There are certain aspects of society that are questioned, and some of which, cannot be easily rationalized or clarified completely. An example of this would be the contemplation of the human nature of mankind. The question lingers, and is often examined in attempt to determine if mankind is originally good, or evil. Different opinions arise through a vast range of viewpoints pondering this topic. William Gilding wrote the novel, The Lord of the Flies with intention to show the corruption in society and failings of human nature as a whole.
Gilding uses various literary devices to demonstrate what he viewed as the flaws of human nature. Through observance of the boys’ behavior on the island, and changes made throughout the novel, one can see that man is naturally born good with evil that is eventually portrayed as corruption in society progresses. In the novel, competition for power is heavily shown through the characters. Due to the situation the boys are faced with, it is evident that corruption in society is likely to occur as each of them attempt to survive in unity.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau emphasizes a widespread habit of blaming society for the evil deeds of people. He supports the idea of man initially born good with evil within because he believes that society is the real presence of the devil itself. Additionally, one can further understand through observance of characters that the boys each represented a vital part to society. As their society deteriorates, the boys also begin to lose their morals and eventually become more barbaric and ruthless. Transformations clearly occur within themselves, and the evil that was present in them all along begins to come through.
The theory that man is born good with evil that is eventually portrayed as corruption in society progresses, can be verified by examining several points. They include, Rousseau outlook on the nature of man wanting to be a savage, and examination of young adults in today’s influenced society. Primarily, there have been past opinions on the topic of whether man is inherently born good or evil. Jean- Jacques Rousseau, an 18th century Geneva philosopher, believed that man was naturally born good. It was his theory that included a widespread blaming of society for the evil wrongdoings of people.
Specifically, he states, “God makes all things good; man meddles with them and they become evil. ” (Г?mile Introduction, 1762) In simpler terms, Rousseau is expressing his idea of man being naturally pure and innocent until the malevolent deeds of man in society corrupts him to becoming evil. Additionally, Rousseau states, “The world of ordinary human beings contains nothing beautiful… It is created by society; the real presence of the devil. “(New Criterion, October, 1998) He goes as far as comparing society to the devil, which is a malevolent and a hell-like comparison.
Rousseau theory greatly emphasizes that society is the preeminent blame to the evil that is present in our society. Not only are there logical reasons from famous philosophers of past centuries, but commoners criticizing today’s youth. An example includes, the difference in ways young adults present themselves today as oppose to years passed. One can agree that man has naturally good intentions and does not strive to harm others. Although this may be true, evil can be seen in the light of one’s personality and appearance. Specifically, modern reality TV shows have been accused of depraving today’s young adult population.
A young author states, “Reality shows portray continuous partying, drinking, and promiscuity as the only way to have fun… As young teenagers see this, they begin to make the wrong
This helps us analyze the fact that man is born good and is solely influenced by certain aspects of society because it is common for one to change his actions or appearance for what is currently popular and accepted. Through Rousseau theory and the young authors input, it is clear to see that man would have kept the goodness that is naturally in him if it wasn’t for the negative prospects in society. The Lord of the Flies, written by William Gilding, portrays clear examples of how man is naturally born good but turns evil due to corruption in society.
Predominantly, the sys all experience chaotic situations that lead them to a change in character, some more than others. The book does not start off with these situations but instead, displays the goodness that lies within each individual. As the novel progresses, it is clear to see how certain characters undergo a transformation from good to evil resulting from their depraved society. Primarily, when the boys all meet for the first time, they all agreed that it was imperative to maintain order. Ralph first displays leadership when he says, “We’ve got to have special people for looking after the fire, NY day there may be a ship out there… E ought to have more rules. ” (Gilding 42) This clearly shows the goodness that lies in the boys as they are showing their want to maintain order for the best chance of survival. Not only does Ralph show signs of rationale, but Jack does also. He states, “l agree with Ralph. 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. So we’ve got to do the right things. ” (Gilding 42) Jack is depicting his goodness by offering some motivation to the boys and saying that they are better Han savages and meant to do the right things as Englishmen.
Also, both Jack and Ralph are two of the oldest on the island, and they are undoubtedly taking on the majority of responsibility for the sake of everyone’s survival. Both of them display signs of goodness because taking control and striving for unity are acts of benevolence and selflessness. There is an amount of time that passes where the boys are working together, creating more rules, and establishing a small civilization. Although this occurs, corruption within their society begins to arise. Jack and Ralph become increasingly frustrated.
In the beginning of chapter 3 of the novel, Jack displays signs of annoyance during a hunting session as he let out his breath in a long sigh after not catching anything. When Jack returned to camp, he finds Ralph in a state of grievance as well. Ralph shows his signs of frustration by frowning and ranting about how all the boys previously agreed to help build shelters, but Simon was the only one who put in the time and effort. The corruption is shown here as Jack and his team have failed to obtain meat and how the boys did not follow through with helping, and are instead, playing, or bathing in the ocean.
With the lack of unity, and the buildup of dissatisfaction intensifying amongst their group, it is clear to understand how evil and wrongdoings are likely to occur. By chapter 8 of the novel, the boys hold an assembly where Simon attempts to explain that the boys themselves, or something inherent in human nature, could be the beast they fear. Jacks transition from good to evil also becomes apparent first. Although Simony’s theory was rejected, the conversation creates an interesting reaction from Jack. Jack combatively disputes Rally’s authority and says, “Bollocks to the rules!
