Two separate illustrations of an animal head and a fire on a mountain

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

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Gradually, the boys become less and less civilized and more and more savage. Trace the progression that Golding sets out for readers

The boys gradually become less civilized throughout the novel. At first, they attempt to establish a democratic society led by Ralph. However, Jack takes over, and the hunters leave the construction site of the shelters and hunt instead of working on shelters. Samneric see the "beast" after being separated from Maurice, which causes tension among all of the boys. The group sees a ship pass by the island and fail to signal it because of Jack's incompetence in constructing and maintaining a fire. After Roger sees the "beast," he leaves his tribe with two other boys and joins Jack's tribe, where they play games and hunt pigs instead of working on shelters or signaling ships.

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At the beginning of the story, the boys attempt to establish a civil, democratic society by holding assemblies and electing a leader. Once Jack is given authority over the hunters, he becomes increasingly obsessed with hunting and begins to dismiss Ralph 's directives. In chapter three, Jack and hunters leave...

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the construction site and stop helping build the huts on the beach, which upsets Ralph and highlights Jack's opposing views. In chapter four, Jack becomes less civilized by painting his face and excusing his hunters from their responsibilities regarding the signal fire. Despite the hunters' success, the boys miss a rare opportunity for rescue when the signal fire goes out and a ship passes the island.

The issue regarding the existence of the beast increases the tension, anxiety, and fear among the boys. After Samneric see the "beast," the situation on the island gets worse, as Jack leads his group of hunters on an expedition and more boys forget about establishing a civil society. After Ralph, Jack, and Roger see the "beast" on the top of the mountain, Jack quits Ralph's tribe and creates his own tribe of savages on the opposite end of the island. On the other side of the island, Jack allows his tribe to hunt and play. He has no motivation to establish a civil society and allows savagery to reign under his leadership.

The boys become increasingly savage and end up brutally murdering Simon in chapter nine after they mistake him for the beast. The chances of establishing a civil society vanish after they kill Simon, and Jack becomes increasingly tyrannical. When Piggy, Ralph, and Samneric attempt to retrieve Piggy's stolen glasses, Roger rolls a boulder toward Piggy, which brutally ends his life and destroys the conch. The destruction of the conch represents the point of no return as the savages control the entire island and threaten Ralph. By the end of the novel, Jack and his band of savages hunt Ralph and eventually stop when they run into a British naval officer, who arrives on the island at the end of the story.

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When the boys crash land on the island, at first all seems well. There's a conscious attempt by these elite sons of privilege to act like the English gentlemen they believe themselves to be. Ralph reluctantly takes on the role of leader and sets about trying to establish a system of rules-based order. A division of labor is established, with important work such as hunting and gathering wood distributed among the boys, but without adult supervision it isn't long before it all starts going so horribly wrong.

Soon it becomes clear that there's a dangerous clash of personalities developing between Ralph and Jack. This island just isn't big enough for the both of them. More ominously, Jack's unhealthy obsession with hunting pigs appears to be catching. Most of the other boys would much rather set off with Jack on one of his hunts than stay behind and do the hard work of helping to build a civilized society. Hunting for food is important, but the problem with Jack and his gang is that they enjoy the spilling of blood for its own sake; and their sadism eerily foreshadows what happens later on in the story. There will come a time when the spilling of animal blood won't be enough to satisfy their craven blood-lust.

In such a savage environment, might is right. Ralph may have the conch, but Jack has physical force on his side, and on this remote desert island, that's ultimately what counts.

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When the boys first come together on the island, there are all kinds of signs of civilization.  The choir boys led in a procession, wearing uniforms, the idea of a conch being a symbol of cooperation and attention so that the boys can use it and if they have it, it is their turn to speak, all of these are signs of civilization and order.

There are small signs of a breakdown at first, boys wanting to hunt or whining and crying, then the little kids going to the bathroom where it is convenient instead of in the designated area, the worries about a beast, etc.

These start to build as there is a clear conflict between the leadership style and objectives of Ralph and Jack and this drives the story until the two groups split apart.

There are several instances that demonstrate the final breakdown, the killing and maiming of the pig, then the killing of Simon, then probably the last straw is the killing of Piggy as he stood for the aspects of civilization like science and reason.

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