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Boys' Transformation into Savagery in Lord of The Flies

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William Golding’s 1954 novel, “Lord Of The Flies”, conveys the unimaginable journey that a collection of vulnerable British schoolboys experience. After being neglected on a deserted island are left to establish their own civilisation. Golding convinces the reader that humans are inherently evil, through the development of the symbolic conch, signal fire and the beast. Through the collapse of these symbols, Golding uses war allegory to demonstrate how children can be as barbaric as adults when fearful.

Golding expresses, that without the civilisation and structure provided from the conch, fear causes children to adapt into savagery. The conch symbolises democracy and structure. This played a crucial role in their so-called civilisation, granting the holder the right to speak and was the main source of order on the island. Ralph accentuates to the boys, “He can hold it when he’s speaking.” “But–” “Look–” “And he won’t be interrupted. This demonstrates the conch’s influence on the boys at the beginning of the novel and helped them to establish a stable society. Their immaturity led to the irrational decisions that contributed to the corruption of their civilisation. Near the end, as the boys transform into savagery, Golding made it clear that greed to obtain power, resulted in the demise of their civilisation. “The rock struck Piggy a glancing blow from chin to knee; the conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist.” This marks the collapse of their civilisation. The conch, which had symbolised order and civilisation, resulted in the breakdown of society. Fear of losing civilisation caused the boys to do unthinkable things as they grow deeper into savagery. Golding portrays how without order, fear consumes children, causing civilisation to collapse and savagery to be unleashed.

As the signal fire loses its importance, fear of permanent neglect, sparks the boy’s transformation into savagery. The signal fire is a complicated symbol, representing both hope and destruction. With faith of rescue, the boys establish a temporary stable society and prioritise in order to survive. Ralph stresses to the boys, ”The fire is the most important thing on the island. How can we ever be rescued except by luck, if we don’t keep a fire going? Is a fire too much for us to make? Look at us! How many are we? And yet we can’t keep a fire going to make smoke. Don’t you understand? Can’t you see we ought to– ought to die before we let the fire out?”. This quotes signifies the importance of the signal fire when the boys were unified, as it was their only hope of survival. Despite being a correlation to human civilisation, the boys are shortly controlled by the irrepressible fear deep in their hearts. As the novel progresses, they capitulate into the uncivilised wilderness. Their irresponsibility and lack of rational actions to conserve the fire, fuels their transformation into savagery. Ralph, although unsuccessful in his attempts, pleads to the boys stating, ‘We tried to keep the fire going, but we couldn’t. And then you, playing at hunting….”. This exemplifies how the signal fire lost its value at the end of the novel. Without hope of survival, fear of permanent abandonment, caused the boys to become ruthless killers, fascinated by hunting. Golding effectively portrays how fear of permanent neglect, results in the demise of their civilisation.

Golding uses the boy’s fear of the mythical beast to illustrate the corruption of civilisation and change into savagery. The imaginary beast, “also referred to as the snake thing,” represents the primal instinct of savagery that lies beneath all humans. Insecurities of the beast acted as a unifier, uniting the boys. Fear of the unknown caused them to become seemingly closer, forcing them to rely on the viewpoints of stronger others to maintain the peace within society. Ralph assures the others by expressing assertively, “The thing is — fear can’t hurt you any more than a dream. There aren’t any beasts to be afraid of on this island.” This exemplifies how Ralph demystifies the boy’s fears and beliefs of the beast and stability of the civilisation at the beginning of the novel. The longer the boys are on the island, the more uncivilised they become. As they grow into savagery, their suspicions and beliefs of the beast intensify. Which by the end of the novel, the boys are offering sacrifices and treating it as a symbolic god. As Simon discovers the truth of the beast, through the beheading of the mother sow’s head, he’s able to comprehend the cruelty of this heartless act. He states, “Maybe there is a beast… maybe it’s only us.” This demonstrate how far their trust within each other has eroded. Their transformation into savagery results in the loss of identity, causing them to do unimaginable things. Golding conveys how as civilisation corrodes; fear of the unknown consumes children.

Through the corruption of these valued symbols, Golding uses war allegory to demonstrate how children can be as barbaric as adults when in fear. Golding’s distinct use of symbolism is evident through the development of the conch, signal fire and the beast, demonstrates his …view on human nature. Lord Of The Flies effectively portrays how the boys drastically transform, from being obedient British schoolboys into ruthless, serial killing monsters that only care about their own survival.

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Boys’ Transformation Into Savagery In Lord Of The Flies. (2022, February 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved August 16, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/boys-transformation-into-savagery-in-lord-of-the-flies/
“Boys’ Transformation Into Savagery In Lord Of The Flies.” GradesFixer, 10 Feb. 2022, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/boys-transformation-into-savagery-in-lord-of-the-flies/
Boys’ Transformation Into Savagery In Lord Of The Flies. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/boys-transformation-into-savagery-in-lord-of-the-flies/> [Accessed 16 Aug. 2022].
Boys’ Transformation Into Savagery In Lord Of The Flies [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Feb 10 [cited 2022 Aug 16]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/boys-transformation-into-savagery-in-lord-of-the-flies/
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