Lord of the Flies': Loss of Innocence Essay

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Brutal. Inhumane. Savage. Preteen boys rapidly shift from civilized British children to ruthless and barbaric warriors. Lord of the Flies, published on 17 September 1954, is a novel written by Nobel Prize-winning author William Golding. In this book, British schoolboys crash onto a deserted island out in the middle of the sea. No adults, no rules. Their attempt to rebuild civilization horribly fails. Conflicts, war, and death occur. Savagery is a major theme within the novel and is linked to many of the problems that occur in the book. I strongly believe that savagery is the most impactful theme on the audience as it shows how isolation and the fall of a civilization affect people and their actions. My name is Shane, and in this speech, I will discuss how everyone is inherently evil, how the loss of innocence can occur, and how fear influences savagery.

Everyone is inherently evil

Firstly, the novel clearly demonstrates how everyone is inherently evil. In society, we are told to show respect and to have good morals - to follow rules. The boys crash onto the island with no pressure from society, and no instructions to follow. Since they are so used to having to follow strict rules in their everyday life, having no rules is a new and exciting experience. Wouldn’t you think that having no rules is great? It does on paper, but after a while the boys soon realize that these rules have kept them from diverting into their primitive behaviors. Roger is a perfect example of man’s inherent evil. Early in the book he is seen throwing stones at littluns, though aiming to miss. This gives him thrills for violence and even makes him feel that he is capable to kill. This manifests as the story goes on and eventually takes control of him and he succumbs to his sadistic behaviors and kills Piggy. Another event that is key evidence of man’s inherent evil is when Ralph unintentionally finds himself hunting with the hunters. They find a pig run and Ralph manages to hit the pig in the snout with his spear. He repeatedly says, “I hit him!” (page 162), flustered in fright, apprehension, and pride. This quote on page 162, “He sunned himself in their new respect and felt that hunting was good after all”, clearly shows how even someone like Ralph, a civilized leader can succumb to inherent savage behaviors. In the same way that the boys are inherently evil, this can be seen in the real world today. With the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus, people have been frantically rushing to buy home supplies, buying as much as they can without even thinking about other people. Due to the virus beginning in Wuhan, China, there is also a lot of xenophobia and racism around Chinese people. This shows how even though we may show our evil differently, there is undoubtedly a link between the inherent savagery in Lord of the Flies and the evil found in the real world today.

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Loss of innocence

Now onto my next topic, loss of innocence. When you hear the words ‘British school-boys’, what do you think of it? When I think of British schoolboys, I think of civilized, well-behaved, and orderly children. This is the complete opposite of what the boys in the novel have become. The painted masks are a clear example of this loss of innocence. The paint masks symbolize how the boys are shifting into a tribal environment. Skilfully, Golding also demonstrates how these masks are also a way for the boys to cover up from shame, embarrassment, and humiliation. This quote mentioning Jack on page 154 clearly shows this, “he was safe from shame or self-consciousness behind the mask of his paint and could look at each of them in turn”. More evidence that shows the loss of innocence in the boys is the hunters. Due to the absence of laws and civilization, the boys’ desire for power and savagery manifests, and a hunting tribe is formed. The hunters, a group led by Jack, are savage monsters whose two main goals are to hunt and kill. These hunters have killed countless animals, including a boar that they slaughtered and put its head on a stake. These are the lengths that these hunters go to and truly show how they have diverted from society and have fallen into savagery. ( Be a bit more persuasive by using exaggerative words such as The boys are ruthless, savage, killer animals)RED-The painted masks are a clear example of this loss of innocence because it symbolizes….. detailed

Fear influences savagery

The last point that I will be discussing today is how fear influences savagery among the boys. Fear is a major theme within the novel and affects the characters’ thoughts and actions. Fear first begins during chapter 2 where the littlun with a big birthmark on his face tells the group how he claims to have seen a “snake-thing” which he then calls the “beastie”. This first mention of a beast sends the boys into fear and unease about their safety on the island. Now, close your eyes and imagine. Imagine if you were on a deserted island with a small group of people, and you hear that there is a monster that is somewhere on this island. The chances are very high that you would feel scared, correct? Golding cleverly uses this fear and turns it into a drive for savagery in some of the boys, mainly Jack and his ruthless hunters. This fear first begins small, but it grows to become bigger and more prevalent in the book. In some people, this fear manifests in their savagery and bloodthirst, and it shows in a major event in the book. This event takes place in chapter 9. The boys are beside the campfire, dancing, like the wild animals that they’ve become. They begin doing their ritual dance, but out of the forest comes Simon, rushing to tell the boys that there is actually no beast. It’s dark, and the boys had no idea that this is Simon. Out of their own fear, they rush toward him and brutally stab him to death. The evidence of there being no beast dies away with Simon.

Conclusion

In conclusion, William Golding’s Lord of the Flies cleverly captures the theme of savagery within the novel. He uses man’s inherent evil, loss of innocence, and fear to significantly impact the audience and show the audience how savagery can be linked with real-world events. Without a doubt, Lord of the Flies is a must-read book as it has great character development, well uses symbolism, and explores many themes.

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Lord of the Flies’: Loss of Innocence Essay. (2023, November 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 15, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/lord-of-the-flies-loss-of-innocence-essay/
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Lord of the Flies’: Loss of Innocence Essay. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/lord-of-the-flies-loss-of-innocence-essay/> [Accessed 15 Apr. 2024].
Lord of the Flies’: Loss of Innocence Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Nov 15 [cited 2024 Apr 15]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/lord-of-the-flies-loss-of-innocence-essay/
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