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While Ralph, Piggy, Jack, and all the other boys were on the island, Golding conveyed a significant lesson about mob mentality. Mob mentality is described by the way people can influence others to adopt certain behaviors while being part of a group, which not only makes humans commit acts that they would not together in a group, but also lose their sense of integrity and start to act as the group without feeling responsible for their individual actions. The idea Golding is conveying to the readers is that mob mentality can cause individuals to lose their sense of morality. Golding uses characterization to emphasize the way the boys’ personalities have changed from the beginning of the novel to the end. Some members were more inhumane, but almost all the boys lost their sense of decency during this adventure.

The first act of cruelty by the group was when Jack and his hunters succeeded and were able to kill the boar. Jack and the hunters went to get meat for the group. After a harsh and what seemed like an endless adventure to catch the boar, they were finally successful. The boys were able to gain meat, however, it didn’t seem like they were excited about the food, but rather the idea of killing this animal. They chanted together, “Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Bash her in” (Golding, 75). Golding even includes how they danced and sang. Since they were all together, they didn’t feel it was wrong. Since Jack influenced the way the younger boys acted, the little children did not think it was wrong. Therefore, Jack’s actions and speech had an impact on the mindset of the younger children and caused them to act more violently. Since the hunters spend a lot of time together, they do not understand the horrific actions they are performing. Jack didn’t care about the actions he had just committed because he is in a group, therefore, he doesn’t care about his individual actions. In addition, the author uses specific words to describe the cruelty of the boys. They were not civilized British schoolboys anymore, they were now true savages. The words ‘kill’, ‘cut’, and ‘bash’ are not terms one would expect from orderly individuals. The words denote a brutal desire to hurt and maim. The real purpose of the hunt (to get food) is forgotten, instead, they celebrated. Overall, the boys lost their sense of morality in this situation because of their corrupt mindset.

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Furthermore, since the ‘beast’ has not yet been found, the boys are eager to find it. They are curious to find this mysterious creature. Simon had discovered the truth about the beast while in the forest, but he is alone. He is weak and exhausted, but he wants to tell the others that the beast is in all of them, a part of them. He crawls through the forest and the leaves to get to the spot on the mountain where the boys have all gathered to celebrate a successful hunt and eat meat, but the boys get scared of Simon because they are unsure of what he is. Since Simon had just fainted, he doesn’t exactly look like himself. The boys seem to make an impulsive decision and they attack Simon, without knowing it is him. “At once the crowd surged after it, poured down the rock, leapt on to the beast, screamed, struck, bit, tore” (Golding, 153). The boys were paranoid and afraid of this beast. As a group, they didn’t want to be scared anymore, they wanted to live peacefully and not have to worry about being killed by the ‘beast’. Therefore, Golding doesn’t use specific names to describe these horrific actions, but rather words such as ‘crowd’ and ‘circle’. Golding uses this to further characterize all the boys. It adds to the idea that they are becoming more savage and they are losing their integrity.

Throughout the novel, William Golding uses characterization as a writing strategy to develop his central idea that mob mentality can cause humans to lose their sense of morality. The children on the island went through a period of time where their personalities changed, some more than others, but overall they all diversified when on the island. Individuals like Jack lost their integrity and began to prioritize killing over their friends. All the boys lost their morality when they killed Simon by tearing him apart with their bare hands. These children went through traumatic events that led them to lose their decency.

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