Lord of the Flies is one of my favorite novels, not necessarily from a "I'm going to read this every year!" standpoint but more from a "Damn, I wish I could write like that!" perspective. This is one of the most carefully structured novels I've read; each chapter has a wonderful internal rise and fall, and the plotting and metaphoric shadings in the characterizations are amazing.

In the beginning of the novel, the reader is presented with a group of British boys who have been stranded on a tropical island. The boys are all young, the oldest ones not more than twelve, and the island is seemingly serene and gorgeous. The stage seems set for the boys to have a wonderful romp in paradise, but as disagreement breaks out amongst them, their life on the island becomes increasingly violent and hellish.

On a symbolic level, the novel deals with the effects of war on the human race and the ways in which it can turn Earth, our own used-to-be-Paradise, into a living hell.

Characters

Ralph

Ralph is in many ways the personification of a good-intentioned world leader who must struggle with himself between upholding the law and giving in to his baser instincts.

Ralph realizes the necessity for a structured environment for the boys who look up to him, even if they don't think it's necessary, but at the same time he wants to give in to his own selfish desires. Ralph does not have the inborn charisma of a "natural" leader, but he is the most capable leader amongst the boys. He has the conch, which Golding uses as a symbol of leadership and just government. He is not perfect, but he has the sense to ask advice from boys (such as Piggy) who know more than he does.

Unfortunately, he is not able to maintain control when the boys start to fight. Once he is deposed, he symbolizes the spirit of resistance and the struggle for justice in oppressed people.

In the end, he is shown to be the true leader of the boys, but only after the adult world intervenes in the form of the naval officer arriving to end the chaos.

Piggy

Piggy represents weakend intelligentsia. His obesity and asthma prevent him from playing and working with the other boys. His isolation and alienation due to his physical problems and his sheltered life with his aunt mirror the separation and alienation of the scientific/academic community from mainstream world affairs.

Piggy's dependence on his glasses -- without which he is nearly helpless -- represents the intellectual elites' dependence on technology and knowledge for their power and survival.

In the end, Piggy is murdered by Roger, much as Pol Pot and other dictators destroyed intellectuals in their own countries to keep their people ignorant and obedient.

Roger

Roger represents the senselessly violent factions who are suppressed by the laws of a stable society but who rise to bloodthirsty heights in times of war.

When the boys first arrive on the island, Roger is shy and furtive. When war breaks out between the boys, he comes to the forefront as the main enforcer for Jack, the boy tyrant. Roger's methods of terror and uses of torture mirror the actions of groups such as the Nazis in wartime Germany and the Kmer Rouge in wartime Cambodia. Roger vents his sadism on his fellow classmates, representing genocide within a country.

The only thing that stops Roger is the arrival of the naval officer.

Jack Merridew

Jack represents both tyranny and the destructive, reckless side of human nature. He has a great deal of charisma but very little foresight; his view of the world is centered on satisfying his own desires for power and pleasure.

His insistence on being called by his last name in the beginning of the book shows that he has a military mindset and a distorted view of himself and his classmates. He doesn't really see anyone, including himself, as being a real person with a heart and soul and feelings.

However, most of the other boys can only see his charisma, and his military bravado makes him seem like the natural leader to follow. But in reality, Jack is a very poor leader, providing only quick, superficial answers to their problems.

When his answers fail, he maintains his hold on the boys with terror and a cult of bloodlust that refocuses the energy of their fears into wild dances and pig hunts.

Jack starts up the war against Ralph and his boys; this mirrors the use of war in dictatorships to distract the public from their real problems and to maintain power. Jack's setting the devastating fire on the island is like the act of a mad dictator starting a nuclear war.

Jack denies his own fears and humanity, hiding behind a mask of war paint. His facade is finally broken down when the naval officer arrives and imposes the order of the adult world.

The Naval Officer

The naval officer who arrives at the end of the novel to put a stop to the boys' madness and take them back to civilization could represent a higher power such as God. But perhaps he's just a wishful deus ex machina employed so that readers aren't completely depressed by having to read about Ralph and his friends being murdered after Piggy.

