Can you provide some feedback on this essay, that is about human nature and Lord of the Flies by William Golding?
AQ: What does Golding say about human nature? How does he say it?
William Golding's literature piece Lord of the Flies provides an incisive insight into human behavior. The novel tells the fictional story of a group of English boys during an outbreak of a world war that get stuck on an uninhabited island with just themselves and no adults that would be an authoritative figure among them. Over the course of time, these boys demonstrate elements of human nature beyond civilized human beings as they are put in a society and environment where there are no rules or civility set in place. Golding contends that human nature, when free from the constraints of society, draws people away from common sense to savagery. His fundamental arguments are that human beings are savage by nature, and are moved by urges toward brutality and dominance over others. The use of characterization, symbolism, and character development are various literary devices that Golding uses in Lord of the Flies to illustrate that all humans are inherently evil.
The character development of Jack in Lord of the Flies is just one of many details that Golding makes use of in his attempt to address that all human beings are savages by nature. Jack has a desire for power at the beginning of the novel and gets furious over the fact that he ends up not getting the role as chief. For a while, Jack maintains the moral sense and discipline that civilization had established in him. "We've got to have rules and obey them. After all, we're not savages" (Golding 42) Jack said in the book about establishing order among the group in the beginning. Jack realizes that there is a need to make order, something that being in a society has instilled in him. When he first encounters the pig, he is unsuccessful at killing it. Golding writes, "They knew very well why he hadn't; because of the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh; because of the unbearable blood" (29). It is the civilized Jack who is unable to bear the thought of harming the pig. He then devotes his time into hunting and trying to kill the pig, changing the image of his character very much ever since the beginning, slowly drifting into savagery as he finds pleasure in killing the pigs. As more time goes by, his savagery has affected the whole group as he, along with others have killed Simon, the first character to realize that the barbarianism that has descended within them is just a part of human nature. Ralph, a symbol of order and civility opposite to Jack also participates in Simon's murder, revealing that all humans have the ability to be evil in the right setting. Although Ralph participates, Piggy is the only one that does not due to his greater intelligence in comparison to the other boys. With intelligence, he still has maintained a sense between good and bad, morality. Throughout the novel, Jack can be seen developed from a civilized school boy to a symbol of savagery and anarchy in an environment where there is no such of a society with rules and order. Golding's development of the character Jack is one literary device that Golding utilizes to address how humans are susceptive of savagery when they are far away from civilization.
The imaginary beast is one symbolic figure that Golding implements into Lord of the Flies that exhibits the change in human nature as an individual gets farther away from civilization. Most of the boys suppose that there is a terrifying beast on the island due to the physical forms they have seen such as the dead parachutist and believe that it remains hidden in the ocean during the day and emerges only at night. The majority of them believe in this idea, except Simon. "What I mean is . . . Maybe it's only us . . ." (89), Simon proposes that perhaps the beast is only a figure made up within the boys' minds, during the group's questioning of the beast's actual existence. While although all the other boys laugh at his idea, Simon's belief conforms to Golding's idea that an inherent human evil exists. Simon is the first character to recognize that the beast in reality is not an external force, but instead a component of human nature. Meanwhile, the other boys' beliefs in the beast increases more as the more savagely they have become, treating it as an immortal god. On the other hand, in spite of his theory, Simon does not fully make sense of his own idea until he confronts with the Lord of the Flies later on where he is told that the beast is really inside of them all, "Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill! You knew, didn't you? I'm part of you? Close, close, close..." (143) though the boys think the beast lives in the jungle, Golding makes it clear that it lurks only in their hearts. Golding's implementation of the beast in the boys' adventure on the island displayed an irrational fear among the boys through its symbol to uncover an element of human nature as an individual gets farther away from rationalization.
The characterization by Golding supports his argument that humans are profoundly diabolical. He writes, "Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Bash her in..." (75), the group's chant when they all together have killed their first pig. This indirectly portrays the savagery that has slowly developed in the group, in an environment where there are no rules to live by, but had been attempted to be established. Golding later writes "He could see a striped savage moving hastily out of the green tangle, and coming toward the mat where he hid, a savage who carried a spear..." (198) as Ralph, the last hope of civilization and order for the group is hunted down by Jack's boys. In this sequence, Golding directly characterizes a group of school boys who had turned into a group of uncivilized human beings with diction. This in turn also gives confirmation to the change in human nature of the boys ever since their arrival after the plane crash. The setting of a society with rules are no longer in place, had greatly changed the behavior of the boys. Lord of the Flies reflects on Golding's belief that people of all age groups have innate capacity for evil and that this natural capacity is never too far from a civilized society.
