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 is your reaction to a relationship, event, or theme in the novel Lord of the Flies?

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One of the major themes throughout the novel Lord of the Flies is the inherent evil individuals possess. Golding conveys his belief that humans are inherently evil by depicting the boys' descent into savagery. At the beginning of the novel, they are civilized, well-mannered English boys who work together to build a signal fire and a shelter. As the novel progresses, Jack gains favor by promoting hunting and fun activities over manual labor that is advantageous to survival and rescue. The boys' propensity to indulge in violent behavior and attempts to satiate their physical desires reflects their primitive instincts. Void of societal restrictions and regulations the boys become brutal savages who partake in violent acts and eventually murder Simon and Piggy. Golding uses the character of Simon to convey the idea of an "inner beast" by coming to the realization that the evil on the island is inherent while he is hallucinating and speaking to the Lord of the Flies. Golding uses the symbols of the Lord of the Flies and the "beast" to represent the manifestation of evil on the island. Even morally upright characters like Ralph and Piggy partake in savage acts and are enticed to follow their primitive instincts.

One lens through which many people have viewed Lord of the Flies is that of Christianity and the idea of original sin, which they connect to William Golding's portrayal of inherent wickedness, and his belief that humans void of societal restrictions would harm one another and look to satisfy their own desires and needs. Romans 3:23 says, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." It is written in Matthew 15:19, "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies." These beliefs could be seen as reflected in Golding's portrayal of the boys' true nature, and the novel could be interpreted as depicting Biblical views on original sin and inherent evil.

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