This sample essay on Lord Of The Flies Human Nature reveals arguments and important aspects of this topic. Read this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and the conclusion below.
Is ‘Lord of the Flies’ a searching examination of human nature? “We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all, we’re not savages. We’re English, and the English are best at everything. ” These are lines taken from chapter 2 of the novel ‘Lord of the Flies’. To show the change in the character and the situation through the novel here is another quote from the last chapter of the novel, “I should have thought,” said the officer as he visualized the search before him, “I should have thought that a pack of British boys— you’re all British aren’t you? — would have been able to put up a better show than that— I mean—”.
The novel shows itself to be a lot of things, a comment on war, an adventure novel or a statement of character.
Through the book Golding attempts to not only warn us about the consequences of another war, but also enables us to view an array of different personalities and people profiles. Yes, ‘Lord of the Flies’ is a searching examination of human nature, where from the reader not only gets an authorial opinion on various types of people but also get to, for themselves, form an image of the individualities of each and every character.
The arguable protagonist of the novel is Ralph, a rational and democratic leader who is somewhat obsessed with the fire.
In the start of the novel he too is indifferent towards the easy target Piggy, but slowly learns to respect him. It is Ralph who initially keeps the boys focused on their goal of being rescued, but as his mind gets clouded so does his objective. Golding shows Ralph to be the civilised man, an evolved creature who conforms to society but still has his flaws. Ralph shows his flaws when he continues to disregard Piggy’s asthma by saying, “Sucks to your as-mar! whenever the topic is broached. He also shows poor judgement when he gives into his primitive instincts and participates in the killing of Simon. Ralph to the reader symbolises the leader who is civilised and dedicated but can often slip-up and make mistakes. His relatable reactions and simple solutions represent a man of will, who is defeated by circumstance. He wants to let the fire continue but has too little manpower to do so, but still persists on finding a solution the next day. We also see him to be delusional at times, like when the curtain flickers in his brain and he is unable to think.
His biggest moment of what can be called stupidity is when he says, “Supposing we go, looking like we used to, washed and hair brushed— after all we aren’t savages really and being rescued isn’t a game—”. He believes that despite the savagery that has spread through Jack and this tribe they will listen to him if he takes a shower, it is possibly his biggest moment of failure. Through the same instance we see another trait of human nature in him which is desperation. Ralph is trying to cling on to any little form of order and hope that he can muster.
He hopes to win the other boys over with his endeavour to appeal to the little remnants of civilisation. Another striking event that stands out with respect to Ralph is when he slaughters “the beast”, he is the one trying to establish decorum and it is he who destroys the reason for chaos. To contrasts Ralph as the civilised human being Golding creates Jack, the adversary. Ironically a choir boy, Jack slowly turns out to be tyrannical dictator and comes to represent the evil or the ruthless side of human nature.
At first, Jack goes along with Ralph and allows himself to be appeased as the head of the hunters. He is content with his position and desperately tries to gather meat. His first attempt at killing the animal is disastrous not due to lack of skill, but because he still has some conscience left in him and is actually scared of committing the murder. He also says that while he hunts he feels like he is “being hunted”. This shows the last fragments of humanity left in him. He turns into an almost repulsive animal at the end of the novel.
Golding shows man’s primitive instincts in Jack, his need for food, power and blood. We often wonder from where the deep seethed blackness appears in Jack. I can only speculate that the intensive education provided to him in the church results in a catastrophic rebellion where Jack loses all sense of sanity and conforms to the baser human. Towards the end of the novel Jack is adhered to as the chief and everyone on the island fears him. He hates Piggy from the very beginning and is fearful of his intelligence.
He knows that Piggy’s rationality could be responsible for his downfall and could harm his dictatorship. He is envious of his superiority. “His tone conveyed a warning, given out of the pride of ownership, and the boys ate faster while there was still time. ” Jack establishes his authority through brutality and force. He symbolises the savage and primitive part of human nature. His interactions with others more or less result in a display of rage and anger and he pitilessly forces the others to adhere to him. He orders the murder of Simon, the theft of Piggy’s glasses and even asks for Ralph’s life.
Golding, through him examines, in depth the evil within man and the ugly part of the human mind. Another character that Golding uses to further examine the human race is that of Piggy. Through this “fat boy” the author shows rationality, reason, science and intelligence. Piggy along with his specs is the symbol of wisdom and provides an outlook into scientific man. Despite his intelligence, Piggy has his short comings; he has asthma and is a social outcast due to his superior intellect. He is fear full of Jack and even says, “We should fear each other”.
His character gives the reader yet another example of a different type of human being, one who is above the rest intellectually but suffers from isolation and anxiety. Through him, Golding dives deeper into the psyche of a visionary. While Piggy, as a character does lend himself to the examination of human nature, his death too is a fine example of Golding’s thesis. When Piggy is killed by the stone which is rolled down we see no humanity left within these boys. We see only Ralph grieving the loss of a great friend, but everybody else especially Jack is oblivious.
This shows us the common feeling of envy within man. All the boys were jealous of Piggy, his glasses and his intelligence. The Conch too shatters with Piggy which further accentuates the dilapidation of civilisation on the island, it also highlights man’s complete disregard for rules and his natural instinct to rebel. If Jack is part of darkest hues in the character palate, and Ralph can be painted in shades of grey, Simon resembles the purity of white. In Simon Golding explores the spiritual and innately good part of the human heart.
Simon thinks only for the good of all, he practices meditation and sacrifices himself in an endeavour to save everybody. He is close to nature and is the only one who has a conversation with the sow. It is Simon, who understands the universal truth that it is not each other that we should fear nor I it some third person, but it is the evil within us that will eventually kill us all. It is rather unfortunate that this extraordinary, Christ-like figure is continually marginalised and is at the end murdered unfeelingly. In him Golding pictures the saint, the pure visionary who knows the truth.
His character highlights the differently abled or the higher human nature, one which connects with God and Nature. With respect to Simon it is not only he who is a specimen to investigate human nature for Golding, but his interactions with the sow’s head and his death too focus on some other human traits. For example when he talks to the sow he displays a curtain of bravery which could be taken as the bravery of a martyr or the facade of a coward. His death however, according to me displays the most range of human emotions.
The act itself shows primitive violence and carnal needs at its very roots. The reaction of the boys to the death is indifferent and they go on like nothing has happened, it shows that the different and often better people are always thrown away. It also shows the human habit of denial, where all the boys including Ralph completely deny any part in the killing. In the book, Simon is shown to be a true unsung martyr. The littluns in the book resemble the common man in society and his reflex reaction to conform, whereas the other bigguns resemble the followers and tails of the leaders.
A biggun who distinctly stands out is Roger, he acts as second in command to Jack and it is he who is responsible for Piggy’s death. All the boys fight for power, they all want to control something. The sow shows the need for security, the Conch the superficial need for rules and the glasses the human need for technology. Through the novel, ‘Lord of the Flies’ Golding not only dives into the human mind, heart and soul by means of implication, but provides the reader with concrete examples and instances where the various facets of human nature are displayed.
It is ironic that when “the beast” is killed by Jack the fire begins to destroy, and it is the fire, not one of hope but one of destruction that leads to the rescue of the boys. Through all these examples from the text I can without a doubt say that the novel is truly a fine example of an in-depth analysis of human nature. It makes a powerful impact on the reader and gives them food for thought. It makes us think of not only the various possibilities but also the extent to which the human mind and its essential evil nature can raise a storm and leave a pile of destruction behind.