What are the main conflicts in Lord of The Flies?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Civility vs. Savagery: The main conflict throughout the novel is between civility and savagery. The boys struggle to contain their inherent primitive nature on the uninhabited island while attempting to create a civil society. Ralph and Piggy are proponents of civilization and argue that maintaining a signal fire and building shelters are of the utmost importance. Jack and followers oppose Ralph and Piggy and satisfy their primitive desires by hunting pigs. As the novel progresses, Jack and his hunters gradually descend into barbarism as they become bloodthirsty savages. By the end of the novel, the majority of the boys fully embrace their savage, primitive nature and completely reject civilization.

Man vs. Nature: Trapped on the uninhabited tropical island, the boys are forced to scavenge for food and hunt pigs in order to survive. While the island is a relatively peaceful setting, the boys must endure extreme heat and rare tropical storms. The boys are also forced to create fire, collect drinking water, and build shelters. Unfortunately, they cannot develop a civil society, and they descend into savagery.

Man vs. Man: This conflict is represented through Ralph and Jack's continual battle. Ralph is initially elected leader and attempts to establish a civil society on the island. However, Jack opposes Ralph and gains support from his followers, who enjoy hunting and relaxing instead of completing necessary tasks. Jack attempts to usurp power from Ralph and eventually starts his own tribe at the opposite end of the island. Ralph and Jack not only argue but physically fight each other. By the end of the story, Jack orders his savages to hunt and kill Ralph. Fortunately, Ralph escapes the savages and is saved by a British naval officer, who is standing on the beach.

luannw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The biggest conflict is probably one of the most common and that is good v. evil.  Ralph, Piggy, Simon and their group of followers represent the "good" because they represent civility. Ralph's group are the builders, trying to build huts and to tend to the signal fire.  Ralph as leader has established necessary rules to help them all get along and survive.  Piggy's glasses help the boys create fire which is warming and cooks the food for the boys.  Fire also is their signal to any passing ships or planes. Fire also represents civility.  Jack and his group represent the "evil".  They are the hunters, but they go beyond simply hunting for food.  They turn the hunt into a game of savagery and this game gets out of hand as they kill Simon.  Jack wants control and he gets it through intimidation and promises.  At the end of the novel, Jack's group uses fire to destroy so that it no longer represents civilization; it now represents savagery.  Also present is the conflict of man v. man as Ralph and Jack oppose one another.  The reason the boys are on the island is due to warfare which is another example of the man v. man conflict.  There is also the conflict of man v. nature as the boys have to contend with the island itself and the problems of being stranded there.  Finally, there is the conflict of man v. self as the Lord of the Flies points out to simon that the real evil is the evil that resides inside each boy.