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The Influence Of Evil In William Golding’s Novel Lord Of The Flies

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Evil is commonly known as the lack of good. Wars, shootings, thefts, and robberies are all evil, but what about losing control? It all depends on how much control you lose and it depends on your definition of evil. Evil an extremely broad concept even in everyday use evil is used more narrowly to show great misfortune. In William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies, evil can be looked at many different ways from the reader’s perspective. The novel is about a group of young British boys who are stranded on a deserted island with no supervision due to a plane crash. They create their own rules and systems, but with no adults to create a civilized manner for the boys, the rules get twisted and broken. The evil that most readers see, along with Simon, a character in the book who is the most logical thinker, is the evil growing inside the boys caused by them being out of a civilization for so long. It was only brought up once influenced by the ID needing to satisfy usual urges that it can’t access. Golding argues that most people seek to satisfy these evil urges, and characters such as Ralph, Piggy, and Jack in Lord of the Flies often show that these strong desires, though a product of the boys’ adult-free environment, have always been there but brought up by outside forces.

Why do the boys lose control torwards the end of the story? What makes them lose control and act out? What characters do the outside forces affect the most? Readers of the novel, Lord of the Flies, tend to ask themselves this when reading. Without a natural civilization for these boys their id needs something to satisfy. This is where the “evil” happens as they start to lose their super-ego. Jack, who is very self-centered and controlling, is the main example of the novel’s natural urge for violence, savagery, and everybody’s desire for power. Early in the story, Jack keeps the correct behavior that society has planted on him. Later, Jack starts to love hunting, painting his face like a madman and giving away all hope of getting rescued just to hunt. As Jack drifts farther and farther away from civilization the rest of the group follows apart from Ralph, Simon, and Piggy. The rest of the group mainly follows Jack for the meat and to support violence with the animal-like behavior. There is a link with Jack’s love for power and violence as both make him feel and admired as a king. Torwards the end of the book, Jack has managed to control their actions by using the beast’s terror over the boys. As Jack drifts away from civilization he brings most of the boys with him, this is why the boys lost control torwards the end of the story. Jack is most affected by the outside forces, unfortunately he drags the other boys down with him. What makes Jack act out so much? The answer is that Jacks id takes over faster than everyone elses since he has been out of civilization for so long. As each character drifts farther away from civilization their behavior becomes more and more animal like because of the enviorment they are surrounded with.

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How does evil building up make one snap? Can a another person bring out others evil? Piggy is another example of having his id being pushed to the limit with outside forces. In the story, Piggy is shy twelve year old boy who remains the most loyal throught the story but once he’s pushed will he have an outburst? When Jack steals and breaks Piggy’s glasses (Golding 94) he builds up the courage to stand up to Jack then Ralph breaks up the scuffle. Since Piggy is not the type of person to do this this shows us that the evil inside him got pushed out by outside forces (Ralph stealing piggys glasses). This is also how someone can bring out someone else’s evil. Can this evil be controlled? Yes, Piggy shows us that when he often takes pauses to take a deep breath, rethink, and recontrol himself. Piggy also shows us this when he admits to taking some responsability murder of Simon. To calm himself back down Piggy tries to tell himself that Simon’s murder was an accident. Piggy in the beginning of the story was scared, shy, and way too afraid to act out in any way. Towards the end of the story Piggy’s evil has been building up with everyones childish acts and forgetting about their main goal: getting rescued. During a meeting nobody will let Piggy speak until he finally snaps and yells at everyone to remind them of their main goal. This is how built up evil can make someone snap.

Are there any tools that can be used to help the evil? Besides anger, what else can happen when the evil gets to someone? Ralph is known as the chief in the Lord of the Flies. He was elected as leader in the beginning of the story, Ralph shows the most leadership and civilized characteristics in the book. Being known as this character can the built up evil break him? The only tool that helps the boys with their evil is the conch. The conch in the story represents civilization, law, and order. This keeps Ralph calm throughout the story. When the conch breaks (Golding 260) Ralph hits the pigs head and unleashes the built up evil because he is mad at what Jack has done to the island. At the end of the story when they are getting rescued, after the evil has already broke out of Ralph, he cries (Golding 287). It never states why he cries but most think it’s because of the evil that consumed causing him to just break out. That is another way someone can deal with the evil when it gets to them. So far, to get away from this evil, finding a tool that represents something is the best way to go.

Golding suggests that most people seek to fulfill such dark urges and characters like Ralph, Piggy, and Jack in Lord of the Flies also indicate that these intense emotions, although they were a result of the parent-free environment of the children, were always there but brought up by outside influences. As each character from the story drifts farther from civilization the get filled more with evil. Evil can make people collapse in many different ways and they can deal with it in many different ways. A tool that will remind you of your main goal can often help you out with this evil. Society could learn that if they feel like their being filled with this evil they need to step back, take a deep breath, rethink, then re-enter. Evil is only brought up by outside forces. We need to learn how to control that and not unleash our evil.

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The Influence Of Evil In William Golding’s Novel Lord Of The Flies. (2022, February 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 25, 2023, from
“The Influence Of Evil In William Golding’s Novel Lord Of The Flies.” Edubirdie, 18 Feb. 2022,
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