Regardless of one's interpretation of the officer's symbolism, the ultimate irony of the book is that he "rescues" the boys only to take them back to a world torn by war where none of them have any authority or power over their own lives. And, unlike the officer's stopping the boys' violence, there's not likely to be any higher power to save humanity from the disaster of its own creation.

Lord of the Flies was also parodied to great effect in an episode of The Simpsons.

The school bus had capsized after accidentally ending up in the ocean and Bart & his schoolfriends ended up stranded on a desert island with only the slime on rocks as food.

Bart, using Milhouse's inhaler as underwater breathing apparatus, explores the wreckage of the school bus to find a trunk full of sweets and doritos.

When the others find out that, during the night, Milhouse has eaten all the rations, a kangaroo court finds decides to kill Milhouse and his two friends (Bart and Lisa) and eat them instead.

A comedic romp ensues as the children don the 'lord of the flies' face paint etc etc.

Eventually the issue is resolved as they find and eat a wild boar and calm is restored.

The funniest bit of the show (in my opinion) however is right at the end when the screen pans out from the island as if at the end of a film when guest narrator James Earl Jones concludes the tale with;

"So you see, the children learned to live together and were eventually rescued by,....Oohhh, let's saayyy...Moe"

Just one little fact to add:

William Golding said in an interview on the recorded version of the book that he deliberately excluded girls because he wanted to keep the conflict or theme of the novel pure. He felt that adding girls would create sexual situations in the older children that would dilute what he was trying to say.

The theme of Lord of the Flies is described by the author, William Golding, as follows:
"The theme is an attempt to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature. The moral is that the shape of a society must depend on the ethical nature of the individual and not on any political system however apparently logical or responsible."

This can be interpreted in a few ways. The central symbol itself, the "lord of the flies," is, like any true symbol, much more than the sum of its parts. The "lord of the flies," is a translation of the Hebrew Ba'alzevuv (Beelzebub in Greek). Literally represented as a sow's head thrust onto a stick, the Devil is not represented in any religious sense. The book rather suggests a reference to the Devil which represents decay, destruction, demoralization, hysteria, and panic, and who therefore fits in very well with Golding's theme. In the most symbolic scene of the book, in which the most nature-oriented of the boys, Simon, seems to be having a "conversation" with the sow's head (See also coffy's writeup above). It proclaims itself to be the "lord of the flies", and haunts Simon by saying, "You knew, didn't you? I'm part of you? Close, close close! I'm the reason why it's no go? Why things are the way they are?" Simon is the first to realize that "the beast" the boys are afraid of, doesn't exist. The boys themselves are the only "beasts" on the island. At the end of the scene, Simon imagines he is looking into a vast mouth. "There was a blackness within, a blackness that spread. . ." The mouth being a symbol of the insatiable, unreasoning nature which, in the next scene, finds Simon being killed by the crazed, savage boys. Simon being the only one who realized the horror of what they had become.

Another way to interpret this is to relate the problems of society to the problems of human behavior. There are people who starve and die from curable diseases in the world, and yet the wealthiest countries spend billions of dollars on the manufacturing of weapons for defense, instead of helping those who need it. In the book, Jack goes hunting with the twins and lets the fire go out whilst a ship passed by. Then when he came back to camp, Ralph was angry with him, and Jack was all but indifferent. These two situations relate in that people (society) get so caught up in their own, convenient lives that they neglect the lives of others. They create their own worlds in which they live and don't travel outside the confines of it. Everything else seems far away, and is too far away to affect their little world, so nothing really changes.

At the end of the book, when the civilized-turned-savage boys are rescued, it is by a ship that happens to be on its way to war. One situation is traded for another. Society may evolve, but there are still flaws in the beings that create it. There will always be essentially the same problems until there are no longer flaws in the human. Until man's heart has no darkness, then we can evolve into a more peaceful, "civilized" society.


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A question often asked of this novel is whether the boys bring evil to the island with them or whether the island exerts an evil influence on them. This harks back to the classic "original sin" debate, and it's sufficiently interesting to warrant some exploration. I'll attempt to look at both sides of the argument, and give my own conclusion; yours may differ.

