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

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

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What does Golding believe about human nature? How does human nature relate to the moment when Simon suggests that the beast is only the boys themselves? Provide examples of the Flies to support your thoughts.

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William Golding's thoughts on human nature are revealed when examining the text and also considering the historical context of the book. Published in 1954, the writing was Golding's response to World War II and the violence he witnessed firsthand as a soldier. In war, ordinary people are forced to commit acts of violence in order to survive. Lord of the Flies addresses the question of how humans could be capable of such atrocities. Golding believes "that cruelty, barbarity, and tribalism are inherent to humanity." (Read more about the historical context in the eNotes entry on analysis of the text.)

The idea of humans being inherently savage can be seen in how the boys fall apart in the text. While they initially try to have some order, this attempt at civility dissolves the longer the boys are away from society. They succumb to the inherent evil nature of humans. This is demonstrated during Simon's hallucinated with the Lord of the Flies:

“Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill!” said the head. For a moment or two the forest and all the other dimly appreciated places echoed with the parody of laughter. “You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you? Close, close, close! I’m the reason why it’s no go? Why things are what they are?”

The head says that the beast is a part of them, because the inherent evil is within them.

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