In what ways does Golding portray the downfall of civilization on the island in Lord of the Flies?I was wondering everybody's opinion on this. I know the beast plays a large part, as does the...

In what ways does Golding portray the downfall of civilization on the island in Lord of the Flies?

I was wondering everybody's opinion on this. I know the beast plays a large part, as does the conch, but i need more detail and other factors. Please answer.

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bullgatortail's profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I agree with the previous post that the boys' own disintegration from proper, well-meaning young British citizens into a tribe of murderous hunters is the primary example of the downfall of civilized behavior in William Golding's Lord of the Flies. Certainly the symbols of the conch and the beast play a part in the breakdown of normal, human reactions, but many of the boys themselves revert into an animal-like view of survival. The fight for control between Ralph and Jack; the obsessive hunts; and the final decision to murder those in opposition seem to be the most obvious examples of the boys' negative change.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I do think you are right that the "presence" of the beast helps cause the downfall and that the downfall is shown by what happens to the conch.  However, to me, the main way that the downfall is shown is by having Jack and his hunters win out over Ralph.

Ralph, to me, represents civilization and Jack represents more savage impulses.  As the book goes along, Ralph loses control over the boys.  They stop being interested in things like huts and signal fires and come to care mostly about hunting and violence.

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