One way in which the boys clearly do bring their own destructive evil to the island is symbolically, through the creation of a "long, painful scar" through the jungle, brought about by their crashing 'plane. This demonstrates that the damage caused by humans is inevitable, in Golding's opinion, and certainly suggests that "mankind's essential illness" is brought with them.

On the other hand, there is evidence that evil was previously present on the island, in the sinistersymbols encountered early in the novel. For example, the birds that rise with a "witch-like cry" suggest that the same inevitable immorality present in the boys finds its manifestation in the other forms of life on the island.

The boys themselves believe that the great expression of evil in the novel, the Beastie, was there before them. However, the "snake-like clasp" that Ralph discards soon after their arrival could be seen as a metaphor for the attachment of evil to all the boys, and Ralph himself admits that if the Beastie were real, it "leaves no tracks" - this echoes the comment (from a source who currently eludes my memory) that "if there were no god, it would be necessary to invent him." Likewise, the Beastie can have no influence without the fear of the boys to exploit.

A furthur way in which the boys bring evil with them is in their exploitation of the already-present wildlife. The boars, for example, have survived in harmony on the island for years - but suddenly, with the introduction of the boys, they are hunted down and violently slaughtered. While the hunting in itself is not necessarily to be condemned, Golding display's his distaste for the style of their assault by attributing the first successful pursuit with a style strongly reminiscint of rape, as the boys enjoy "taking away [the boar's] life like a long satisfying drink." There can be no doubt that the boys bring this sadistic pleasure with them, as the boards pre-date them in habitation of the island.

There are also on the island natural structures to which the boys attach a military purpose. Like the boars, the "rock fortress" had been a permanent feature of the island, but it is only the human interpretation of these passive structures that allows them be to used a tool for the murder of Piggy with another natural phenomenon, the rocks. In the abscence of the boys, there is nothing sinister in these rocks - but once they arrive, there is evil to be found in them. Humans, suggests Golding, inevitably find weapons to hand, in any surrounding, however idyllic.

In conclusion, Golding definately appears to support the idea of "mankind's essential illness," a theory he first expresses through the spiritually-astute charcter of Simon, although that character's youth prevents him fully explicating his intuition. The islands provides an arena for their evil, but this does not serve to exhonerate their boys - just as modern disgust is levelled at Roman gladiators, not the arenas in which they fought; these are treated as great relics. Indeed, the initially paradisical descriptions of the island suggest that the boys would have found evil in any setting, and that description is only occasionally punctuated by implications of any already-present evil. The boys themselves provide the mechanism for the potential in the isalnd to be realised as evil - the island itself is a vehicle. According to Golding, the evil is brought to the island by the boys themselves.

The novel “Lord of the Flies” is a complex expression of author William Golding’s deep-seated beliefs. At the surface, it is an interesting, exciting adventure story about a group of boys stranded on a deserted island. When read closely, though, it is a deep, unsettling tale of man’s descent into savagery and evil. There are a number of powerful ideas at the heart of the story expressed through several recurring themes.

A major theme in this novel is that evil is a powerful and inborn element of man’s character. Jack shows this early in the book, in his strong lust for hunting and killing. Later in the book, he organizes all of his followers to find and kill Ralph. Roger also demonstrates this, finding his place in Jack’s group as a torturer and a murderer. When Piggy went to Jack to ask for his glasses, Roger deliberately launched the large boulder with the intention to kill. The boys’ descent into evil is the main feature in the story.

A related theme also shown in this book is that man’s natural tendency towards evil is suppressed by society. When the boys first meet each other on the island, they all act relatively civil. As Roger threw rocks at another boy, he made sure not to actually hit him. This shows how society’s rules still governed the children’s behavior. As the story progressed and the children realized that there was no one to enforce the rules, they became more and more savage. Jack often questioned Ralph’s leadership and all of the rules he imposed on the boys. The degree of how far each boy descended into savagery depended on how strong the force of society was in him.

