What does Abraham Lincoln's quote: "Human nature can be modified to some extent but human nature cannot be changed" apply to the narrative of Lord of the Flies?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Golding's allegory, Lord of the Flies, was written as a response to the Victorian novel, Coral Island: A Tale of the Pacific Ocean, by R.M. Ballantyne, which characterized British schoolboys as extremely civilized, even when confronted by savages.  In his novel, Golding wrote a narrative, he said, as 

“an attempt to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature.”

This statement certainly parallels that of Lincoln as the flaws of the boys who degenerate into savages are those intrinsic to human nature: the "beast" is within them. In Chapter Eight, Simon talks to the Lord of the Flies, who tells him,

"You knew, didn't you? I'm part of you? Close, close, close! I'm the reason why it's no go? Why thing are what they are?"

Indeed, it is the evil in man's own nature which, once the restrictions of civilization are loosened, resurges to direct his actions. After their clothes have been shed, and their faces painted, the boys regress in their behavior and the sadistic Roger, whose arm is no longer controlled by the rules and punishments of "a civilization that knew nothing of him and was in ruins," hurls a granite rock upon the rational Piggy, vaulting him to his death.

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Lord of the Flies

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