Human Values And Social Structures Essay, Research Paper
It can be said that Golding describes the moral of the book in relation to the scientific mechanics of society. This is found as a major theme in the book, which is actually fear. The boys on the island view this ideal in the form of the “beastie”. The “beastie” is an unseen figure on the island, which is symbolized of the dead parachutist. This fear, however, represents the potential evil found in humans. Yet, this evil is only brought about amongst specific environmental conditions, which Golding synthesized in the book.
The most interesting aspect and probably the most influential characteristic of the story is found to be the age of the characters. The author successfully attempts to show how capable the aspect of evil is among human beings. However, Golding perfects this idea as he used children, who represent purity and innocence in a normal society. Through the use of children, the reader finds that barbarity and savagery can exist amongst even the smallest and most innocuous form of human beings.
In Lord of the Flies, many key characters and symbols represent the almost civilized impulse. Some examples are Ralph, Piggy, and the ?conch shell? the boys use to call meetings. These are signs of order and control in a place full of fear and mental pressure. Simon is an example of how humans slowly evolve and adjust in their surroundings because he takes control of the situation. Simon acts morally on the island, he behaves kindly to the younger children, and he is the first to realize the problem posed by the beast and the Lord of the Flies. The problem that there is no external monster, but rather that a monster lurks within each human being.
Two important symbols of civilization, the conch and the glasses, are closely followed throughout the action. As the civilized life breaks up on the island, the glasses are broken and stolen, and the conch is crushed. Piggy, who wears the glasses and carries the conch, is killed.
Golding?s characters have a depth and are believable for the somewhat unbelievable situation they are put in. Each character has his own fully developed personality. He does this while maintaining a certain symbolism in the characters. Each characters, while being their own person, symbolizes some idea, but not to the point where the characters are flat.
Ralph is twelve and one of the older boys on the island. He is the leader throughout most of the book being determined, rational, and understanding. He is dressed as in a typical school uniform, but not as the choir boys. He tries to understand the problem and the people on the island trying to give rational solutions. However, psychologically, he loses faith in the boys and decides that he has little hope to restore order into the island. His purpose is to show the reader through his eyes the degradation of the society on the island, and thereby show the innate evil within man. “This expresses his understanding and caring side.”
Jack is also one of the older boys and about Ralph’s age. He starts as the leader of the choir boys, and develops into the leader of the hunters eventually taking over everyone on the island. He is dressed nicely in a choir boy outfit. He is strong, villainous, and proud perpetuating the crimes committed by the boys on the island. He cares only for his own power and not for the common good. He disregards order and in him the reader clearly sees the innate evil of man since he was the one that cast off society earliest. He becomes Ralph?s most powerful antagonist because of this. “I ought to be chief because I?m chorister and head boy. I can sing C sharp.”
Piggy is slightly younger than Ralph and in the weakling in the group being overweight and suffering from asthma. He is dressed similar to Ralph in a typical school uniform and ears glasses. He is weak, smart, and friendly. While is put down by the other boys, he is necessary on the island as a source of intelligence and insight. His insights are often ignored because of his weak appearance and he is killed by the Jack and his savages. “My auntie told me not to run on account of my asthma.”
The one complicating element in the novel is the character of Simon. Piggy characterizes the scientific, intellectual, and moral aspects of human dignity. Simon seems to represent a kind of natural, spiritual human goodness. The other characters in the novel leave moral behavior as soon as things start to get out of control. Simon?s murder puzzles most people in the overwhelming abundance of evil put against the only moral person of the story.
Simon is the saint in the story. He is skinny and dressed similar to Ralph in the school uniform. He is kind, caring and sincere. In the novel, he serves to bring a certain insight into the story. He is the one that seems to best understand the inner evil, and the first to understand the beast. He takes care of the littluns. Sadly, his insight is lost among the boys as he is killed being mistaken for the beast. “Simon, sitting between the twins and Piggy, wiped his mouth and shoved his piece of meat over the rocks to Piggy, who grabbed it. The twins giggled and Simon lowered his face in shame.”