Another related theme is that fear is a very powerful force that can cause a person to act in a shocking and detestable manner completely deviant from their usual behavior. The boys coupled their irrational fear with an imaginary beast they ‘saw’. When Simon ‘talked’ to The Lord of The Flies (Beelzebub), it told him that the beast was a part of him and all the other boys that could not be hunted and killed. Their fear of this beast was such a strong influence on Jack’s followers that they beat Simon to death during a tribal ritual thinking that he was the beast. Jack used the boys’ fear of the beast to force them to follow him. He told the boys that they should follow him because he could hunt and kill the beast, while Ralph was too cowardly to do so. Fear was the main force that caused most of the boys to join Jack’s group and turn to evil and savagery.

Throughout the story it is shown that in bleak circumstances, it is much easier to enter a dream-like state of denial than to face the harsh reality of the situation and act rationally. The boys quickly abandon their duties of hut building and fire watching to play or hunt throughout the beginning of the story. When Simon was killed, the boys refused to believe that his death was purposeful. Piggy would not even listen to Ralph when he said that Simon was murdered. As Ralph was fleeing from the savages trying to kill him, he frequently had to fight off his natural reaction of rationalizing the situation and thinking all was good. The book often mentioned Ralph trying to keep a ‘curtain’ from switching in his mind. The boys’ inability to accept their situation caused them to abandon Ralph and rationality.

In the writing of “Lord of the Flies”, the author expressed his belief that man was naturally evil and needed enforced rules and ethics to become ‘good’. This opposed the widely held belief among adults that children were born pure and good and were later corrupted by society and government. The author attempted to ‘prove’ his belief by setting up the fictional experiment of a group of young boys stranded on an uninhabited island. He described how the children fell from well behaved British schoolboys into bloodthirsty savages through a line of logical steps in an isolated environment to show that society caused the boys to act civilized and only when left to their natural devices without any rules or laws did they become evil. This theory is a deeply troubling perception of human nature with far-reaching implications.

The Good and Evil Natures of Man in William Golding's
Lord of the Flies

According to Freud all people's psyche is made up of three things, the Id, the Ego, and the Superego. The Id controls the person's desire to experience pleasure. The Ego controls the person's rationality and desire to remain safe and the Superego influences the person to do good so that he or she will look good in the eyes of society. When all of these things are equally balanced, that person is a normal member of society. Good is defined as “being positive or desirable in nature” and “having the qualities that are desirable or distinguishing in a particular thing”. Evil is defined as “morally bad or wrong”. The characters' actions in William Golding's Lord of the Flies are controlled by their good and evil natures.

In this book, a group of boys land on on an uninhabited island in a plane crash. The only adult on the plane was the pilot and he is dead. One of the boys, Piggy, finds a shell and has another boy use it to call the rest of the boys. Once they are all together, a leader, Ralph, is chosen by voting. Another boy, Jack, is chosen to be a leader of the hunters. Throughout the book they form a kind of society. It works well for them until there is conflict between Ralph and Jack. Piggy tries to intervene but fails. By the end of the book that have resorted to extremely primitive ways and are only saved when a ship comes and sees them.



GOOD

Two characters in the book are symbols of the good nature. These characters are Ralph and Piggy. Ralph is a symbol of goodness and organization. He is voted for democratically.

“None of the boys could have found good reason for this; what intelligence had been shown was traceable to Piggy while the most obvious leader was Jack. But there was a stillness about Ralph that marked him out: there was his size, and attractive appearance; and most obscurely, yet most powerfully, there was the conch (shell).” (Golding . 22)

This voting shows that the boys wanted organization and Ralph gave it to them. He was a symbol of what they were used to in the adult world. It is well known to those who are around children that change tends to frighten them. Ralph was their sign of a familiar authority figure.

Ralph also tried to put the good of the community before himself when he risks Jack's anger. Jack had allowed the fire on the mountain to go out. It was understood between the boys that the fire must stay lit so that smoke could be seen if someone was trying to rescue them. Almost as though he had had a premonition, Ralph knew that the fire was out when he saw the ship on the horizon. When Jack returned with a dead pig, Ralph confronted him (Golding . 69-70). This was the beginning of the boys' conflicts. Ralph was controlled by his good nature and Superego. He wanted the boys and himself to be rescued and brought back to the modern world. It was this desire to help others at the risk of himself that later led to his downfall.

