A Comparison of Coral Island and Lord of The Flies

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 724 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Words: 724|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Table of contents

  1. The Portrayal of Human Nature
  2. The Role of Civilization
  3. Conclusion
  4. References:

In the realm of literature, there are often stories that share similar themes or ideas, providing readers with different perspectives and insights. William Golding's "Lord of the Flies" and R.M. Ballantyne's "Coral Island" are two such novels that explore the concept of civilization and human nature. While both books depict a group of boys stranded on an uninhabited island, their approaches and underlying messages differ significantly. This essay will compare and contrast "Coral Island" and "Lord of the Flies," highlighting the contrasting portrayals of human nature and the implications of civilization on individuals.

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The Portrayal of Human Nature

One of the key differences between "Coral Island" and "Lord of the Flies" lies in their portrayal of human nature. In Ballantyne's novel, the boys stranded on the island, Ralph, Jack, and Peterkin, maintain their civilized behavior throughout their ordeal. They work together, establish rules, and maintain a sense of order. In contrast, Golding's characters, Ralph, Jack, and Piggy, descend into savagery and chaos, ultimately leading to the tragic demise of their society.

For instance, in "Coral Island," the boys effectively govern themselves, with Ralph acting as the leader and upholding the values of morality and civility. They establish a democratic system and maintain a division of labor to ensure the well-being of the group. This is evident when Ballantyne writes, "We were so orderly and happy that one would have thought we had been at sea for years rather than days" (Ballantyne, 78). The boys' ability to maintain their civilized behavior highlights their inherent goodness and their capability to create a harmonious society.

On the other hand, "Lord of the Flies" presents a much darker view of human nature. Golding's characters, particularly Jack, succumb to their primal instincts and embrace violence and anarchy. As the boys' society crumbles, their actions become increasingly brutal, reflecting their regression into savagery. Golding describes this descent into chaos, stating, "The desire to squeeze and hurt was over-mastering" (Golding, 113). This vivid portrayal of the boys' savage nature serves as a warning about the inherent evil that can exist within humanity.

The Role of Civilization

Another aspect that distinguishes "Coral Island" from "Lord of the Flies" is their respective treatment of civilization. In Ballantyne's novel, civilization is portrayed as an inherent aspect of human existence, one that can be upheld even in the face of adversity. The boys' ability to create a functioning society on the island suggests that civilization is a fundamental part of human nature, capable of overcoming any challenges.

Ballantyne emphasizes the importance of civilization when he writes, "Civilization is the very basis of human existence. It is the light that guides us amidst the darkness of our instincts" (Ballantyne, 91). This statement underscores the belief that civilization provides structure, order, and morality, enabling individuals to rise above their basic instincts and create a harmonious community.

Contrastingly, "Lord of the Flies" presents a bleaker view of civilization. Golding suggests that civilization is a fragile construct that can easily crumble in the face of fear, power, and the absence of authority. The boys' descent into savagery reveals the inherent fragility of civilization and calls into question its ability to restrain the darker aspects of human nature.

Moreover, Golding explores the idea that civilization is merely a thin veneer that masks the true nature of humans. He writes, "The mask was a thing on its own, behind which Jack hid, liberated from shame and self-consciousness" (Golding, 111). This quote symbolizes the boys' transition from civilized individuals to ruthless savages, suggesting that civilization is merely a façade that can easily be discarded.

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In conclusion, "Coral Island" and "Lord of the Flies" provide contrasting portrayals of human nature and the implications of civilization. While "Coral Island" emphasizes the inherent goodness of individuals and the ability to maintain civilization even in challenging circumstances, "Lord of the Flies" delves into the darker aspects of human nature and questions the effectiveness of civilization in restraining these tendencies. These novels serve as cautionary tales, reminding readers of the potential for both good and evil within humanity. Whether one believes in the inherent goodness of individuals, as depicted in "Coral Island," or the inherent darkness, as illustrated in "Lord of the Flies," these novels invite us to reflect on the delicate balance between civilization and the primal instincts that lie within us all.


  1. Ballantyne, R. M. (1857). The Coral Island.
  2. Golding, W. (1954). Lord of the Flies.
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A Comparison of Coral Island and Lord of the Flies. (2024, Jun 13). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 17, 2024, from
“A Comparison of Coral Island and Lord of the Flies.” GradesFixer, 13 Jun. 2024,
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