Good and Evil
During their abandonment on the island, Ralph, Piggy, Simon, and many of the other boys show elements of good in their characters. Ralph's calm "stillness," and his attentiveness to others' needs, make him a potentially good person. Good may be defined here as something just, virtuous, or kind that conforms to the moral order of the universe. Piggy's knowledge and belief in the power of science and rational thought to help people understand and thus control the physical world for their mutual benefit are also obviously a force for good. Simon, always ready to help out, sensitive to the power of evil but not afraid to stand up to it, is perhaps the strongest representative of the forces of good in the story.
Yet all of these characters ultimately fall victim to the forces of evil, as represented by the cruelties of the hunters, especially Jack and Roger. Piggy loses his glasses, and thus the power to make fire. This power, when controlled by the forces of reason, is a powerful tool for good: it warms the boys, cooks their food, and provides smoke for the rescue signals that are their only hope for survival. But in the hands of those with less skill and knowledge, the fire becomes an agent of destruction— first unintentionally in the hands of those who are ignorant of its powers, then purposefully when Jack and the hunters use it to smoke out and destroy their opponents. It is Simon's bad luck to stumble upon the feasting group of boys with his news about the "man on the hill" just as the group's ritual pig hunt is reaching its climax. 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. Later Piggy loses his life at the hand of the almost totally evil Roger, who has loosed the boulder from Castle Rock. Now, without Piggy's glasses and wise counsel and Simon's steadfastness, Ralph is greatly weakened, and to survive he must ultimately be rescued by adult society, represented by the British captain. It is important, however, to note that Jack, too, is defeated because he cannot control the forces of evil. It is Jack's order to use fire to destroy Ralph's hiding place that virtually destroys the island, although, ironically, it is the smoke from that fire that finally attracts the British ship and leads to the boys' rescue.
Appearances and Reality
At several points in the story, Golding is at pains to stress the complexity of human life. During the novel, neither a firm grasp of reality (represented by Piggy's...
(The entire section is 1063 words.)