What evidence exists in Rousseau's beliefs regarding humans in the book Lord of the Flies

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Jean- Jacques Rousseau believed that man's moral base is inborn and that man does not wish to see suffering but society puts pressure on him and he transforms from a caring individual to one filled with pride.

civilization had corrupted humankind

Jealousy, fear and suspicion undermine and eventually replace friendship and even freedom. Man was born with self-preservation and compassion at the forefront of his intent. As man developed and became interdependent on others, conflict became evident. Rousseau proposes that , as man became more aware of the needs of others he also became more needy and the desire to please others is part of the downfall of modern man. Man needs to remember that

the fruits of the earth belong to us all and the earth itself to nobody  

The comparison to Lord of the Flies would begin with the boys, despite having no adults around, having a need for guidance, a position Ralph was happy to fill and which was a natural choice.   Natural order fits in with Rousseau's philosophy.

Good may be defined here as something just, virtuous, or kind that conforms to the moral order of the universe.

Ralph tries to keep order but he too is influenced by Jack's vicious style and despite his and Piggy's best efforts they are caught in the fray when Simon is murdered.

Simon's ritual killing, to which Piggy and Ralph are unwitting yet complicit witnesses, is perhaps the decisive blow in the battle between the forces of good and evil.

Jack  represents leadership by intimidation and rebelliousness. 

He is driven by a need to get revenge on Ralph for embarrassing him - or so he perceives - as the boys chose Ralph to be the leader despite Jack believing that he should be. This also fits with Rousseau's philosophy and it doesn't take Jack long to descend into utter ruthlessness.



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