Lord of the Flies

Ryan, Reporter

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The Lord of the Flies by William Golding is one of the most popular novels ever written and a personal favorite of mine. First published in 1954, The Lord of the Flies is a story about a group of boys stranded on an island with no adult supervision. They try to govern themselves by democracy but due to conflict between two boys the tribe breaks apart. Two conflicting groups emerge. Jack’s group represents the savage nature of man while Ralph’s group represents the civil nature of man.

During an unnamed time of war, a plane carrying a group of British schoolboys is shot down over the Pacific. The lone adult on the plane was killed in the plane crash. They wake up on a deserted island, where they are alone without any adults. The main characters Ralph, Jack and Piggy are introduced early in the book. Ralph is among the oldest of the boys, mature and confident. Piggy is a “pudgy asthmatic boy” with glasses who is very intelligent. Ralph finds a conch shell, and when he blows it the all the boys gather together. At the first assembly Ralph says “I’ll give the conch to the next person to speak, he won’t be interrupted.” This suggests democracy as Ralph is allowing each boy to have an equal say in what will take place throughout the camp. If they have the conch, no matter who they are or what age they are, they will be given the chance to speak and will be listened to by the rest of the boys. At first, the boys create the island to be a democratic place which shows a civilized side to them. This is an attempt to mimic the civilized society they have just left.

The boys start a camp and are successful for weeks. However, fights for power start breaking out between Jack and Ralph. Jack is an aggressive boy who wants to be chief. He separates from the main tribe with several other boys who are friends with Jack. Jack does this because of his desire for power and obsessive need to control. This is when Ralph realizes Jack has given into his primitive nature. One of the most pivotal moments in the book is when Jack kills the timid Piggy. He does this because he is willing to sink to the lowest level, murder, to obtain power. He chose to brutally kill Piggy simply because Piggy is weak. This forces Ralph to become a savage himself, for you must become a savage to fight a savage.

In conclusion, this book’s theme is savagery versus peace. William Golding wrote this book to show the primitive nature of mankind. Basically a survival of the fittest and silencing of the weak. This book reminds people of the true nature of mankind.

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Lord of the Flies