So I have this essay due Friday, and I dunno if anyone has read this book but if you have let me know if this sounds any good... because I didn't read as much as I should have.
The Essay topics were:
- What is Goldings message for us about the darker side of human beings? Does good or evil usually win?
- How does he use the boys to send us this message about what it means to be human?
Any feedback is appreciated, and for the record I wrote this up in about 25 minutes.
Often times in written literature there are other messages and meanings behind certain events, characters, or places than just the obvious expressed intention. Whether the message be present or natural, the reader may or may not understand nor even realize the actual meaning the author intended to leave on the reader, or what they were referring to. William Golding expressed many different messages through his novel, many of which were quite broad; he included messages about the darker side of human beings and what it actually meant to be human. Everyone contains there own innate human evil and Golding clearly wished to express that through the boys.
It has long since been a popular asset in common literature to express the darker side of a human being, along side that is the whole good versus evil approach which attracts it's own audience. Golding tried to show that in the right circumstances even the most civil beings can become corrupt and essentially resort to immoral, 'darker' approaches to even the most simple tasks. One could only handle a tough situation in an organized manner for so long; especially if they so happen to be a child that's stranded on an island with no adults to look up to for guidance. In the beginning, Ralph was elected leader of the island and later organized a rescue fire and set aside certain tasks each child could do in order to benefit them all as a whole, he even established social order by ruling out anyone who wished to speak at meetings unless they had the conch at hand. Jack was opposed to Ralph being leader, he stood against Ralph being leader at the first assembly when they voted in Ralph, but once Jack cracked and oversaw the situation, he felt he could take charge and ultimately run the island, so to speak, better than Ralph. Jack being one of the oldest children on the island was in turn looked up to by the younger, and also having less civilized views than Ralph, felt that the main priority should be hunting, they need to kill and kill for meat. One could argue Jack didn't uphold the thought of rescue, he only wished to make due with the island. Jack would represent the evil on the island, in forming his elite tribe of hunters, that promised uncertain things like abundance of food and complete freedom of play, where as Ralph and along side him Piggy would represent good on the island, they believe in doing things as civilly as possible and focusing on their island rescue.
Towards the very end of the novel, all the boys resort to Jacks uncivil ways and guidance, ultimately killing Piggy and began their expedition to hunt and kill Ralph. The boys set the whole jungle on fire in hopes to smoke Ralph out of hiding, which proved to be futile since it led to the boys rescue; the navy saw the burning jungle and approached the island. It took an outside voice to reintroduce the boys to reality, when it was just as simple to induce their innate human evil. Majority of the time people can agree that good usually prevails in even the worst circumstances, but that is because majority of the audience shares the same views. The same thing that is viewed as being good can be viewed as evil in another persons eyes, which traces back to the origins of meaning where we were fed with this idea or concept of what was good and evil, but that concept cannot be traced so the question is ultimately squished. Good will always be considered the clear winner against evil because people want to see the better side of things, the better side of humans and human nature. People wish to hear about good overpowering evil because it's not always that way in reality, in our lives; majority of people would choose not to read a sad, distorted novel about evil, death, killing, and things of that nature. If good cannot even defeat evil in a story then what might people interpret about society, about what is real.
Golding used the boys to send us very generic, simple messages about what it means to be human. When a human is presented with a challenge or a difficult situation to deal with, they are always going to have to think and then act in a way which should benefit themselves, but if possible others too. Upon crashing on the island, some of the younger boys had discovered what they believed to be a giant snake like creature which they ended up referring to as the 'beast'. All throughout the novel new situations arose which could easily be pushed off and explained as being the beast; the boys ran into the body of a dead solider hanging by his parachute in the tree and made out the beast into something it wasn't. Whenever the boys tried to hunt the beast, they would run into something they couldn't explain, tie it to the beast, and mold that image into something worse than it was before they set off. If the boys used a bit more reason, they could have dismissed the beast completely, and as humans we often overlook situations and find things to be larger, more difficult, or more complex than they actually are or need to be. The boys worst fear was a fear in which they created in their own minds, which people have been doing since the beginning of history.
Lord of the Flies is a perfect example which can be used to express common innate feelings and ideas we all can relate to, as well as the other side of our nature which we don't quite as often see. Humans have a darker, more instinctive side which should stay dormant as long as we don't feel our life is threatened. When you're trapped somewhere other than your usual setting, you will be presented with things you've never had to think about, and have no knowledge about acting on, and for the boys, I think they were just lucky the navy showed up.