Lord of the Flies

Essay by juliaver June 2004

download word file, 2 pages 3.0

Downloaded 22 times

From reading William Golding's Lord of the Flies, an understanding of

the term human spirit is realized. The term "human spirit" goes beyond the will to survive in that humanity and decency can survive the most extreme circumstances. Golding helps us to understand this term through the actions and decisions of his characters in the novel.

Through Ralph, Golding demonstrates the human spirit. He is, at the

beginning, a happy yet sensitive and responsible person who comes to

understand the "darkness of a man's heart" through the cruelty of Jack.

Ralph demonstrates compassion and consideration towards others. An

example of this is when he chooses those to accompany him to explore the island, he excludes piggy because of his "ass-mar" and fatness. He also displays a respect for civilised values which is evident when he refuses to wear paint:

"we won't be painted because we aren't savages." By the end of the

novel he is the only character who maintained his humanity and decency and resisted lowering himself to the level of the savage man but his fight for good against evil leads him into a situation quite beyond him because the standards he represents are crushed in a world run by Jack.

Jack is Golding's example of a negative human spirit. He is a leader

but his methods are the complete opposite of Ralph. He is dictatorial and aggressive. Through his will to survive he has lost all aspects of a civilised person. By the end of the novel he had degenerated into a

savage with a lust for killing. He was able to corrupt the others and make them join his tribe of savages. Jack shows that, without the restraints of society, he will revert to primitive desires because there are no moral standards to influence his...