Piggy is a symbol of wisdom. He is the one who finds the shell and knows how to use it. He instructs Ralph in doing so because of his own asthma. He is wise to know that the sound will bring all the boys together. He attempts to count the boys but fails because of the lack of complete order.

“The you don't know how many of us there ought to be?”
“How could I with them little 'uns running around like insects? . . . I never had a chance-” (Golding . 46)

Not many people listen to Piggy's ideas and so his valuable wisdom is thrown out. If he had been listened to it is possible that the boy with the mark on his face might not have died. '“That little 'un-” gasped Piggy- “him with the mark on his face, I don't see him. Where is he now?”' (Golding . 46)

Piggy is also a sign of order. Throughout the novel he states “I got the conch!” (The conch is the shell that was used to bring the boys together. It is later handed to someone who wants to speak and only the person with the shell may speak.) This shows that he is trying to create a set of laws that are universal on the island. When the boys run off to the mountain he says “Like a pack of kids...” (Golding . 38) It is not clear whether he knew what was about to happen but shortly after saying that the marked boy dies in a fire.

Towards the end of the story the boys have been divided and Piggy and Ralph are on one part of the island. The other boys are being led by Jack at Castle Rock. Jack's group has ostracized Ralph and his followers. Piggy realizes the danger of this and knows that they must be reunited. Piggy's maturity and wisdom are shown when he says, “What can he do more than he has? I'll tell him what's what. You let me carry the conch, Ralph. I'll show him the one thing he hasn't got.” (Golding .171) Unfortunately, Piggy's plan does not work and he is killed.

Ralph and Piggy are the signs of positivity, goodness, hope, maturity, and wisdom. William Golding uses them to show that mankind has a good side. They put others above themselves at the risk of their own lives. Sadly, all people are not like this. In Lord of the Flies there are also characters who are symbols of mankind's evil nature. Jack and the Lord of the Flies represent the worst of Man.



EVIL

Jack starts out as a fairly innocent boy, albeit a bit controlling as shown when he does not let the choir rest. Jack, Simon, and Ralph come across a pig when they are exploring the island. Jack prepares to kill the pig but cannot bring himself to do so. 'They knew very well why he hadn't: because of the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh; because of the unbearable blood.' (Golding . 31) At this point he is innocent but he soon starts to become more evil and begins to fell that while he is hunting he is also being hunted. Jack soon completely loses his innocence and kills a pig. He becomes bloodthirsty and murderous. He and the other hunters find great pleasure in the killings of the pigs without regard for their innocence.

'The pigs lay, bloated bags of fat, sensuously enjoying the shadows under the trees. . .A little apart from the rest, sunk in deep maternal bliss, lay the largest sow of the lot.'(Golding . 134)

It is only time before he becomes so crazed with killing that he and the other boys slaughter Simon, thinking that he is the beast that is really inside of them.

Jack is also the representation of the desire for power. Jack exerts his power over the pig when he kills it and later enjoys 'memories of the knowledge that had come to them when they closed in on the struggling pig, knowledge that they had outwitted a living thing, imposed their will upon it, taken away its life like a long satisfying drink' (Golding . 70). Jack later deserts Ralph and tries to take the followers from him. This time he does not succeed but later does, bringing about the end of civilized society on the island.

The boys begin to perform rituals where they reenact the killing of the pigs. It is during one of these rituals that Simon comes out of the jungle to tell the other boys what he has learned. Instead of being greeted warmly, he is attacked and killed. Jack is once again showing his desire for power by use of violence.

Jack shows his true evilness when Piggy is killed. Jack had a great amount of control over his followers so it seems as though anything that any of them does could be linked back to Jack. Along with Piggy being killed, the conch is also shattered. The conch had been given great respect and its destruction is a sign of total abandonment of the civilized world. Jack has rid himself and the other boys of a world that gives someone other than Jack power. He has taken away all ties to order and has put himself in the position of a god.

The Lord of the Flies represents the fear that all people have within themselves. The boy with the mark on his face is the first to submit to fear. When he is not given the conch he begins to cry because he feels that the others need to know about the 'beastie' (Golding . 35). The other boys begin to fear the beast in the woods and try to convince each other that is doesn't exist. Because they are unaware that the beast is not a tangible thing but is simply the fear that they have inside themselves they cannot conquer the beast. The fear is made even more real when the boy goes missing during the big fire.



