Golding seems to suggest that evil is present as a destructive force in mankind which is operating counter to forces of reason and civilization.Golding seems to suggest that evil is present as a...

Golding seems to suggest that evil is present as a destructive force in mankind which is operating counter to forces of reason and civilization.

Golding seems to suggest that evil is present as a destructive force in mandkind and that it is operating counter to the forces of reason and civilization. Using either characters or objects as examples, discuss the truth of this statement.

Asked on by kazontite

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mrerick's profile pic

mrerick | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted on

Want an easy, simple to understand example of this statement?  View an average high school or junior high classroom when the teacher steps out for a couple minutes and the class knows they are on their own for a bit.  That class probably won't be chasing each other around the room with sharpened sticks, but I'm willing to bet there are some basic classroom rules being broken: swearing, off task, whatever.  Now, what if they knew the teacher was going to be gone for the remaining 30 minutes of class?  Then for all of tomorrow - then all of next week, etc.  How long before some of the basic principles of an effective classroom are completely gone?  This is what happened on the island...

jilllessa's profile pic

jilllessa | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted on

I definitely believe that this statement is true.  Golding seems to be using the story of these boys stranded on an island far from civilization as a tool to explore how thick the veneer of civilization actually is on the human personality.  Golding wrote the book soon after World War II where supposedly civilized men from civilized nations committed atrocities that no Enlightened thinker would ever think possible. 

We can see this belief of evil lurking below the surface in the characters of the boys, all of whom were probably normal English boys before the crash.  The mark of civilization and reason is stronger on some boys than others.  For Jack and Roger, the veneer of civilization falls away quickly to a more bestial existence.  The veneer of civilization is stronger in Ralph and Piggy but even they fall from the civilized as they take part in the unwitting murder of Simon.  The dualistic presence of good and evil in the boys is also reflected in the use of fire.  Fire, which can be started with Piggy's glasses can be used for good:  cooking food, making signal fires and keeping warm.  However it can easily cross the line into evil as is evidenced by the out of control fire in chapter two which most likely kills one of the younger boys.  This dualistic theme permeates the book leading the reader to a pessimistic conclusion about the nature of man

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