Lord of the flies

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  • Created by: Georgie
  • Created on: 07-04-11 07:57

Civilization vs Savagery

This is the competition between Jack and Ralph.

The instinct to live by rules, act peacefully, follow moral commands, and value the good of the group against the instinct to gratify one’s immediate desires, act violently to obtain supremacy over others, and enforce one’s will.

Golding associates the instinct of civilization with good and the instinct of savagery with evil.

Lord of the Flies is an allegorical novel, which means that Golding conveys many of his main ideas and themes through symbolic characters and objects. He represents the conflict between civilization and savagery in the conflict between the novel’s two main characters: Ralph, the protagonist, who represents order and leadership; and Jack, the antagonist, who represents savagery and the desire for power.


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card 1 continued

As the novel progresses, Golding shows how different people feel the influences of the instincts of civilization and savagery to different degrees. Piggy, for instance, has no savage feelings, while Roger seems barely capable of comprehending the rules of civilization. Generally, however, Golding implies that the instinct of savagery is far more primal and fundamental to the human psyche than the instinct of civilization. Golding sees moral behavior, in many cases, as something that civilization forces upon the individual rather than a natural expression of human individuality. When left to their own devices, Golding implies, people naturally revert to cruelty, savagery, and barbarism. This idea of innate human evil is central to Lord of the Flies, and finds expression in several important symbols, most notably the beast and the sow’s head on the stake. Among all the characte

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Individualism vs Community

Golding looks at the role of the individual in society. Many of the problems on the island-the extinguishing of the signal fire, the lack of shelters, the mass abandonment of Ralph's camp, and the murder of Piggy-stem from the boys' implicit commitment to a principle of self-interest over the principle of community.

Jack and Ralph are the main representations of Individualism vs Community as Jack seems to be only interested in fulfilling his blood lust. Whereas Ralph wants to escape the Island and get back tor reality which is in the interests of everybody.

Although it starts with everyone looking out for the community it soon changes to them looking out for themselves after only 2 days they stop building the shelters and play in the pool instead.

Eventually the boys self interest accumulates into them joining jack's tribe The popularity of his tribe reflects the enormous appeal of a society based on individual freedom and self-interest, but as the reader soon learns, the freedom Jack offers his tribe is illusory Jack implements punitive and irrational rules and restricts his boys' behavior far more than Ralph did

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Golding thus suggests not only that some level of communal system is superior to one based on pure self-interest, but also that pure individual freedom is an impossible value to sustain within a group dynamic, which will always tend towards societal organization. The difficult question, of course, is what individuals are willing to give up to gain the benefits of being in the group.

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francesca johnston

if you have any more this would be so useful!

Pete Langley - Get Revising founder

maybe better to cut and paste onto revision note - then you can have more space?

M Frost



"The two boys faced each other. There was a brilliant world of hunting, tactics, fierce exhilaration, skill; and there was the world of longing and baffled common-sense."

Thanks. This is a quote that I found in the book that I think fits really well with Civilization Vs Savagery and the relationship between Jack and Ralph. It is from when they are on the mountain after Jack has left the fire out in the chapter Painted Faces and Long Hair.


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