The “Lord of the Flies” helps tie the novel together. It is planted in the forest after the first pig is killed and is discovered by Simon shortly before his death at the hands of the savages. It is also seen by Ralph, as he tries to escape certain death from the hunters; he appropriately throws it to the ground and breaks it.
The fire is another image that weaves the story together. The first fire on the mountaintop is allowed to rage out of control, killing the first victim in the story and foreshadowing that life, like the fire, will rage out of control. The second fire is allowed to go out, causing them to miss their first possible rescue from a passing ship. Ralph constantly worries about the fire as a signal; Jack worries about it as a means to prepare the meat from the hunt. In the end, Ralph is unable to build a fire, for Jack has stolen Piggy’s glasses.
The hunters, instead, try to burn Jack up as he hides in the thicket. Ironically, it is this fire, that has evil intent, that signals their existence and brings their rescue and return to civilization. Obviously, Golding has structured the novel with great purpose and intent.
In a pivotal chapter (chapter five) one of the children declares ? We’re all drifting and things are going rotten. At home there was always a grown-up. ? These two sentences are significant, in that, by filling his island with castaway children (as opposed to adults) Golding allows us to consider more aspects of “innate” or instinctual human nature than if it had been otherwise. If this island were inhabited by castaway “grown-ups”, the results and conclusions they came to would be conditioned by all of the ingenuity, resourcefulness, and maturity with which they’d have dealt with previous struggles and needs. But, for lack of experience, children are not afforded as many lessons based on past decisions as are “grown-ups”.
This very fact is what often makes their individual and collective behavior all the more interesting to observe. It makes their cruelty seem all the more cruel; their sense of self-preservation all the more savage. But then again, it makes their sense of innocent trust and devotion seem all the more pure and majestic; any acts of magnanimity or solace all the more unaccountable; their ability to work together for some common purpose seem all the more heroic or civilized!
In children, the profoundly bad astounds us every bit as much as the profoundly good. And that is because (whether we are aware of it or not), in observing children we’re closer to observing human nature as it really is, than is the case with adults. In my opinion, this is why Golding inhabited his island with children.
He wanted to emphasize the full range of possibilities in the human condition, typified in this case by Ralph’s tears on the very last page. Tears, we are told, which he wept “for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart.”
Golding write the novel in the third person perspective. There is one omniscient narrator. Although the book generally follows Ralph, it occasionally breaks off and follows another character for a time. This entire book is autobiographical in that it tells us something the author wants to show us. Golding tries to teach us and warn us of the evil nature of mankind. He says through the book that we are evil and that it is only society that keeps us from committing crimes.
With the frenzied killing of Simon in chapter 9 comes the real disintegration, a rapid descent into moral anarchy. Ralph seems to be the only one who begins to understand the horrifying reality of what they’ve done in this act, and further, what they’ve become. He is the only one who dares to say it… “That was murder.”
He has the keenest sense of the mob mentality that will inevitably run roughshod over the individual conscience. Earlier than any of the others he understands their own capacity for evil and says to Piggy, “I’m frightened. Of us. I want to go home. O God I want to go home.” The staccato effect of those first two sentences is much more powerful than if rolled into one.
One can interpret that Golding is trying to represent human nature in its entirety. It is obvious that Golding is showing all levels of human capability in terms of psychology and science. The reader sees that humans exist in higher levels, such as present day activity, as well as the lowest form, which is represented by Lord of the Flies . The author creates a situation, which includes factors that are capable of forcing humans to fall into lower forms of mentality.
A very important concept of the story is the fact that in the society which was created on the island, order is a needed tool for existence. The concept of order is found to be a key issue as the society which Golding created contained no order. This book accurately shows how the absence of order results in an alteration of moral behavior. In Lord of the Flies , morals can be seen in the form of aggressive behavioral actions. Such actions include the murder of Piggy. Obviously children would never come to such decisions or actions against one another under normal societal conditions. However, Golding creates a barbaric civilization in which children do such actions.
Lord of the Flies can be considered a classical novel. A classic in the respect that the author creates special circumstances under which abnormal actions and functions mutate into everyday activity. All of these concepts and ideals are generated by Golding to finally produce a novel of both perplexity and perfection.