Opposed to this natural evil is the learned set of morals, good behaviour and rules, the “Super-ego”, that are imposed on every individual by its surroundings and that build up society. Golding suggests that these rules cannot eradicate our inborn evil part, but are capable to mitigate the full expression of out savagery. Throughout the novel Golding associates the instinct of civilisation with good and the instinct of savagery with evil. The story starts off with two of the stranded, English boys, Ralph and Piggy, finding a conch shell and using it to assemble the other stranded children.
At this assembly the boys democratically elect a leader, namely Ralph. This election and the chosen leader are the representation of civilisation, because democracy is a social system based on equality and the interest of the group. The democratically chosen leader Ralph and his conch shell, which enables democracy and thereby a form of order to develop within the group, are the symbols of rule and civilised society. The second candidate of this election is Jack, an English choir boy, who is outraged when he doesn’t win the election. To satisfy him, Ralph puts him in charge of hunting.
Jacks desire to kill the pigs, to demonstrate his bravery, so his innate desire to kill is channelled into something productive by Ralph, by letting Jack provide food by hunting. This suggests that society, in this example again represented by Ralph, has the duty to provide outlet for the savage impulses of each individual. The hunting of first pigs and, later on humans also shows the gradual descent into savagery. As their urge to catch and kill a pig grows, so do their savage impulses. This can be seen clearly in the comparison of the first hunting scene and the first successful killing.
... precipitously while Jack’s rises. When Jack forms a separate, rival group, the focus is on hunting and savagery rather than rescue. Ralph starts to ... represents the instinct of savagery, violence and the desire of power. When Jack didn’t want Ralph to be the leader anymore, most of ... the leader of the choirboys, who will be the hunters. The first time Jack encountered a pig, he was not able to kill ...
During the first hunt they boys accidently come across a young piglet that is caught up in the creepers of the forest. The boys catch the innocent you creature and Jack wants to kill it, but his morals and embarrassment hold him from actually doing the deed. In the scene where the boys first manage to actually catch and kill a pig, they already show some attributes of savagery, for example their painted faces , or the fact, that they want to kill the pig and enjoy killing it or that they give in to the total frenzy and ecstasy after the kill.
Assured by his success in hunting Jack starts more and more to question Ralph’s power and authority and as the conflict between the two deepens, the conch shell loses some of its symbolic importance. In the book this is emphasised by Golding, by describing the shell as more and more pale and fragile, which of course is symbolic for civilisation and the authority of civilisation getting weaker and weaker. As the plot continues Ralph still tries to use his authority to establish rules and enforce moral and ethical codes of the society the boys were raised in.
He tries to get the boys to work together on keeping a signal fire going and thereby keeping up the hope of being rescued. This signal fire also represents the overall whish of the boys to get home and return to civilised society. As long as the fire burns, at least some degree of association and wish with and for civilisation can be measured amongst the boys. The first signal fire is maintained until the rumours of a “snake-thing”, or “beastie” living on the mountain top, where the fire is burning, come up and seem to be proven by some of the boys.
This belief in a supernatural being or beast is a clear signal for the loss of power of rational thinking and human logic that are both an element of civilised society. When the boys abandon the post of the signal fire, they also give up some of their hope of being rescued and it seems as if they are already starting to forget, that they want to be rescued and that they cease to want to return to civilisation. Jack on the other hand is not interested in keeping a signal fire going, because he does not want to be rescued.
Lord of the Flies Essay In the compelling story Lord of the Flies, author, William Golding uses symbolism to help the reader comprehend the concept of this story. Lord of the Flies takes place in the 1940's, around the time of WWII. A plane containing a group of young British boys around the ages 7-14 crashes on a deserted island in the Pacific Ocean. Any adults on this plane were killed by the ...
It is ironic that, in the end, he starts off the fire, that leads to their rescue. Another development that can be traced throughout the book is the idea of man hunting, which symbolises the complete descent into savagery. It starts off after the first kill, when the boys re-enact the hunt and use a boy as a pig and beat him up. It gradually escalates first with the second re-enactment of the second killing, where the boys almost kill Roger and escalates in the final kill of a human being: Simon. This happens after Jack as openly declared his break with Ralphs group, and thereby his break with all social and civilised values, and forms his own tribe, that is based on a totalitarian power system with Jack at its top. He and his boys give in to their savage impulses completely when they “do their dance” and “mistake” Simon for the beast and tare him apart with their bare hands. After this the catastrophe continues with the murder of Piggy and the man hunt of Ralph. The killing of Piggy also causes the conch shell to break and thereby shatters the last symbols of civilisation.
During the hunt on him, Ralph breaks the “Lord of the Flies”, so the sows head, which is the symbol of savagery and evil, in order to use the stick the head was staked on, and this symbolizes him giving in to savagery. Last the boys are rescued by a naval officer who, on the one hand stands for authority and civilisation but, on the other hand, is involved in a war, so a civilized man hunt, thereby again showing attributes of the worst implementation of savagery, which gives the book an ironic ending.