Civilization and Savagery: A Growing Struggle
Civilization and savagery are totally opposites. Mass societies usually engaged to chaos and ill structured societies; while organized and well leading societies are more engaged to be civilized and ordered. To be civilized means to have rules that control over all, to be attached to specific laws, to stick to those laws and to be aware of your surroundings. On the other hand, to be barbarian indicates to have fewer rules, less control over all, and in some cases to go over those rules and to break them. In “Lord of the Flies” cruelty and savagery which are parts of human’s nature, has been left alone to roam the entire island. This happened when civilization began shrinking and diminishing. W. Golding tries to express the need for adults and for civilization in order to maintain the evil, cruel beast in all of us. Within the novel, he presented many conflicts, man vs. man, man vs. nature, etc. but the basic conflict was between civilization and savagery. The conflict between civilization and savagery in Lord of the Flies is used to reinforce the transformation from civilized and ordered boys to savage and barbarian boys.
Civilization is usually reflected by order, rules, authority and law. Any civilized society has to have rules to control over all it, and since the beginning of the novel Golding shows this when the boys first need for a leader arise. To select a leader they have to put some rules at first. Therefore they weren’t able to talk at the same time, and to have this done Ralph suggested using the “conch” as a right giver to speech. “That’s what this shell’s called. I’ll give
Civilization and the Civilizing Process: Freud and Elias For many years the name of Norbert Elias was almost unknown in the sociology. However, his work on civilization, The Civilizing Process finally made the authors famous and brought him respect he deserved. This book put its author at the line with such famous author like Freud, as the authors tried to explore the civilization and the nature ...
the conch to the next person to speak. He can hold it when he’s speaking.” (Golding p.36) At first, they used the conch as an instrument for who could speak and who has to listen, here,
it’s obvious that they still have some order from their English nature; the conch they’ve used represents their civilized nature. In addition, they had a simplified election that goes with their age, they choose Ralph to be their guide. They recognized that their life on that island needs to be organized and to get it well, they need to have only one person to decide things. In order to reach this they had to make elections and the winner was Ralph because of the conch he was holding, and the boys used to respect the conch holder as he’s the power.” Let him be chief with the trumpet-thing.” (p.24) Even though they are “little-uns”, but they have decided to do something well or their thinking was going on the right direction. They’ve divided themselves into several groups in order to accomplish a certain aim. There were no adults to solve the problems they face; they were responsible for every single thing they face! They wanted to be rescued, and to reach this goal they tried to work together without needing adults. Thus, Ralph decided to make a fire on the top of the mountain, so that if any ship passes from there it can help them.
This is another example about their civilized nature. “There’s another thing. We can help them to find us. If a ship comes near the island they may not notice us. So we must make smoke on top of the mountain. We must make a fire.” (p.41) To make a fire as an instrument to be rescued indicates that they are still attached to their routes. They wanted to be rescued and to return to the society they came from. It was like a tool of measurement that measures the boys’ desire for being rescued. Jack and his followers were responsible for keeping the fire going on, “And we’ll be responsible for keeping a look too. If we see a ship out there.” (p.47) But, because of their savage nature they didn’t look for the signal fire as well as it’s required. They were busy in something else rather than the fire. When the fire was going low, the boys’ civilized behavior was going low too. They became
Character Analysis: Ralph: main character- Ralph is the narrator of the story. Jack: Jack is Ralph main enemy in the story. He leads the hunters. Piggy: Piggy is the smart one of the group. Simon: He is my favorite character in the story. He is viewed as the Christ-figure and interprets the mysteries of the island. Roger: Roger is Jack's "sidekick" and is a vicious murderer at heart. Sam and Eric: ...
more attached to the savage nature of Jack and his rivals. Their desire to be rescued was going down and down by the time. Now, the conflict between civilization and savagery is on
its’ way to grow further and further more; it’d started with Ralph’s winning the election then it moves to the fire ignorance.
Four chapters after the beginning, it was visible that the boys’ behaviors are shifting towards savagery. For it’s easier to live without rules, without anything to control you, they wanted to be free, with no limitations. No adults are involved in “Lord of the Flies”, they were all little children aged between 7-12 years so that there were no one who is responsible for their acts except their little immature selves.
As the novel progresses, the conflict is growing and growing between the two poles of civilization and savagery represented by Ralph and Jack. Ralph the innocent leader and Jack the wild powered boy. Since they started to argue, to disagree and disobey the rules, they started shifting towards savagery. First, they started to argue and they were about to fight when Jack and his followers ignored the signal fire for hunting pigs while a ship was passing near the island, so they missed an opportunity to be rescued! “Ralph brought his arm down, fist clenched, and his voice shook. There was a ship. Out there. You said you’d keep the fire going and you let it out! He took a step towards Jack who turned and faced him.” (p.76) the antagonism between Ralph and Jack was audible since now. They’ve never liked each other. Jack wants to be the leader, which was the main reason for his hatred for Ralph. This signal fire was like a division point; it divided the two groups of boys after ignoring it and they were gradually shifting towards savagery. Another indicator to their transformation is not obeying the rule which the conch plays. Their behavior and their respect to the conch are going low and low in addition to painting their faces. Based upon what I read about this topic, the boys painted their faces in order to hide their real faces, they tried to deny their reality. So by
In "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding, a group of kids crash lands on an uninhabited island. As the time passes, two rival groups emerge, each having a leader with his own view on how to lead. Ralph's rule was democratic. He believed that order could be achieved by peaceful negotiations and reasoning. He got the kids to elect him as a chief rather than enforcing his own rule. He attempted to ...
