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Lord of the Flies: Loss of Innocence

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In his most popular novel, Lord of the Flies, William Golding explores human nature in its purest and darkest form. From standing a group of young boys alone on an island to creating a complex, inner “beast”, William Goulding explores the notion of life outside of society’s regulations and the unavoidable collapse of civility and order that ensues. Throughout the novel, Golding reveals brutal truths about our inherent savagery and basic urges, linking to several religious stories: ultimately to humankind. In Lord of the Flies, Golding uses religious allegory from three biblical tales: Adam and Eve, of Cain and Able, and the story of Jesus Christ to shed light on fundamental flaws of human nature.

Throughout the novel, Golding argues that the boys’ frequent dissension though the novel comes from a larger and more threatening evil that lives within each of the boys. This evil reminds many readers of the tale of Cain and Able. Within the first couple of chapters in the book, Ralph beats Jack in the election for chief. Jack’s building “mortification” (22) also revealed in ht first few chapters of the novel, eventually turns into a murder attempt. ‘He [Jack] ran forward, stooping. ‘I’m chief.’ Viciously, with full intention, he [Jack] hurled his spear at Ralph’ (180). What once started as mere jealousy has turned into a murder attempt. This resembles the idea of the beast. The beast started as a nightmare had by one of the little’s and with the boys’ increasing fear and isolation, escalates to evil darkness surrounding the island. Furthermore, Jack’s attempted murder of Ralph happens after he [Jack] is given the new position as chief, revealing that his attempt to murder Ralph came from a fit of personal anger towards Ralph, rather than a means of achieving his goals. Likewise, Cain murders his brother Able out of feelings of spite and anger. Finally, in the Bible and Lord of the Flies, the victims are killed with “full intention”. Even when thinking clearly, both Jack and Cain do not demonstrate the capacity of moral judgment. At the end of the novel, naval officers arrive to rescue the boys, and Ralph is given the chance to realize the brutal truth of the boys’ situation, ‘…the other little boys began to shake and sob too…Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart…’ (202). The joys of childhood: living blissfully and unaware of the evils that lurk in the world is stolen from the boys during their time on the island. The destruction of a once beautiful island and the cold-blooded murder of two boys have displayed the “darkness in man’s heart” that the boys weren’t ready to acknowledge yet. Once they understand the evil within them, they were for the end of their own innocence and days of childhood. In Cain and Abel, Cain also cries after killing his brother. He too learned that he has a darkness within him, which drives him to murder his brother. 

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