What is the most significant passage in Chapter 12 of Lord of the Flies, that could possibly connect to a theme?

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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"And in the middle of them, with filthy body, matted hair, and unwiped nose, Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart , and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend, called Piggy" (302).

This moment at the very end of the novel represents the culmination of all that Ralph has endured.  Golding uses this scene at the end of the novel to draw a sharp contrast between the naval officer's crisp uniform and the wild, savage appearances of the boy; this contrast serves to further reinforce Golding's larger theme of savagery versus civilization. 

The phrase, "the darkness of man's heart," possibly alludes to Joseph Conrad's novel "Heart of Darkness" which also deals with dark themes concerning man's innate capability for evil and destruction.  Golding pulls all of the most important themes of the novel together in this one quote, framed by Ralph's weeping for the first time; this conclusion to the novel focuses the readers' attention, reminding them of that civilization has, in fact, won over savagery, but not without enormous cost and suffering.


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