Lord of the Flies gives an intriguing view of human behavior when people are in a society where rules of a civilized society are no longer existent. Golding feels that man is naturally evil and the novel strongly suggests that. It also alerts us of our potential to descend from order to chaos when the time is right. In a situation, when a society is unable to control a man's behavior, the man's sense of cruelty increases therefore leading to violence and savage behavior. Golding's idea of the dark side of human nature appears very accurate as one man's act of violence against another is seen every day whether on a small individual scale or big global war. Golding's novel delivers an important message to all; man's hope to recognize and control the monster within man himself is with a civilized society, influenced by the effects of government and religion, two things lacking in Lord of the Flies. Otherwise, human beings are thirsty for power, despite the rules that try to make order.
Lord Of The Flies, Human Nature
- Length: 960 words (2.7 double-spaced pages)
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William Golding wrote two famous works, Lord of the Flies, and “Why Boys Become Vicious”. He was awarded the Pullet Surprise for Lord of the flies. They also made this book into two different movies. William Golding’s view of human nature is mankind is naturally evil, everyone is born that way. The book Lord of the Flies is a story about a group of young boys stranded on a disserted island. They have power struggles, and eventually break up into two different groups, the savages, and the normal kids. In William Golding’s other writing, “Why Boys Become Vicious”, he describes an event that took place in England. Two ten-year-old boys kidnapped two-year-old James Bulger, and beat him to death for no apparent reason. There are many people who agree with his ontological view but I am not one of them. William Golding believed that human nature is evil; however, I believe only some people are evil.
In the essay “Why Boys Become Vicious”, Golding proves what he wrote 40 years earlier about human nature. He tells about a real life example of humans at their worst. Two ten-year-old Liverpool boys have been charged with the death of two-year-old James Bulger. They kidnapped him from a shopping center with his mother not faraway. The two boys led him outside for a long walk until they came to a large group of boys, most around the age of 10. Then for no apparent reason they all started to beat little James. When they were through he was dead. Realizing what they had done, the boys moved his body to a rail road track, hoping a train would come so that no one could tell what they had done. The train didn’t come and the two boys were caught. In this essay Golding says “we are born with evil in us and cruelty is part of this” (“Why Boys Become Vicious”2). He thinks a likely cause of evil in boys is because of their parents. “If parents are absent, if fathers do not provide strength, and mothers do not provide love, then children will plumb the depths of their nature” (“Why Boys Become Vicious”3). William Golding proves his view by giving examples of horrible people like Hitler, Stalin, and Idi Amin.
In the book Lord of the Flies, William Golding tells a story about human nature at its worst.
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A group of young boys between the age of 5 and 12 are in an airplane crash that leaves them stranded on a deserted island. For a while every thing is going good, they pick a leader, and a group of hunters. Then it all starts with the little kids. The big kids pick on the little ones for no reason. They run through their sandcastles and laugh at them when they try to talk at the meetings. The leader boys also pick on Piggy. “He dived in the sand at Piggy’s feet and lay there laughing” (Lord of the Flies 11). He is an overweight boy with glasses and asthma. Then every thing goes wrong when there is a power struggle. Jack and Ralph both think they should be the leader. This leads to a division of the boys. They break up into two different groups, the hunter/savages, and the normal kids. Eventually all the kids except for Piggy and Ralph join the hunters. The hunters then try to kill both Piggy and Ralph. They succeed in killing Piggy and they almost kill Ralph too. “The rock struck Piggy a glancing blow from chin to knee…” (Lord of the Flies 181). They burn down half the island trying to catch Ralph, but he makes it to the beach where there is a military guy to rescue them. “And in the middle of them, with filthy body, matted hair, and unwiped nose, Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy” (Lord of the Flies 202). This book is an example of William Golding's view of human nature. These were average schoolboys who turned into savages and tried to kill their friends. Instead of working together to get off the island they were killing each other.
My opinion on the true nature of humankind is everyone does what they want, some of it good, some bad, and some evil. Every one has been through different things in 1their life, and they all have different views about what is right and what is wrong. For example, last month some guy killed three people. And we also have people like Marten Luther King. I established my opinion from experience. In my life I have encountered all different types of people. So I can’t say that everyone is a certain way.
William Golding believes that human nature is evil; however, I believe that only a select few are evil. His view was expressed in the book Lord of the Flies, where he described a group of boys who went bad and turned into savages. 40 years later his view was also expressed in an essay called “Why Boys Become Vicious”. In this essay he had proof of how bad young boys really are. My view differs from William Golding in that I think that only some people are bad. It all depends on what you have been through in your life. The world has never really been all good or bad. We have had wars, and we have had times of peace. In the future I see things only getting worse. If you compare the world today to 100 years ago, we have gotten a lot worse. Many more people are being killed by other people for no reason.