How is mankind evil in "A Separate Peace" by John Knowles and "The Lord of the Flies" by William Golding?

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mrwickline eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mankind is portrayed as evil in the novels “A Separate Peace” by John Knowles and “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding. Both novels focus on the loss of innocence in children and both authors thematically develop callous characters that portray humans as innately evil. The relation between “children” being “evil” alludes to the belief that all humans are instinctually evil, even young “innocent” boys.  William Golding suggests that our savage, primal instincts are our most fundamental basic qualities, and override our civil instincts when removed from society. In the novel “The Lord of the Flies”, the imaginary beast represents the boy’s beastly instincts, and is a satanic figure that encourages their barbarous actions. Only Simon realizes that the boys fear the beast because it exists in each of them. Jack and Roger represent the savage, evil nature of mankind and eventually kill Simon and Piggy as result of their animal instincts. Knowles portrays mankind’s evil nature through the character of Gene, whose jealously destroys his best friend Finny by purposely making him fall from a tree. When Gene realizes his own inferiority to his best friend he reacts violently. Both authors focus on mankind’s ability to destroy and behave in an evil manner.

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Lord of the Flies

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