William Gilding answered these questions in his novel, Lord Of the Flies. In the Story, a group Of boys crash landed on a deserted island with no adults and initially tried to set up order and government. Ralph and Piggy were the ones who represented this desire for order. But as time went on they slowly became increasingly corrupted. Some say that the island itself corrupted them.
However, it must have been the lack of civilization that merely enabled them to reveal their true inner savage.
Lord of the Flies serves as a philosophical allegory to the philosophies of Thomas Hobbes. It presents the idea that civilization kept the boys in check; unchecked, the boys became savage. Ralph started off very innocent, but even he was not safe from becoming savage. An illustration of Rally’s early innocence was when he was dreaming of ‘feeding the ponies with sugar over the garden 13) He refused to accept the bad around him and responded to negativity with his playfulness.
This supports Hobbes’ social contract theory. At the time, Ralph was quite new to the island so naturally he still desired to abide by the rules of society. When faced with stress, Ralph “stood on his head and grinned at the reversed fat boy. ” (2) It shielded him from having to face the horrors of reality. This also supports the ideas of Hobbes. Ralph resorted to his childish nature due to his want for innocence. However, this innocence was soon broken. In just some time, the boys had lost a great deal of their innocence.
For instance, when the excited children crowded around Ralph to reenact the assassination of the pig, his “desire to squeeze and hurt was over-mastering” (134) Ralph became confronted with his inner primitive nature. This proved to be a turning point for Ralph in his descent into a battle between innocence and savagery. The absence of civilization took its toll on the boys and influenced them to reject the social contract and revert to their state of nature. Roger, on the other hand, did not Start off very innocent at all; however, he descended into further darkness than any of the other characters.
In one scene Roger was shown attempting to throw rocks at a small boy by the name of Henry. However, he just couldn’t get himself to do it for “the protection of parents and school and policemen and the law’ (68) formed an invisible yet strong barrier around the boy. He wanted to cause unnecessary harm to the child; however he couldn’t because his arm, unlike his conscious mind, was still conditioned to society, morals, and rules. This is also a great reference to Hobbes’ theory. The social contract is implied and followed involuntarily.
Even when his mind had embraced his savage nature, his arm had not yet. But it did not take very long at all for the boys to plummet into utter savagery. Near the climax of the novel, the boys had all joined Jack’s tribe. The hunters felt uneasy about a thunderstorm but then Jack leapt up and ordered them to “Do our dance! Come on! Dance! ” (179) The act of making the boys dance like this served as a sort of brainwashing technique. It cleared their minds of any traces of civilization, thus making them unconsciously forget about the social contract entirely.
Near the end of the stow, Ralph was talking to Sameness. They said that the tribe Was “going to hunt” (224) Ralph and they did not know what the reason for it was. At this point the tribe had sunk down so deep into savagery that they were perfectly k with admitting that they were going to kill Ralph with no inclination at all. At this point, it is very clear how the honorable choirboys were taken so far away from society that they could easily ignore the social contract in a quite very extreme form.
In the end, this book serves as a perfect example of how a lack of civilization triggers the loss of morals and failure to abide by the social contract. Rod of the Flies shows us that even the most innocent in society IS savage in nature. Any human being, no matter how civil, will become pure evil when not part of a functional society. Through the gradual corruption of the children on the island, we could clearly see a proof to the theory that people do not abide by the rules of the social contract when not part of society. Without civilization, we are animals.
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