The Contrasting Elements of Civilization and Savagery in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies

1570 Words 7 Pages
Modern events, such as the recent chlorine gas usage in Syria, shows that even with civilized culture not too far away, people can still revert to savage, primitive desires for power and authority (Hubbard 1). William Golding portrays these same ideas in his novel, Lord of the Flies, only Golding portrays these natural desires with english schoolchildren stranded on a tropical island paradise. In William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, civilization and savagery take contrasting roles and are represented by a number of different symbols including people, places, and objects (Koopmans 70).
William Golding was born on September 19, 1911 in St. Columb Minor in the United Kingdom. His parents were Alec Golding and Mildred Golding. Alec
…show more content…
At the beginning of the story, Piggy and Ralph find a conch on the beach, which Piggy suggests Ralph should blow to alert the others and bring them to a central location (Golding 16-17). The boys all gather around Ralph and vote for a leader of the island. They pick Ralph, not because he is the wisest or the most athletic, but because he is the one who wields the conch that brought them together. “But there was a stillness about Ralph as he sat that marked him out: there was his size, and attractive appearance; and most obscurely, yet most powerfully, there was the conch” (Golding 22). The conch becomes the symbol for civilized behavior to the boys, and at the beginning of the book at least, they respect the conch’s authority at meetings (Friedman). Another representation of civilization is Ralph’s use of meetings and elections to make decisions. At the beginning of the book, the first thing Ralph decides to do is hold as election to choose the leader of the boys on the island. This close relationship to democratic beliefs continues as Ralph repeatedly holds meetings to decide on everybody's best interests. By passing around the conch and allowing everyone to speak, he tries to ensure equal rights for all the boys (Spitz).
The two boys not only show a strong tendency toward democracy and representation, but they also put in place sensible, intelligent ideas to make life on

Related Documents