Cultural Assumption: Savagery

In the novel Lord of the Flies I have noticed that the book is based around the cultural assumption that without authority, people will give in to savagery. He uses the climax of the book to show

The novel starts when a plane gets shot down that was flying over an uninhabited island that was evacuating school boys from England during the war. All of the boys survived the plane crash but the pilot did not, making the boys the only people on the island. Order is attempted to be made by electing a leader from the boys and dividing the boys up into groups, but order is soon lost, and the boys quickly resort to savagery.

Early on in the book the hunters start to feel the blood lust and thrill in killing animals, and begin to lose their sense of morality, by re-enacting their hunts in a sort of tribal dance. There were some boys who tried to keep their sense of morality like Ralph, but in the end even Ralph falls victim to the thrill of hunting, and losing his sense of innocence when he kills his first Boar, he even says "The desire to squeeze and hurt was over-mastering."

In this novel the boys believe there is a monster on the island and during one of the nights there is a dog fight in the sky while everyone is asleep, a parachutist escapes one of planes and gets caught in a tree on the island and dies, one of the boys sees the silhouette of the parachutist and fear leads him to believe that it is the monster that everyone has been talking about, the boy runs back to the group and tells them about it, and Jack comes up with the idea to give the beast an offering, so he kills a dow, decapitates it, and puts its head on a sharpened stake in the jungle. Simon encounters this bloody fly covered head and he has a vision where it is if the head was speaking to him as the "Lord of the Flies" and it told Simon that he could never escape him, because he existed within all men.

This is an example of the cultural assumption that without authority, people become savages. It isn't until Simon sees the dead Parachutist that he understands what his vision was telling him. When Simon gets back to the other boys who had just gotten over the sighting of "the beast" they all think that Simon is the beast and he was beaten to death by all of the boys.

Eventually Jack goes off to form his own tribe of hunters, and everybody decides to join Jack except for Ralph and Piggy, who are then hunted. Piggy attempts to make Jack see reason, but on his way to their tribe a boy rolls a boulder off a cliff and kills Piggy, and Ralph barely escapes a barrage of spears.

I believe this cultural assumption is not accurate, because I feel that somebody's conscience would be a much larger power at play, and I feel that order could be found even in an event like this, I don't feel that we would lose our sense of morality as easily as these boys did.

I believe that Golding accepted this cultural assumption because he grew up in a time of war and he went into World War 2 himself and he saw the evil that was in the hearts of all men, and he would have been inspired to write a book about the evil in all men, and he did this by using the innocent young boys in this book.

An artwork of Ralph staring at the severed head of a pig, and realising the savagery in the heart of men.
An abstract painting of Ralph, forshadowing what will become of him during the course of the book.

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