Throughout Lord of the Flies the boys change drastically, both mentally and physically, which causes the breakdown Of order on the island. In the beginning, the school boys start out trying to find order within their newly found community. Two of the main characters, Jack and Ralph, are both “natural born” leaders. In the beginning of the book, Gilding describes them as being civil school boys. They show that they have civilizing instinct on page 20 when Ralph calls a meeting by blowing the conch: “We are having a meeting.
Come and join in”.
Also, the way Jack and his choir present themselves: party of boys, marching approximately in step in two parallel lines and dressed in strangely eccentric clothing” (19). The appearance of the choir shows that they had a sense of propriety. At this point in the book you can tell that the boys were still influenced by their past society. One example is when Jack hesitates and then fails to kill a pig “because of the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh; because of the unbearable blood” (31 The reader gets a sense that Jack along with the other boys are not yet “savages.
They all still have this moral feeling that it old be wrong to kill a pig. They then go on by taking down names and selecting a leader. This shows their subconscious need for order. The conch that Ralph blows is a symbol of law and authority on the island. This conch actually helps keep the boys civil for a while, until later on when Roger destroys it. With the destruction of the conch comes the destruction of order on the island. The tension between Jack and Ralph builds up throughout the book which leads to savage behavior on the island.
When the boys have their first hunt, which brings up more tension between Jack and Ralph, Jack is invoiced that Ralph should not be the leader because he cannot hunt and provide for the other boys. They end up failing, but as they hunt more they get better and eventually make their first kill. In the beginning, the hunting is strictly for survival. Around chapter eight, they start to kill for fun. Jack and his hunters come across a sow and her piglets. Immediately, they hunt her down, brutally stabbing her with their spears.
Roger finishes off their torturing of the sow by saying “Right up her a* *” (123) and stabs her in the rear. This is a turning point for the boys. When they start killing for fun, Gilding means for he the reader to have a realization that the boys’ natural instincts have taken over. Two groups are formed on the island. One group was lead by Jack, who leads the hunters and the other group is lead by Ralph. Rally’s group includes Piggy, Sameness, and the Littlest. The splitting up of the groups turned the children against each other.
This eventually leads to a fight and the deaths of Piggy, Simon, the torturing of Sameness, and the hunting of Ralph. In the end, the tension between Jack and Ralph culminates into a barbaric showdown. Chaos on the island causes a change in the boys’ appearance and mental state. At the beginning of the novel, the boys tried their best to keep clothing neat and unripe. Throughout the book, their clothing became more ragged. They stopped grooming and paid no attention to their hygiene.
Eventually, Jack and his hunters started to paint their bodies so that their outward appearance reflected their inner savagery and animal-like behavior. The mentality turns from being civilized to chaotic. They get into multiple fights after the separation of groups. In Chapter 9 the situation gets out of control when Simon is killed. The change to barbaric acts is a turning point for the breakdown of order in the novel. The boys become crazed with the idea of war. The book is an allegory of civil war.
Throughout Lord of the Flies the boys change drastically both mentally and physically, which causes the breakdown of order on the island. If you take a human out of society, they will revert back to a savage mental state. The book shows that people need a strong central authority. In the book, the boys create different alliances. Gilding takes this idea of social contracts from Thomas Hobbes. The book shows a society that doesn’t have a social contract, and this is what causes the tension and fighting on the island.
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