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The Battle Between Good And Evil

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Autor:  anton  06 September 2010
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The Balance Between Good and Evil

W. Nick Lawlor

British Literature

Mr. Paul Havey


D set

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The Balance Between Good and Evil

William Golding’s Lord of the Flies is an author’s painting of the evil that resides in all of the human race. The tropical island setting presents an environment free from civil order introducing a battle ground for the war of good and evil. Showing different side of human nature one can ponder the question “What would I do?” Golding explains the good, bad and balance of human nature, revealing that in times of despair man can easily regress to a primitive state, leaving the strong willed to promote civil order, but often be extremely out numbered.

Ralph and Piggy’s sense of responsibility and maturity initially brings to the island a voice for everyone, calling for a brotherhood among the boys in order to survive and eventually be rescued. Early on the novel reads “There was a stillness about Ralph's as he sat that marked him out: there was his size and attractive appearance; and most securely, yet most powerful there was the conch.” (Golding Pg. 22). This quote describes the presence Ralph promoted on the island early on in their adventure. He encouraged equal say amongst the boys through the conch. In order to speak, one had to have possession of the symbolic shell. The shell representing the Parliamentary government in which they had left at home. Furthermore, Piggy, gaining an influential voice through Ralph, shouts his concern to the immature reckless boys “The first thing we ought to have made was shelters down there by the beach... Then when you get here you build a bonfire that isn’t no use. Now you been and set the whole island on fire.” (Golding pg. 47). Like Ralph, Piggy’s responsibility and ability to plan for the future contradicts the actions of the boys, which in turn is the main reason for the separation between Jack and Ralph. Ralph and Piggy strive for a civilized way of life, yet find Jack leading an indirect revolt against any attempt to maintain order. Ralph and Piggy represent the good, civilized world in which they

have come from; unfortunately the freedom of the island breathes life into Jack’s evil

side, causing chaos to lurk throughout the boys.

Jack Merridew represents the evil and dark ambitions that can take over a person when given the lack authority in a setting such as the tropical paradise. In given such freedom, Jack slowly loses his fear of punishment; seen here, his innocence still remains but

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soon deteriorates “They knew very well why he hadn’t: because the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh; because of the unbearable blood” (Golding pg. 32). This is the beginning of the hunt for pigs. The boys way of life begins to revolve around the hunt, violence being a necessity transforming boys into savages, alienating Ralph and Piggy (the good) from Jack and his hunters. Savagery unfolds in this quote “The mask was a thing on its own behind which Jack hid liberated from shame and self consciousness.” (Golding pg. 67). He put the paint on, first to camouflage himself from the pigs, but soon discovered that the paint allowed him to hide his fear of blood and enjoy the thrill of killing. Meat was the product of the hunt, providing to his followers and Ralph and Piggy. Jack hoped that they would become dependent on him for meat, just as the others did, therefore squashing his resistance and becoming chief of the island. Hiding their emotions, Jack and his savages need for brutality eventually lead to the murder of Simon and Piggy in order to silence their opposition.

Simon, the silent one, becomes the balance between good and evil on the island through his spiritual character. “Simon paused. He looked over his shoulder as Jack had done at the close ways behind him and glanced swiftly round to confirm that he was utterly alone. For a moment his movements were almost furtive. Then he bent down and wormed his way into the center of the mat.” (Golding pg. 56-57). Simon reveals a mystic quality in venturing out into the jungle for moments of solitude and meditation. Perhaps his concept of reality is more of a spiritual level rather physical, which would diminish his fear of the beast. The absence of fearing the beast enables

Simon to view his meeting with the lord of the flies logically as portrayed in the following quote “Fancy thinking the beast was something you could hunt and kill!...You knew didn’t you? I’m part of you? Close, close, close! I’m the reason why it’s no go? Why things are the way they are?” (Golding pg.143). Simon discovers that even he contains a destructive evil. At the cost of his life he discovers the full power of evil that throbs in the hearts of all the boys. Due to Simon’s spirituality he is able to realize the danger on the island is the boy’s fear of a beast, depicting an understanding that only the strong minded person can comprehend.

The three sides of human nature, good, evil, and the balance are all portrayed

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through William Golding’s characters of Ralph,Piggy, Jack and Simon. These characters

were faced with the absolute freedom of choice. Ralph and Piggy brought the island the civilized way of life in which all must rely on an established government for decisions and fair vote, each other for daily needs and the cooperation of the whole to survive. These systems of life do not tend to work during times of trouble. People become impatient and demand fast solutions to problems. Jack answered the cry of hunger with the meat from the hunt. In doing so, Jack revolted against the civilized way of life, gained support and declared himself a dictator over his hunters. The hunt brought a need for violence into their lives, setting the progression of man back to times of savagery. Golding’s outlook of human nature lies in Simon’s role in his novel. Simon is an artistically and religiously sensitive boy who looks into the realities that plague the island. He favors the good side in faithfully participating in tasks, yet detaches himself from the worries of the real world. His world contains no fears. Simon is able to speak with the lord of the flies due to this grasp of reality. He represents a creative artist, such as Golding himself, of the twentieth century. Gradually being isolated for his views, the artist or author is forced further and higher into a place of solitude in which he can converse with the spirits.

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Works Cited

Golding, William. The Lord of the Flies. published by The Berkley Group copyright 1954 by William Golding

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