Comparison of Civilization vs Savagery

What would you do when you’re stuck on an island with 3 other people on an island and some civilization such as a tribe of boys? This is what the Lord of the flies is about. The Lord of the flies is an allegory which is essentially a metaphor in which a character is used to deliver a broader message. Throughout this novel, Golding represents the conflict between civilization and savagery in the conflict between Ralph, who represents order and leadership; and Jack, who represents savagery and the wish for power. Throughout the novel, Golding tells how characters are influenced by savagery or civilization.

For instance, Piggy has no savagery feelings, while Roger is barely capable to understand the rules of civilization. All over the novel, human savagery reflected the main point of Lord of the Flies, and it’s expressed in several symbols examples include the beast and the pig’s head on the stick. Throughout the novel, Golding shows that civilization is associated with good, and savagery is associated with evil. Based on this main point, the theme of Lord of the Flies is Civilization versus savagery. Golding represents the fight between civilization and savagery with Ralph and Jack.

Civilization at the beginning of the novel is the main point in the first three chapters. Examples include when Ralph and Piggy find a conch and use it as a sign of leadership and order. Ralph uses it to assemble the boys after they are stranded on the island, and as a result, he is elected chief. Although civilization is not the biggest point in this book; it’s how they were affected with savagery. Ralph was shaking his head, “This is an island. At least I think it’s an island. That’s a reef out in the sea. Perhaps there aren’t any grownups anywhere” (Golding 8). At the beginning of the novel, the boys look unsure of what to do without any adults and security around. They stick to the rules they have been used by using the value of society. As well as being, to recreate the structure of society by electing a leader and dividing labor. Ralph and Piggy find a conch shell which they later use for organized assemblies. This action shows that they’re creating a working civilization. In the beginning savagery first appears in Jack, with his desire for power when he asks if he could become the leader. Throughout this novel, savagery in Jack progresses as he is obsessed with killing pigs and painting his face to be camouflaged with the jungle. Golding states, “Jack stood up and waved his spear. Take them some meat” (Golding 149). Jack required his tribe to eat more, “Has everybody eaten as much as they want?” (Golding 149).

Since Jack has all this power, he influences others around him and helped the boys survive by providing them with food and fun. Although in the beginning there were examples of savagery, it’s the middle of the book where savagery becomes more apparent. “Roger stooped, picked up a stone, aimed and threw it at Henry. It bounced five yards to Henry’s right and fell in the water. Roger gathered a handful of stones and began to throw them at Henry. There was space around Henry six yards in diameter, into which he dare not to throw. Here, was the taboo of the old life. Round the squatting child was the protection of parents and schools and the policemen and law.” (Golding 62). This passage is the beginning of Roger’s cruelty towards the Littluns and shows the remaining behavioral habits Roger had before being stranded on the island. The group mindset of civilization is already slowly beginning to lower. At home, Roger would have great consequences if he were to throw rocks at others. Now without adults supervision, he can do whatever he wants. Not to mention, Ralph is civilly organized. He still manages to get into the excitement of hunting the boar. This action shows how all humans have an instinct of savagery underlying under them.

Although the boar escaped, the boys start to reenact the hunt on Robert. The boys start poking and hurting until they regain their composure. Later, after Jack separates from the original group and starts his new clan, when Jack viciously kills the sow and impales its head on a spear and planting it in the ground. This action shows how he has turned away from being civilized and how much he likes his savage behaviors. Finally, towards the end, after feasting on the pig all the boys, even Ralph troop begins a burst of dancing and chanting, suddenly when a boy sees a shadow and assumes it’s the beast and begins to tear the figure apart, only after realizing they had just torn apart Simon. This is when savagery has almost taken over the island. Jack and Ralph’s camps have gone into complete conflict. Ralph’s camp decides to attempt to reason with the savages. Ralph blows the conch shell in an attempt to regain some order, but it only results in the capturing of Sam and Eric. A fight between Ralph and Roger pushing a boulder on Piggy, killing him and breaking the conch. Golding describes piggy’s death, ” Piggy’s arms an legs twitched a bit, like a pig’s after it has been killed,” (Golding 181).

This is when all forms of civilization have been lost and Ralph is left to fend for himself against Jack and his group. By the closing chapter, savagery has finally won the battle against civilization. To close, this battle between civilizations versus savagery is never over. Even though today we are considered to live in a civilized society, this theme can still be relevant to our lives. This then brings up the question of whether humans are naturally evil or not. Do humans need to be under constant supervision or could we function on our own? This opinion may vary between where we live, which is why there are often many political conflicts about the matter.

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