular aspects of human nature are explored in Lord of the Flies; and how have the author's techniques and choice of content deepened your understanding of the matter? In this essay, I will review the information I have gathered from the novel 'Lord of the Flies' by William Golding. The main aspects of human nature explored are: Evil within man, Fear of the unknown, and The need for civilisation. In the story, a group of schoolboys land on a deserted island due to a plane crash. They quickly set up a community and the boys are united in their quest for rescue. However, the lack of civilisation eliminates any common rules or morals, and the group soon starts to break apart. This brings out the evil which is within every human being. The constant fear of the unknown, represented as a 'beast', only increases the magnitude of this problem. Finally, the camp is split into two: The rebellious and 'evil' side, led by Jack; and the civilised and 'good' side led by Ralph, the original chief. The rivalry between Jack and Ralph forces this split, and their different opinions and priorities. This division finally results in the brutal murders of Simon and Piggy, with Ralph escaping narrowly from the clutches of Jack's tribe.

Middle

Golding, like many, believes that evil is a natural part of the human psyche but is not often displayed in modern society, due to the many morals which dominate the behaviour of most people today. However, this evil can be brought out through the need to survive and emotional turmoil can bring this feeling on. In an environment without rules, the tendency to perform immoral acts is increased. Jack is first to display the evil by going out hunting with some of the boys. He finds the chase and kill exhilarating, which eventually spreads onto the other boys. Their chant, "Kill the beast, cut his throat, spill his blood" shows partially fear, partially bloodlust. They are scared of the beast and so want to rid of this terrible creature. Also, they find the murder of the beast to be exciting and don't care about the morality. My second point is not a quote, but two events. They are the murders of Simon and Piggy. Simon is brutally killed by Jack's gang because they mistakenly think he is the beast. When they find out what they actually did, they are indifferent. They believe they have done nothing wrong and don't care that a mistake has cost the life of another human being.

Conclusion

Jack, however, is truly lost, and tells Ralph and Piggy that "We don't care about the fire. We want meat". He doesn't see the big picture and only cares about the short term. He doesn't care about being rescued. He is all about getting what he wants and having fun, which is the main reason for his decline to a barbarian. I believe the symbols in the story help us understand what the boys truly feel, what is meant by certain things and also using metaphors to show what is happening in the boys' minds. To conclude, William Golding uses the characterisation of fear through a 'real' threat, and so 'the beast' is born. The evil within man is portrayed realistically, and is what would happen in such situations. It is not often, but it does happen, that the natural evil shines through in our society. The Holocaust, 9/11, and 7/7 and prime examples of this in the real world. The symbolism shows some morals in society through important items in the story. They reflect objects which appear commonly in a different form, mostly not as items but ideals. I think 'Lord of the Flies' displays this very well and has certainly made me understand more of the human mind and what it can do when provoked into doing so.

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Response to the question

This is an excellent response to a very challenging question for GCSE candidates. This particular candidate has, from the very start and throughout the rest of their essay, shown a hugely insightful comprehension of human nature and how William Golding ...

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Response to the question

This is an excellent response to a very challenging question for GCSE candidates. This particular candidate has, from the very start and throughout the rest of their essay, shown a hugely insightful comprehension of human nature and how William Golding explores it in 'Lord of the Flies'. Identifying immediately the three main features of human nature explored as "Evil within man, Fear of the unknown, and The need for civilisation", this candidate's answer is very well-structured. I would argue that the need for society is a more appropriate wording to the last one though, as we see how civilisation is an imperative element of a social construct in the novel. Society's written and unwritten laws are abandoned the moment the boys unite, but civilisation takes more time to erode, but it would not do so if society's rules were enforced.

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis is very good. This question demands a lot of attention to detail. Being an allegoric novel, whereby symbolism plays a large part, human nature is presented in many ways and the candidate has done extremely well to identify how, with the destruction of society comes the destruction of civilisation. This linking creates a very flowing style of writing that few candidates can do well in an exam or even in coursework. It shows examiners there is an adeptness with the English language and that prior planning has taken place in order to make the answer the most accessible, concise and informative it can be.
There could be more use of quotes, particularly at the centre of the response - the candidate does get very carried away in their analysis but this does not penalise them in any way because at all time the candidate focuses on the steer of the question. This is called effective digression - where external knowledge (that is, knowledge of the novel that does not come from the novel itself) and insight is introduced so long as it has a clear link to the question. Examiners love to see this, as it shows enthusiasm for independent research and an ability to think outside the box, as it were, rather than sticking to the conventional method of English essay writing by including nothing but what the novels tells us directly.

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication is brilliant. The candidate has shown a masterful hand over the English language and has used a wide range of linguistic devices to shape their answer and to make it interesting, has used a diverse variety of sentence syntax (short vs. long sentences), punctuation (semi-colons) and accurate grammar.


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Reviewed by sydneyhopcroft 27/02/2012

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