We’re strong- e hunt! (Gilding 91) and follows by leading a tribal dance with the boys. Gilding describes the boys’ reaction as immediately being full of “noise and excitement, scrambling, screaming and laughter. ” (Gilding 91-92) This clearly shows the boys agreement and enthusiasm from being introduced by something other than remaining calm and civilized. Evil is becoming more apparent as the boys are slowly drifting away from an orderly civilization and becoming influenced by Jacks vicious sacraments.
By chapter 8 of the novel, even those who seemed to resist Jacks influence become more and more corrupt. Ralph, the boy who wanted to maintain constant order, reacts differently to their next pig dance. Gilding includes his feelings as, “Ralph too was fighting to get near, to get a handful of that brown, vulnerable flesh. The desire to squeeze and hurt was over-mastering”. (Gilding 104) Evil is even portrayed through Ralph as he is mindfully expressing his desire to harm another living thing. Ralph evidently shows his loss of morals and transformation due to the other boys’ actions and malfeasance.
As the dances continue, it is evident that they are becoming more atrocious and brutal. Evil is definitely portrayed through violence. Lastly, the boys display a clear act of evil by killing Simon for no apparent reason. In the moment of extreme chaos and excitement, the boys lost their self- control and beat Simon to death. What started out as a “game”, turned into mindless murder. It is also obvious to be classified as evil because no one in the moment attempted to stop it; they have been clearly brainwashed by their surroundings and have lost their original morals.
The boys show a clear transition from good to evil by the corruption that occurred in the society. The boys being alone with no adults left them with a challenge of not only maintaining order in a civilization, but keeping their sanity as well. Through the examples of how they were eager to survive in the beginning, but them progressively losing sight of what’s right versus wrong, shows that man is born naturally born good, but turned evil by the corruption that takes place within society.
It is conspicuously seen through the novel that the boys who were naturally good, transformed into evil beings due to their society. Through the criticism of certain symbols and characters, the theory is further proved. Gilding conveys many of his main ideas and themes through symbolic characters and objects. A common criticism of the conch has to do with what it actually symbolizes. An example includes, “At the beginning, the conch becomes a really powerful symbol for law, order and civilization. As the boys are slowly descending into savagery, the conch loses its influence among them.
With Piggy’s death the conch gets also crushed, signifying that civilization has been abolished, because almost all the boys have turned savage. ” (Titian L) She is supporting the theory by describing how powerful a symbol the conch was. In summary, the conch was declared a symbol of civilization and order; it was an item the boys obeyed as if it was a living being. Once the conch was destroyed, it symbolized how their civilization failed, how the boys became savages, and how all order was lost. Since the boys eventually disregarded Rally’s authority, Jack proved that he was of more importance and power.
The criticism of Jacks character includes how he transformed from a motivator and role model for the boys, to an evil and malevolently-motives dictator. It has been said, “Jack soon challenges Rally’s authority; the boys who follow Jack hunt the island’s lid pigs for meat and for the thrill of the chase and the kill. ” (Acidosis) In attempt by Jack to gain all control, he leads a hunt not only for pigs, but Just for the thrill. The fact that Jack has brainwashed almost all of the boys to killing Just for fun represents the idea that corruption in society turns man evil.
Their continuous lack of order, and unity on the island allowed them to think that chaos and occasional malevolence was acceptable. Both symbolism and Jacks character represent the transformation from good to evil in one example. Further examination of Jacks character and the homeboys he portrays is seen when, “He looked in astonishment, no longer at himself but at an awesome stranger the mask was a thing on its own, behind which Jack hid, liberated from shame and self-consciousness” (Hardwood) Jacks character is being described as being transformed completely; he is free from any shame and worry.
The painted mask on his face represents the wildness that has taken over him. The mask represents the newfound savagery he and his followers are a part of. Jack used to be enthusiastic about hunting and working together for survival purposes, UT his evil character is shown when he becomes more infatuated with the fun of harming others and abusing power. Through observance of the criticisms above, it is simple to understand how Gilding included a progressive corruption in society using symbols, and characterization.
Consequently, the theory that man is born good with evil that is eventually portrayed due to society, is proved prominent in the novel. The theory that man is born good with evil that results from corruption in society can be rationalized by the understanding of certain concepts. General understanding of days society and what is currently influencing it can give background knowledge of this belief. Through Jean-Jacques Rousseau claim, William Gildings novel, The Lord of the Flies, and deeper analysis and criticism, one can grasp this idea.
Gilding and Rousseau both examine the idea of society being a strong influence with behavior. They both make similar comparisons that deal with the devil and evil in general. Rousseau straightforwardly said that society was the devil itself, while Gilding included a symbol of the devil through the beast in his allegoric novel. Both include owe there is a strong potential for transformation from good to evil and it is evident through the Jacks transformation and Rousseau philosophical reasoning.
Gilding also carried symbols of high importance throughout the novel. The conch, for example, was the key to civilization. Once it was destroyed, it corresponded to how the boys did not succeed in unity. Through acknowledgment of Rousseau theory, Gildings purpose of depicting certain symbols and characters, and other supporting criticisms, it is evident to see that man is born pure and good until the depraved, rounding society begins to take hold and create a change for the worse.