BALANCE

Simon is the only character who truly understands what the beast is. While Jack enjoys the darkness of the jungle, Simon enjoys the beauty of it. Simon's talk with the Lord of the Flies gives him an understanding of the true natures of Man. When Simon tries to enlighten the other boys, he is mistaken for the beast. He is murdered without remorse except for Piggy and Ralph.

In Lord of the Flies, Simon is a character of balance. He is the enlightened character, a Jesus figure. Simon is the only boy who remains with Ralph when he is building the huts. He stays true to his word when he says he will work until the huts are completed. Simon repeatedly goes to 'a place where more sunshine fell' (Golding . 56). Here he thinks and has revelations. His biggest revelation is when he speaks to the Lord of the Flies. This conversation is almost like he is speaking to God. The others think that Simon is crazy and treat him as such. Ralph is fond of him because he works hard but is slightly afraid of him. This may be because Simon gives off a presence of knowing something that the others do not know.

Simon is killed by the other boys without putting up a fight in a way similar to that of Jesus. He accepts his death from his peers because he knows that there is nothing to be afraid of. It is unfortunate that he had to die because he could have helped the boys keep a civilized society by telling them that the beast was truly inside them and that the beast on the hill was just a dead man's corpse. It was only through his death that the innermost feelings of each character are shown. Those who stay with Jack have been proved to be evil at heart and those who continue to follow Ralph are the few good people on the island.

In this book William Golding shows Mankind at its best and at its worst. The transition from innocence to evil is drastic. Golding allows us to see that 'the shape of a society must depend on the ethical nature of the individual' (Golding . 204). Because the majority of the boys on the island are evil, there cannot be a good and pure government. Jack has no morals so he rules completely over those who are ignorant enough to follow him and he casts out those who do have morals. The characters in Lord of the Flies are perfect examples of the good and evil natures of Man. It is because of their natures that they act the way they do. None of the boys are truly at fault for what they do. They have been removed from a structured society and are forced to revert to primitive ways. Without the wisdom and authority of adults, they are just a group of ignorant boys on an island forced to stay alive by any means necessary.


WORKS CITED
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies New York, NY: Berkley, 1954.

The Death of Innocence

      Innocence is perhaps the quality that children are most known for. They are new to this world, and have not yet been exposed to how terrible man can be. In William Golding's novel, Lord of the Flies, he tells the story of how a group of young boys stranded on an island slowly lost their innocence. Although they start out with a leader and a mock society, the animal-like nature inherent in all man slowly gains control over the boys, destroying their society, and also their innocence. At the end of the novel, two of the boys, Simon and Piggy have both been murdered. Ralph, the original leader of the group, weeps for Piggy, who represented intelligence and logic. Golding, in an interview with Jack Biles said, "He should be weeping for Simon,” who represented goodness, and innocence. Ralph should not be weeping for Piggy, but for Simon, who represented all the good left in the boys.

      Throughout the book, Golding symbolizes Simon as a Christ-like figure. He is very intuitive and can sense the truth behind what people say. Simon, unlike the other boys, does not fear nature. "He walked with an accustomed tread through the acres of fruit trees (Golding 56)." He is also sympathetic for the smaller children on the island, and helps them out whenever he can. He also realizes that an imaginary 'beast' that the other children fear is simply their own imaginations, and the only thing they truly have to fear is fear itself. This also shows his similarity to Christ, and that he is inherently good.

      This characterization of Simon's as a Christ-like figure foreshadows his death. The children begin to believe Simon is the beast after he tells them there is no beast. They began to chant " 'Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood! Do him in!'(Golding 152)." They then proceed to murder him ruthlessly, even his friends. His death is the climax of the book. It demonstrates how the children have entirley lost their innocence, and are now fully slaves to their animal instincts.

      Ralph is weeping for Piggy at the end of the book, however he is also weeping for Simon, as should be. "And in the middle of them, with filthy body, matted hair, and unwiped nose, Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend Piggy (Golding 202)." Because Simon represents innocence, Ralph is weeping for him also. However, his crying is also for the knowledge that he, and the other boys, will never be the same, and will never quite be innocent little school boys again.

