“Lord of the Flies,” written by William Golding, is an excellent and exciting depiction of a bunch of unruly boys deciding their fate on an isolated and deserted island during the time of a destructive war. Their plane was shot down, the pilot dead, and left with no adult supervision. The book is divided into several themes that direct the flow of the story. Some of these themes include the debate on Civilization vs. Savagery, Individualism vs. Community, Man vs. Nature, nature of evil, and dehumanization of relationships.
Further analysis of the theories brings important points into consideration. These points assist the reader in understanding the tone of the book, the scenario and setting, and the conditions that the boys were subjected to on that island. Given these points, it becomes imperative to properly look into each theme and understand their impact as well.
Civilization vs. Savagery
The widely noticeable theme of the Lord of the Flies discusses the ongoing conflict that arises between the human impulse in regard to civilization and the rules that form it, along with savagery. It is visible the conflict between Jack and Ralph is a classic dramatic representation of the idealistic approach toward savagery and civilization. Further along, this difference becomes quite visible from the attitude that each boy takes up toward the authoritative figures governing them. Ralph can be seen as a perfect example that summarizes the concepts and values of a civilized system since he makes an effort to establish proper rules, the concept of protecting each other, bringing forth lessons of morality and ethical values. These things are exactly what a functioning English society is based upon. In comparison to Ralph, Jack can be seen as the complete opposite since he shows more interest in demonstrating his dominion over the group, and wants to acquire the power to exhibit his primal instincts. It is a clear sign that he demands the group to properly idolize, worship, and serve him.
Individualism vs. Community
“Lord of the Flies” highlights the importance of an individual’s role from society’s perspective. Most of the events from that book, including the signal fire being extinguished, mass abandonment seen in Ralph’s camp, not enough shelters for the boys, and piggy’s death, are evidence of the boys seeking and serving their self-interest over that of the community’s interest. These issues stem from a singular point of self-interest that the boy’s display, which explains the fulfillment of personal needs, wants, and desires instead of coming together and working for the betterment of the community. Further insight into this matter explains the interest each boy displayed when they wanted to join Jack’s group since their personal opinion on self-interest aligned properly with the rules that Jack’s camp offered.
Man vs. Nature
The book brings forward an important question of putting man and nature into an analysis, discussing their relationship and conflicts. Being confronted with the all-out natural environmental setting of the island which had no inhabitants living there, the stranded group of boys brings forth unique changes in their attitudes, behavior, personality, and character. The interaction between the boys and nature can be ranked into three categories; harmony with nature, subjugation by nature, and subservience to the setting of nature. The subjugation of nature is evident from the attitude and behavior displayed by Jack when he desires to exert his desires to mold nature against it. An example of this is provided when Jack sets out to start a forest fire.
The book “The Lord of the Flies” by William Golding includes an expressive, excellent, and intimidating approach to the various themes that come forth in the chapters of the book. Each theme is a nice depiction of the change the boys go through. These themes assist the reader in properly relating to the condition of the boys, their surrounding,s and the methods of their survival.
Simeone, Douglas P. “Usefulness of Lord of the Flies in the Social Psychology Classroom.” Teaching the Novel Across the Curriculum: A Handbook for Educators (2008): 278.