Choose a novel in which an important theme is explored. Explain how the author develops this theme throughout the novel.
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding is a novel in which the theme of savagery versus civilisation is explored. Some British boys are stranded on an isolated island at the time of an imaginary nuclear war. On the island we see conflict between two main characters, Jack and Ralph, who respectively represent civilisation and savagery. This has an effect on the rest of the boys throughout the novel as they delve further and further into savagery.
The theme of savagery versus civilisation is first introduced to us through the symbol of the conch shell which we associate with Ralph as he is the person who first uses it and becomes the elected leader of the boys. This symbolises authority amongst the boys. At the first assembly Ralph says “I’ll give the conch to the next person to speak…he won’t be interrupted”. This suggests civilisation as Ralph is allowing each boy to have an equal say and opinion. If they have the conch, no matter who they are or what age they are they will be given the chance to speak and will be listened to by the rest of the boys. The boys have created the island to be a democratic place which shows a civilised side to them as they try to mimic the homes they have just left.
Contrasting with the symbol of the conch is the symbol of the beast which comes to be associated with Jack as by the end of the novel he is almost devil worshipping it. The beast begins as a “snake thing” but by the end of the novel it has become “the Lord of the Flies”. The first quote shows us that the beast is clearly evil. Western society considers snakes to be bad omens because it was a snake that led Eve to eat from the tree of knowledge. However at this stage of the novel the beast is quite insubstantial as it is only a “thing”. As the boys fear of the beast grows so to does the beast itself until it has manifested into the devil – the ultimate and most powerful evil. He has a strong status as a Lord although it is over something pretty disgusting – the flies. The boys belief in the beast leads them to behave more like savages as they act out from their fear and they begin to loose hold of the rules, led by Jack, thus demonstrating the theme of savagery.
One of ways Golding shows conflict between savagery and civilisation is when Jack and some of the other boys are killing the first pig. Jack chants “kill the pig, cut her throat, spill the blood”. This suggests savagery as the boys are being violent and aggressive when killing the pig and they don’t care about it. This is particularly clear through Golding’s word choice. Jack talks about cutting the pig’s throat which makes it sound like a savage action and spilling her blood which reinforces the lack of care and feeling shown towards the pug’s carcass. This shows that the boys are no longer feeling guilty about what they have done thus showing them becoming savages.
We can see the conflict between savagery and civilisation developing further when Piggy’s glasses are broken. We are told “Piggy cried out in terror ‘my specs!” This shows us that the boys savage natures are beginning to overule their more civilised sides. At the start of the book Jack would never have dared touch Piggy, but here he actually snaps and goes for Piggy who he despises. We can tell that Piggy is really scared as Golding chooses the words “cried” and “terror” to describe the scene. Piggy sounds like he is hurting and is genuinely terrified about what Jack might do to him and the loss of his sight. Piggy’s glasses have also come to represent intelligence on the island, with them breaking we see that the pathway to savagery is now completely open for the boys. This is the first true piece of violence between the two factions on the island and it will result in nearly all the boys becoming savages.
A final way in which we see the theme of savagery versus civilisation being demonstrated is when Ralph sticks up for Piggy after he is attacked by Jack. Ralph says “that was a dirty trick”. This shows that Ralph is really angry at Jack for what he said and did to Piggy. He is still attempting to impose himself as leader here as he says this in an aggressive and assertive tone. This suggests there is still some glimmers of civilisation on the island at this point as there is still someone with a sense of moral goodness ready to fight for justice.
In conclusion The Lord of the Flies by William Golding is a novel in which the theme of savagery versus civilisation is shown. Ralph represents civilisation as he wants to enforce rules and let everyone have an equal say. Whereas Jack who represents savagery as he rules over the boys and he is not interested in what they have to say. Through the boys actions Golding shows us that we need rules and to consciously impose them to make sure society functions properly.
Transcript of Lord of the Flies Essay
Lord of the Flies Lost of Innocence Theme Loss of innocence represents how the boys are losing innocence when it comes to making a bad decision and doing something risky. One of the major themes in the novel, Lord of the Flies by William Golding, is loss of innocence that teaches readers how people can change when it comes to realizing what you are capable of. Thesis statement When the young boys began to realize that there are no real rules or adults, it makes them more curious with what they can do. Throwing rocks at the littluns, but missing on purpose because they know in real life, they would get in trouble with adults around. But as they get more comfortable in their environment, they begin to meaningfully aim the rocks closer to the boys. Loss of innocence contributes when the boys become aware of what they're capable of and what can be done. The amount power and mind changing abilities also comes from the loss of innocence. The boys become more laid back and creative with their acts. They make their own rules and decisions. Simon's murder is an example of the loss and innocence in the boys. The boys became more controlling with the events.When Piggy realized what had happened with Simon, he was very upset about the situation. f When Jack and his group fought/jumped Ralph and his group for Piggy's glasses is an example of their violent capabilities. This shows how much of Jack and his group's maturity and theory changed. They're no longer sweet, innocent, and inexperienced boys, they're being violent while causing chaos. The loss of innocence leads to the boys committing criminal acts and believing they know what they're doing. At the beginning of the book, everyone was their own person until things starting changing rapidly. From the start Jack wanted to be the leader but everyone agreed Ralph should. After some time, Jack became more of a argumentative character towards Ralph. He constantly disagreed with Ralph and got into arguments a lot. Although, Ralph was leader, Ralph was a pretty fair person and Jack's disagreements got irritating. The power that Ralph had irritated Jack, therefore; Jack wanted to have a reelection for leader.When Ralph won, Jack decided to stop following Ralph's rules and decided to go to Castle along with all the hunters that followed. After the groups split up, Jack basically manipulated and treated the boys unfairly in his group. Jack manipulated his group into thinking murder was okay, Simon was the beast, and that Ralph is a threat towards them. Although Jack took most of the group and basically excluded Ralph, Ralph knew that in order to be rescued, it would be the best decision to stay on the beach. Jack wasn't exactly thinking of the outcome with his decisions. Jack's goal all along was to get power and control everything. His theory made him uncivilized in the end. Jack became a savage like person who controlled, disrespected, and manipulated his group. Rodger also became a lot like Jack. He killed Piggy to basically show his savageness. In the long run, Jack was the main character that caused a lot of problems and manipulation. Throughout the book, the boys are scared but are continually becoming brave. Because the boys have no rules and no supervision, they push and push until something bad happens. They have no discipline and they continuously boss the littluns around. When Jack realizes that they're no adults or real rules, he takes advantage of it. He realizes that he doesn't have to take responsibility for his actions because hes in control. He killed Simon and got away with it. With that said, he's completely lost innocence and gained selfishness. When Ralph and Piggy got attacked by Jack and his group, it really showed how the boys will do anything to get what they want. The violence that happened was unnecessary and evil. Jack's plan to get Piggy's glasses was not something a young boy should plan. The motivation of the violence shows so much disrespect toward everyone. Its very sad how their civilization turned into such savageness. These boys really had to step up their braveness in order to survive. They had to take chances, take responsibility, and provide protection for themselves. In order to do that, they had to hunt and put themselves in a situation that is very dangerous. They killed a pig and chopped its head off to represent the Lord of the Flies. At such a young age, its shocking to see what these boys did. Conclusion This book involves lots of violence, criminal acts, maturity changes, savageness, civilization, and braveness. The characters in this book all become different. Some become evil and some become smart, civilized, and brave and some become dead. This book represents how much can change when they're no laws, no adults, and only young boys. All these boys lost their innocence while making undecidable decisions and doing risky things.Full transcript