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Themes in Lord of the Flies

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George R.R. Martin once stated that “There is a savage beast in every man, and when you hand that man a sword or spear and send him forth to war, the beast stirs.” In William Golding’s allegory Lord of the Flies, it highlights the idea that in every person, young or old, there is a savage spirit inside everyone, and it’s waiting for an event to break you so it can be unleashed. Throughout Lord of the Flies, Golding utilizes the characters and their actions to convey three main themes which consist of Power and Leadership, Civilization Versus Savagery, and Good Versus Evil.

All through Lord of the Flies, Golding reveals to the reader that savagery is what society becomes once rules disappear from society. In the book, after Ralph is chosen to be chief since all the adults have perished, he establishes rules to keep a sense of society in the group of boys. In chapter 2, Jack makes the statement, “ ‘We’ll have rules!’ he cried excitedly. “Lots of rules! Then when anyone breaks them-‘ ” Jack feels that rules are essential for the society of boys so that they will stay civilized just as they were back home. This changes when Jack finally kills a pig and, almost instantly, a thirst for blood clouds his judgment. Jack soon believes that rules are not needed. He announces soon that whoever becomes part of his tribe, rather than Ralph’s, will be full of fun tribal dances, games that include acting out the killing of a pig, and most importantly ` no rules. In chapter 8 towards the end, the book communicates about Jack and his tribe’s whereabouts once splitting off and being established. The text states, “ ‘We’ll raid them and take fire.’” Jack here is talking about stealing rather than asking Ralph for fire. The resultant of this is Jack turning further to the savage lifestyle, consulting to the art of thievery and pushing his civil side over the edge. To tie up loose ends, Jack is living proof throughout the book that within every person, a savage stays locked up, waiting to be released.

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For the duration of Lord of the Flies, William Golding employs characters like Jack and Ralph to impart upon us readers the idea of Power and Leadership. To be more precise about Power and Leadership, the idea is that in the book there are two different types of leadership, which include power by fear, and power by civility. Ralph seemingly demonstrates power by civility at the beginning of the book after being named chief. In chapter 2 the book reads, “ ‘And another thing. We can’t have everybody talking at once. We’ll have to have ‘Hands Up’ like at school.’ ” Ralph realizes that in the midst of this situation the boys have found themselves in, they need rules and civilness to keep life on the island feeling how it would have been back home in Britain. It is for this reason that Ralph leans on rules that he grew up within school to help enforce a city-type life for the boys. On the other hand, Jack rules by the power of fear. His leadership type relies on the fact that the paint he puts on his face later in the book is intimidating and coerces the others to listen to him for fear of their lives. In this passage, a massive boulder is unleashed on the group of Ralph and Piggy. Piggy is knocked over the sea ledge and killed by the impact of the rocks below. We find proof of this leading by fear from Jack in chapter 11 where it states, “ ‘See? See? That’s what you’ll get! I meant that! There isn’t a tribe for you anymore!…’ ” and “ ‘ I’m chief!’ ” Jack uses the death of Piggy to inspire fear into the other childrens’ hearts and pressurize the others to continue following him. In closing, Ralph and Jack both choose which type of leadership to go into by picking the path of either power by civility, or power by fear. In this case, Ralph leads by the power of civility, and Jack rules by the power of fear.

In terms of Good Versus Evil, it is evident that Golding and his book are emanating that there is already evil inside you, battling your goodness. It is just a matter of which one you decide to give more power. In this captivating novel, Simon is acting as our reasonable and purely good character in the midst of the chaos of the island. He keeps a level head the entire book up until he is brutally murdered. We see evidence of Simon staying rational in chapter 6. The text expresses, “ ‘I don’t believe in the beast.’ ” Even though this excerpt of dialogue is small, it gives us an idea of what kind of person he is. He is the type of person that doesn’t jump to conclusions all while staying rational as to not rule out anything until proven certainly true or false. Simon refuses to believe in the evil that is the beast and wants to stay a symbol of goodness to encourage the others to stay as pure as possible given their circumstances. Since Simon is the basic symbol of good, we have to have a symbol of bad. This is where the Lord of the Flies himself comes in. He symbolizes nothing but evil, as he is a pig’s head on a stick placed there by Jack and his savage hunters who are evil in a sense. We see him, the Lord of the Flies, trying to infect Simon and get him to turn to the “dark side” in chapter 8. The narrative declared, “ ‘You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you?’ ” The thing he is referring to that is inside of Simon, is evil itself. The Lord of the Flies tells this to Simon, which highlights the fact that Simon’s hidden, but secretly present, an evil presence is in the midst of battling his good-natured side to take over. In conclusion, while it may not be seen, the good part of your personality is always going to be fighting with the evil part of your personality as an attempt to get you to give in to the good side.

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