painting their faces they’ll be attached to savagery and “forest rules” than human rules. “Jack planned his new face. He made one cheek and one eye-socket white, then rubbed red over the
other half of his face and slashed a black bar of charcoal across from right ear to left jaw. He looked in the mere for his reflection, but his breathing troubled the mirrors.” (p.68) Also, Jack, was the first one who went over the rules. He started to talk without turn and without holding the conch. He was the first one who abandoned the conch rule, he usually interrupted the person who is talking but no one said any thing. “Jack broke in, contemptuously. You’re always scared.” “I got the conch.” “Conch! Conch!” Shouted Jack, “we don’t need the conch any more. We know who ought to say things.” (p.111) As the novel is moving forward, its clear that civilization is shrinking and diminishing, instead savagery and evil is taking place. This is due to human’s nature. Human being was created savage. If we back on time, we can find that humans were different than today, they used to live in caves and to hunt to get their food, they used to live with animals wild and not wild. Their nature was barbaric, because they wanted to live and to survive. Nearly like those boys on that unknown island. In order to survive they are giving all their believes and their civilized behavior up, and they tend to be barbarian boys instead. Therefore, the boys now are divided into two groups, one is following Ralph and the other is following savage Jack; the civilized one -in some how- and the animalistic group.
The final stage of their transformation started with the boys’ growing desire for hunting. Their desire for hunting was tangible since they were in the way for hunting more and more pigs. By the time, they were going close to animalistic nature. They wanted to hunt and kill more and more pigs, they’ve become bloodthirsty. “Kill the pig! Cut his throat! Kill the pig! Bash him in!” (p.126) The desire to squeeze and hurt was over-mastering. The boys couldn’t
control this desire of killing, moreover than this; it leads them to kill Simon, even by mistake it’s a crime by itself. Their desire of killing has moved from killing pigs to killing human
... and knocks Piggy to the rocks below. The conch is destroyed and Piggy is dead. Samneric are captured and Ralph escapes narrowly. Jack and his ... chaos. Jack Jack is the leader of the choir boys who become the first band of hunters. He is intent on becoming savage and ... is depleting and order is turning to chaos. The boys are turning into savages.' He sunned himself in their new respect and ...
beings. At first they killed Simon. They thought that he is the beast. “The sticks fell and the mouth of the new circle crunched and screamed. The beast was on its knees in the centre, its arms folded over its face. It was crying out against the abominable noise something about a body on the hill.” (p.168) This uncontrollable animalistic desire is very good evidence to the shift they’ve been through. The more they kill the more civilization and order is diminishing and washing away. And the more savage and chaos is spread over them. Then, the savage hunters attacked their basic enemies “Ralph and Piggy”. Ralph and Piggy became Jack and his rival’s enemies; they wanted to get rid of them for no reason! Only because Jack -now- has the power and control over the whole island. One night he attacks Ralph and Piggy on the beach, and he stole Piggy’s glasses. All of his behaviors became animalistic behaviors. Chapter by chapter civilization is dying, until it reaches its peak. When Ralph and Piggy went to the castle rock where Jack exists, Ralph, Piggy and Jack argued violently, and one of the savage boys throw a rock at Piggy that caused his death! And the conch that he was holding shattered.
That was Roger the evilest boy on the island after Jack. “The rock struck Piggy a glancing blow from chin to knee; the conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist.” (p.200) By reaching this stage that is the most important stage within the novel, civilization is completely beaten by savagery that is now controls the whole island and its rules are going over every body. Now, Ralph is left alone, with no one or no company. He’s the weaker boy there, with no power and no hope. Ralph’s hope started to disappear, he ran towards the beach and there he fell in front of feet of a British navy officer, who was the savior for Ralph from the other savage boys. This was the end of the novel, which Golding
wrapped the novel up effectively with it; because the need for adults is the missing piece that leads to all of this transformation. A world without adults is a messy world, even though the
beast is existed in all of us, but in an adults world it can be controlled and can be lead in some way.
... and swung at Ralph with his spear. (p. 196). The more savage Jack becomes, the more he is able to control the rest of ... and threatens those boys “below” him. Jack is getting out of control and leads his “tribe” towards Simon’s and Piggy’s murder. He ... to the civilized world. Ralph encouraged the boys to build huts, but all the boys, except Simon and Piggy are concerned with playing, having ...
All in all, the novel is developed to opposite of what it was once before. The boys order steadily declined as savagery took over and came chaos instead. The island itself was a paradise but at the end it turned to prison or to hell! The conflict leads to decline civilization and order, and transformed into barbaric and savage nature. As Ralph loses his control and Jack introduces savagery and dictatorship.
Braid, Christina Perez. “Understanding Lord of the Flies (Book).” Utopian ]Studies 13, no. 1 (June 2002): 236. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed April 9, 2010).
Fleischmann, Wolfgang Bernard. “Encyclopedia of World Literature in the 20th Century”. Vol.2. United states of America: Frederick Unga Publishing, 1977.
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. London: Faber and Faber, 1954.
Kornhauser, William. The Politics of Mass Society. New York: Free Press,
Veidemanis, Gladys. “Lord of the Flies in the Classroom- No passing fad”. The English Journal, no. 8, vol. 53. Nov.1964. JSTOR (accessed April 7, 2010).