Lord of the Flies by William Golding

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In William Golding's, "Lord Of The Flies," who or what is to blame for the complete breakdown on the island? Through this breakdown, what universal truth/message does Golding attempt to convey?

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The breakdown on the island is not caused by one individual only, but by a number of factors. However, one can point to a few characters, one specifically, who can be said to have instigated and encouraged the boys' descent into savagery. This character is Jack, who, with his squad of choirboys (excluding others such as Simon and Sam n' Eric), had planted the seeds of ill-discipline and a descent into depravity.

From the outset, one notices Jack's commanding and domineering nature, as well as his savage streak. He is intent on being a hunter and ignores doing the more practical and rational duties, such as building shelters, because they are mundane and boring. He seeks the excitement of the hunt. When he misses killing a pig on his first venture, his blood-thirst is heightened and he becomes insistent on going on a hunt. In this, he inspires many other boys to join him.

Jack and his hunters ignore Ralph and Piggy's consistent appeals to keep a signal fire burning so that they can be rescued and to have the littl'uns taken care of. Their focus becomes twofold, hunting pigs for meat, and finding 'the beast'. They ignore the reality of their situation: that they are on an island and may never be found. Instead, Ralph, Piggy and others who support them become the enemy. Jack sees them as a threat who has to be either obliterated or forcibly detained.

Jack's power is vested in the support he gets from the other boys such as Maurice and Roger (who clearly has an evil streak and is later responsible for Piggy's death). They have tapped into their savage nature and just as much want to see blood. They have become a tribe. They paint their faces to mask their identities. This act encourages them and they become more...

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