Works Cited:

Golding, William. (1954) Lord of the Flies. New York: Berkley Publishing

The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, is a story of several young boys between the ages of four and twelve who become stranded on an uninhabited island after their plane was shot down. At first they all make efforts to survive, such as calling assemblies, building fires and smoke signals, gathering fruit and water, killing pigs for meat, and building shelters. The older boys take leadership positions while the younger boys play, and a “chief” is elected to preside over assemblies and to organize the boys. However, after being on the island for quite a while without any adults to guide them, their efforts begin to fail. This is due to the many conflicts that arise between the boys.

One of the most obvious conflicts seen in the novel is that between Ralph and Jack. Ralph is the more logical of the two, and is always trying to organize the boys. His idea of using the conch as a means of communication and as a way of calling assemblies demonstrates his need for order. In some cases, his decision that only the person holding the conch can speak prevented everyone from talking at once and causing chaos. Later in the novel Jack destroys the conch when he kills Piggy, symbolizing the end of Ralph’s system of order and Jack’s love for chaos. Ralph feels very strongly that they will be rescued from the island if they keep a strong fire burning and keep producing smoke. He reprimands Jack for letting the fire go out while the choir was hunting, but Jack feels that hunting was more important to him. This marks the beginning of many of the conflicts between Jack and Ralph. It leads to the break up of the tribe under Ralph into two separate groups, one led by Ralph and the larger led by Jack. Jack is obsessed with the violence and the power he experiences in killing the pigs and dancing, and Ralph is obsessed with being rescued. The two cannot seem to compromise no matter how hard Ralph tries. Also, Ralph wants to get things done on the island, whereas Jack just wants dancing, feasts, and fun. This also leads to the split up of the tribes.

Another important conflict is the one between all of the boys and Piggy. Piggy is one of the older boys, and he is very chubby. When he asks Ralph not to tell the boys that his nickname is Piggy Ralph tells them anyway, and they laugh at him. After that instance the boys have no respect for Piggy at all, especially Jack. Even though Piggy is very logical and intelligent, whenever he tries to speak Jack tells him to shut up. Ralph is even guilty of this, although he recognizes and respects Piggy’s rationale. No one listens to Piggy’s speeches about the fire, and Jack makes fun of Ralph for always defending him. Piggy is always left to watch over the younger boys and never has the adventures that Ralph and Jack do. It is also evident that the boys use Piggy for his glasses. The glasses are the only way the boys have of creating their fire on the mountain, and they often take them from Piggy despite his protests. Jack’s tribe even steals then from him at night to start their own fire.

A major conflict seen throughout the novel is the conflict between the boys and their fear. The first fear the boys experience is the fact that they are alone on an island with no adults. Piggy is the first to express this fear when he first meets Ralph in the jungle. As they begin to live on the island, the little boys have nightmares about a “beastie”, stemming from their fear of what lives in the forest and the fact that there are no adults to comfort them or explain things to them. Their nightmares begin to scare the older boys, and Ralph decides to call a meeting to discuss their fear. The meeting causes everyone to become afraid, and by then almost everyone believes in the beast. When a dead paratrooper falls from the sky after a battle, the twins Sam and Eric see the man being moved by the parachute and think it is the beast. The other boys become afraid, and they decide to avoid the mountain where the “beast” is. This fear of the beast leads to Simon’s death, as the boys think he is the beast, and even after they realize he’s a boy they keep beating him because they are caught up in the moment.

Golding’s novel shows many conflicts, such as conflicts between characters, conflicts between characters and nature, and conflicts between characters and their emotions. The most important of these conflicts is the conflict of Ralph versus Jack. It is the most symbolic and the most obvious. It reveals the two sides of humans, the side that desires order, and the side that desires anarchy. It can also symbolize the conflict between civilization and savagery, Ralph being civilization, and Jack being the savage. A secondary conflict is the one between the boys and Piggy, making Piggy seem like the negitive side when he is really the logical one. The conflict between the boys and their fear displays every human’s fear of the unknown, especially the irrational fears of children.

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