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“We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?” (Golding, Lord of the Flies). A famed quote for an even more famous book, Lord of the Flies. Written by William Golding, it can seem like a simple adventure story when just reading it. But if you truly analyze the text, it’s a deep story about mankind, and what it means to be human. I believe like in the book, where the society the boys built was destroyed, our society is destined to fall. The reasons are both simple, yet very complex: not being able to communicate, the separation of governments, and division of people through religion.
Humans are social creatures. We learn, laugh, and care for the safety of each other… sometimes. War, however, is also something we are used to. War and fighting are probably older than even civilization is. The more modern we become, the more we argue and fight, and even kill. In these modern times, with weapons of mass destruction, the world is a more dangerous place than it has ever been. However, we have speakers to tell our governments not to fight, and to help make laws. This is where the conch comes in. In Lord of the Flies, the boys find a conch early on and use it as a sort of microphone. Whoever is holding the conch gets the right to speak his opinions and thoughts. Without this, there wouldn’t be rules on the island. But, this conch also does cause quite a bit of problems among the boys. The conch eventually leads to Piggy’s death, whom after he voices his opinions starts a fight, getting a rock thrown at him and leading to the poor boys death (Golding, 164-165). These events are most likely symbolism for the real world, how a few truthful, angry words can lead to the death of a (mostly) innocent person. After Piggy’s death, Jack lashed out in rage and tried to kill Ralph as well. Two separate leaders of two different tribes fighting… sounds like a war. And this is even more accurate considering what the two boys represent. Ralph represents a democratic government because he was chosen by his peers to become chief.
Even Ralph himself states, “ ‘I’m the chief’, said Ralph, ‘because you chose me’ ” (Golding, 137). Early on in the book, the boys ‘vote’ for Ralph to be their leader, just like in a democratic government where the people choose their own leader on their own free will. Jack, however, represents an autocratic government. As the book describes him, “painted and garlanded, sat there like an idol..” (Golding, 135). Jack is seemingly worshiped like a god and treats his peers like one. Jack, with Roger by his side, tortured and beat the twins to get them to obey their commands. Even in the final chapter, it is implied Jack and Roger has hurt one of the twins into telling them where they think Ralph is hiding (Golding, 175). These two boys representing two different governments do not get along at all, even in the very beginning Ralph is very skeptical of Jack. As the book is ending towards the end, the two boys loathe each other, and the two tribes have a semi-war. With the two governments fighting for their own causes, with neither being exactly a good intention, it reflects our world perfectly. Along with these wars came anger, sadness, and death. Including the death of a few friends, such as Simon. Simon is a very interesting character to this story. He is kind and quiet, always thinking. He is also the only boy to have truly communicated with the Lord of the Flies. In fact, Simon is the __only boy to not at one point become savage and wild. He seems to behave purely and perfect, almost… holy. More than likely, Simon is symbolism for religion, most specifically Christianity, as he is Jesus Christ. Early on in the story, we see his kind heart. He selflessly gives the little boys the best fruits from on top of the tree, even if they wouldn’t thank him afterward (Golding, 51). This kind act almost mimics the actions of the famous Jesus Christ himself. Even the part where Simon and the Lord of the Flies interact is a heavy indication that the young boy has religious inspirations. While Simon represents Christ, the Lord of the Flies represents Satan. This one is even slightly obvious, as one of the many names for Satan is ‘Beelzebub’, which directly is described as ‘Lord of the Flies’.
The Lord even foreshadows Simon’s untimely demise, saying how he should join his ‘friends’, whom they also have a high risk of dying as we head closer to the end (Golding, 130). But what does this have to do with modern society? Well, early in history, many wars were fought because of religion. One famous example is the crusades, several infamous battles against Christians and Muslims, started to secure the holy land of Jerusalem. Arguably, the two tribes could possibly represent two different religions. They both go to war for the same reason; to gain and have power. Jack wants power, and Ralph, even though he doesn’t specifically state so, wants power as well. The one voice of reason and the neutral man in the middle is the one who ends up getting killed by his friends. Simon is true neutral, and that led to his death. Golding’s first ever novel was an instant classic. With gruesome deaths, aggressive violence, and scenes that make you hold your breath, it’s truly a conversation of humanity and the way we are programmed to behave. After all, we were once wild animals just like the lions and tigers that live out in the jungles. As Piggy shouted angrily, “What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages?” (Golding, 82). What are we? Have we advanced in technology so much we are no longer wild? Or if the situation calls for it, would we go back to our natural survival instincts, living for ourselves with no care whom we hurt?
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