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

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

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How is Lord of the Flies about a struggle between forces of good and evil?

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What originally begins as an accidental stranding of young boys on an uninhabited island darkens to represent the classic struggle between good and evil.  William Golding uses the boys' conflicts to cast them into opposing sides: savages versus civilization.  The savages, led by Jack, represent the evil, dark side of humanity and use violence, fear, and intimidation to maintain their power.  On the other hand, a few boys wish to remain true to their upbringing and reconnect with civilization; Ralph, Piggy, Simon, and Samneric remain true to their English roots and strive to keep the signal fire lit, so they can be rescued. 

In Lord of the Flies, Golding's carefully constructed chain of events gives the savages the upper hand, making it look as though evil will triumph; both Piggy and Simon are killed by Jack and his hunters.  Only Ralph remains, struggling to save himself from the hunt.  Is Golding sending the message that evil is more powerful than good, or that evil will triumph?  Not neccessarily--Golding's construction of the evil versus good conflict reveals his belief in man's innate capacity for evil. 

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In the novel Lord of the Flies, good and evil battle for supremacy.  Golding was in World War II, was horrified by the evil and loss of life, and sets this novel after a nuclear war has taken place to better show the battle between good and evil.  At the beginning, the boys are civilized, voting in a democratic, organized way for Ralph as their leader.  Jack becomes the leader of the hunters, and they establish a signal fire to attract the attention of rescuers.  Then, the order of civilization begins to break down.  The hunters, led by Jack who symbolizes the evil, begin to attack Ralph,who symbolizes good, along with his group.  Piggy's glasses are stolen and he is killed, Simon becomes a victim and in the end, Ralph is running for his life. The last confrontation between Ralph and Jack when Ralph tries to reason with the hunters and the response is to attack, Ralph now knows that truly evil is in charge and civilization is lost.  Only the arrival of the naval officer from the world of war saves Ralph.  Then the boys are taken aboard the ship presumably to return to a world when they are to act as civilized citizens.

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