Is it fair to say that the boys’ actions were merely the result of the human survival instinct? Why or Why not? Some readers of Lord of the Flies have argued that each and every one of the boys’ actions is nothing more than an attempt to survive in difficult conditions. Think about the mounting of the sow’s head, Simon’s ascent up the mountain, and the murder of Piggy in particular, as well as any other key scenes that stand out for you.

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In the novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding, the author shows us a group of boys stranded on a tropical island who do not really have any survival problems other than lack of adult supervision or mature organisation. Piggy and ralph do their best at the start, but they are still quite young and have not learned the necessary skills of assertiveness in order to put forward their case. Really, as mentioned in the novel, all they have to do is stay put, keep safe and wait to be rescued. The reason they panic and start lighting beacon fires etc is that they are shocked into thinking that everyone else out there is dead. But really, the author shows us they have fresh running water, fish, fruit and later on meat; also materials for shelter and a means to light fire. They are warm from the sun and there is shade too. Their acts are wilful and destructive.

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Murder, torture and imprisonment are not necessary survival instincts for civilized individuals, but some of the boys in Lord of the Flies resorted to these actions anyway. Jack's group of hunters went beyond any accepted norms when they tried to hunt down and kill Ralph. Their treatment of the rational and peaceful Piggy had nothing to do with survival: Jack's reason for most of his actions was a simple case of struggle for power. No doubt the boys' immaturity contributed to their mistakes and descent to violent behavior, but had they all worked together and honored their choice of Ralph as leader, things on the island would probably have never gotten out of hand.

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