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William Golding writes a book about a band of schoolboys who become stranded on a remote island with no adults present. As the story progresses, chaos quickly ensues as the boy’s evil nature surfaces. ‘The Lord of the Flies’ was written in 1954, with the recent atrocities committed in World War II fresh in mind. Influenced by these events, Golding attempts to show the inherent evil in mankind throughout the book. Although the boys eventually decline into anarchy, at first, they are humane and peaceful.

In his assertion that mankind is inherently evil, Golding shows that Jack and Ralph were initially civil when they were following the established rules of society. Jack proclaims his view about the importance of keeping order, telling the group, “‘We’ll have rules!’ he cried excitedly. ‘Lots of rules!’” (Golding, 33). Jack is trying to recreate the structure of society because that is what they are used to. He does not actually feel this way and is just trying to copy the ‘adult world’. Jack also shows how he is still bound to the regulations of society when he fails to kill the pig. He finds the first pig and goes to kill it but pauses. This “…pause was only long enough for them to understand what an enormity the downward stroke could be” (Golding, 31). When Jack was about to kill the pig, the action of taking away the pig’s life and the gore that comes along with it was too much for him. The societal taboos of murdering something are still ingrained in his head, thus preventing him from killing the pig.

As the book continues, Golding uses Roger’s harassment of the littluns to continue his claim. Although he was throwing rocks in the boys’ direction, “there was a space…perhaps 6 yards in diameter, into which he dares not throw. Round the squatting children was the protection of parents and school and policemen and the law” (Golding, 52). At this moment, Roger is still bound to the former rules of society. He still fears punishment from authority figures, even though on this island it will never come. The boys on the island are starting to realize this and are testing the boundaries of how much they can get away with. Though, they will only go so far because the ways of their civilized life are still deep-rooted in their heads. Some say that Roger is a sadist and has learned to mask his impulses to fit into society. In other words, civilization provides an enchanting cloak to the essentially evil nature of a man, and this is what the children lost. Without the order and laws that he was accustomed to, Roger is now free to hurt whoever he wants, he just doesn’t know it yet.

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Later in the book, the brutal killing and beheading of the pig show how the boys are starting to descend into savagery. At first, Jack failed to kill the pig, but during the hunt, he “giggled and laughed at his palms” (Golding, 135) as the pig’s blood dripped down his hands. This is drastically different than how Jack acted when they first arrived on the island. The old societal taboo of taking away life has now faded away from his mind and he now takes pleasure in killing. After Jack kills the pig, he then cuts off its head. He places the pig’s head on a stick and declares: “The head is for the beast. It’s a gift” (Golding, 137). Some may say that the beast represents the evil in mankind, and by submitting to the beast, Jack is embracing his true malevolent nature. This scene marks the end of innocence for the boys, and there is no hope of returning to their civilized ways.

In the final climax of the book, Golding uses the death of Simon to show that mankind is inherently evil. As Simon is coming down the mountain to tell the other boys about the true nature of the beast, he himself is mistaken as the beast and he is brutally murdered. This ironic twist of fate underlines the most awful truths about human nature, its blindness, its irrationality, and its bloodlust. A popular belief among critics is that Simon represents goodness and saintliness. When he is killed, it shows that the darkness in human nature has prevailed and that the boys are finally becoming bloodthirsty savages. While they were killing Simon, they chanted: “Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood! Do him in” (Golding, 152). This chant slowly develops throughout the story. In the beginning, it is used after killing the first pig, but periods are used instead of exclamation marks, and ‘do him in’ is not included. Later in the story, it is used when Robert is the pig, and exclamation marks are used. Now, as the boys are in their most savage-like state, exclamation marks are being used, and ‘do him in’ is used. One might say that the chant is used to reflect the state that the boys are in. The less and less civilized they become, the more intense the chant becomes. The words ‘do him in’ are finally added to the chant to reflect the intentions of the boys, which is to kill Simon.

The author’s use of chronological order clearly illustrates the book’s key message that mankind is inherently evil. As the book progresses, the boys become more and more uncivilized and their cruel nature finally becomes apparent.

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