Explain how William Golding shows the evil within us when the rules are broken/ gone?Use specific examples from The Lord of the Flies Have one real world example to show that his claim is true. PLZ...

Explain how William Golding shows the evil within us when the rules are broken/ gone?

Use specific examples from The Lord of the Flies

Have one real world example to show that his claim is true.


Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Golding's Lord of the Flies, while the rules of a civilized society do not exist on the island, Piggy insists that they be maintained as Ralph becomes the leader of the boys and they are called to meetings by the conch.  Groups of boys are assigned tasks such as building a rescue fire and making shelters and bathing.  That the vestiges of society remain within the boys is evidenced by their compliance with Ralph's directions. Perhaps the most telling of passages about the conditioning of civilization accompanying the boys onto the island is in Chapter Four as Roger steathily watched little Henry on the shore playing with the "tiny transparencies that came questing in with the water over the hot, dry sand."

As Henry is fascinated by the "strewn detritus of landward life," Roger "stooped, picked up a stone, aimed, and threw it at Henry--threw it to miss."  The stone, "that token of preposterous time," bounces a few yards from little Henry:

Yet there was a space round Henry...into which he dare not throw.  Here, invisible yet strong, was the taboo of the old life.  Round the squatting child was the protection of parents and school and policemen and the law.  Roger's arm was conditioned by a civilization that knew nothing of him and was in ruins.

Later in this chapter, Jack's cutting of the pig's throat and his making of a notch in his spear with Ralph's, is symbolic of his start to usurp Ralph's power.  When he smacks Piggy in the head and breaks a lens of the glasses, rationality has been damaged and savagery begins to emerge.  As the boys explore more of the island, they find many rocks piled up.  Jack says, "The rock makes a sort of bridge," a significant remark because the rocks on the island have been what the boys have climbed upon and now they are the passage to savagery as the boys use them later as weapons or "a bastion." 

As Jack and the hunters begin to dominate the lives of the boys, conscripting them to search for the pig and abandon the fire which is symbolic of rescue, the boys descend into savage hunters who paint their faces, hiding their civilzed visages. In Chapter Eight as Robert and Maurice and Roger steal branches and, thus, take the fire from Ralph and the others, the descent into the atavistic nature of man begins and the inherent evil of man's nature is symbolized by the impaled pig's head that is surrounded by flies with only the intuitive Simon to recognize that it is the reason why "its no go":

D'you see?  You're not wanted.  Understand?  We are going to have fun on this island.  Understand?...So don't try it on...or we shall do you....

When Simon returns to the boys to warn them of his intuitive insight, he is bludgeoned to death.

One real-life example of the loss of British civilized rule and the subsequent descent into savagery and its consequent evil has been exhibited in such countries as Uganda when the colonial government with its rules and decorum departed.  Gaining the rule of his country in the 1970s after a coup d'etat, Idi Amin Dada, appointed himself President.  Popular history recalls his declared title,

His Excellency President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin, VC, DSO,MC, Lord of all the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea, and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular.

Known as the "Butcher of Uganda," Amin is the most notorious of all Africa's post-independence dictators.  Estimates of his opponents, killed, tortured, imprisoned and even cannibalized, number around 100,000.


pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the book, the rules are gone when the plane crashes and all the adults die.  There is no one to enforce the rules, so they are gone.

Look what happens next.  The boys (Ralph, Piggy and Simon, mainly) try to make and enforce rules on their own.  But it does not work,  Gradually, the savages take more and more power on the island because there is not authority to enforce the rules.

To me, the clearest real life example of this is what happened in what used to be Yugoslavia after communism ended.  There was no longer a strong government so the various ethnic groups started fighting.  I guess you could say that what happens in prisons is similar -- there are few rules among the inmates and so they treat each other viciously.

teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The boys start out as a unified force, but later Jack and his hunters believe that they can create a better existence for the boys.  Ralph does not agree with Jack's ideas, so Jack and his hunters split away from the group and those who believe Jack, decide to become part of his team.  The interesting thing is that it isn't really clear which group holds better ideas and strategies for the boys' survival.

Countries that become independent after having been colonized often face similar fates.  Angola, for example, had a system of government after becoming independent, yet there were parties that did not agree with government rule.  A rebel group formed, causing the decades long civil war that plagued the country.

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

On an individual level, the most blatant rule-breakers might be serial killers.  They have somehow tuned out or turned off any internal regulations as well as the more obvious outward rules and laws.  Golding's point is that we all have the capacity for evil once those external controls are gone.  Our internal controls should kick in, but they don't always do so.  Serial killers are a perfect example of this.

lizzierocks38 | Student

when the rules was all gone, the kids became savage and started acting very violently.



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Lord of the Flies

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