Advanced English 2
November 12, 2012
Lord of the Flies
The central concern of Lord of the Flies by William Golding is the conflict between two competing impulses that exist within all human beings: good vs. evil. Throughout the novel, Golding associates the instinct of civilization with good and the instinct of savagery with evil. The conflict between the two instincts is the driving force of the novel, explored through the end of the young English boy’s civilized, moral, and disciplined behavior as they adapt themselves to a wild, brutal, and barbaric life on the island. Golding says that evil is an inborn trait of mankind that is held down by society’s rules and ways, and I believe that this isn’t always the case because humans are capable of a lot of goodness, and evil is more nurtured. Golding's use of characterization backs up his view that all men have the capacity for evil due to their instinctive human nature. Golding portrays the two main male characters of Jack and Ralph as the primary examples of this theme. As the story progresses Golding portrays Jack to be selfish, cruel, and corrupt as he was driven to violence. "[Jack] tried to convey the compulsion to track down and kill that was swallowing him up." (Chapter 3, pg 47). This quote shows Jack’s impulse to kill the pig after letting it go the first time. This was the beginning of Jack’s savagery. Additionally, the description of Jack towards the conclusion of the book reveals how devious and
monstrous Jack has become. Ralph accuses Jack of being "a beast and a swine and a bloody, bloody thief!" (Page 179). This statement is the concise outline of all that Jack has become. Finally, as showed mid way through the story, Jack reveals his true vicious nature as he was "On top of the sow, stabbing downward with his knife.... Jack found the throat and the hot blood spouted over his hands" (Chapter 8, Page 135). All of these descriptive characterizations of Jack committing violence as a beast and becoming a thief show that he has fully exhibited his ability for evil proving Golding's point that all humans can give in to their inner demons. Therefore, Golding's use of characterization through Jack’s dialogue and actions supports his idea that all human beings are capable of evil.
On the island the boys believe that a “beastie” lives there, and is trying to harm the boys. It is their irrational fear of the beast that brings out the boy’s paranoia and leads to the fatal division between Jack and Ralph and their followers. “There aren't any beasts to be afraid of on this island....Serve you right if something did get you, you useless lot of crybabies!" (Chapter 5, pg. 75). This is what prevents them from recognizing and addressing their responsibility for their own impulses. Rather, the "beast" is an internal force, present in every individual, and is thus incapable of being truly defeated. The most ethical characters on the islandSimon and Ralpheach come to recognize their own capacity for evil. This indicates the novel's emphasis on evil's universality among humans.
Golding believes that mankind is born with an evil instinct inside that is held down by society and its ways. I do not believe in Golding’s view on evil. Instead humans are
nurtured and brought up to be evil. Evil isn’t our natural instinct but is nurtured instead. An example of this is criminals. Ulysses Handy was 24 when he walked into a friend's home in Tacoma, Wash., looking to steal money he knew was there. He shot two of his neighbors, and was later on arrested. According to Handy, he felt no sympathy for the victims. “The disobedience of the hardened personality could be one of three things.” You're dealing with illness, brute contempt for others or bravado," Welner said. "I would have every reason to believe that he's terrified, because when you take his gun away, ...
Cited: Wallace, Rob. "Evil: Nature or Nurture?" ABC News. ABC News Network, 10 July 2007. Web.
13 Nov. 2014.
Sarah Mae Sincero (Sep 16, 2012). Nature and Nurture Debate. Retrieved Nov 14,
2014 from Explorable.com: http://explorable.com/naturevsnurturedebate
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