Civilization's Control Over Man The Lord of the Flies shows that, in the absence of civilization, people lose the sense of being civilized and the dark and savage side of themselves surfaces out. This happens to a group of kids stuck on an island. William Golding, the author of the novel, expresses his opinion on savagery, an act of cruelty or violence, in this book. He makes it quite clear that savagery is an essential character of man and that it exists in all of all, but civilization keeps it under control. This has been shown in history numerous times, some cases have shown the opposite; that civilization cannot control them, or it can keep them in control only to an extent.
We all have the capability of savagery inside of us. Everyone has gotten in a physical fight before or hit his brother of sister, haven't you? That is an act of violence.
So then, you are savage, and so am I, and everyone else in this world, but civilization keeps us under control but, only to an extent. If it maintained total control, one wouldn't get in a fight without something terrible happening to him/her as a punishment. The world would have total peace. But then, how could we have peace without war? We just wouldn't know what it is. So, civilization can't maintain maximum control over us.
Civilization does maintain control, but only to an extent. It can only partly control you. One does what he/she wants depending on his/her beliefs, values, and morals. Of course, civilization does have regulations and consequences for those who break them, and this is why it maintains control. One would be afraid to commit a crime because he knows he/she might get caught and he'll/she'll go to jail or worse. But everyday or so on the news, in newspapers, and other sources of information, we find reports about suicides, murders, drug and alcohol use, and other crimes. This is why it only maintains control to an extent. No one can stop it, not even the law. The law and civilization only control us only to a certain degree.
Towards the end of this book, a rock crushes Piggy, one of the main characters, and breaks the conch, a symbol of civilization of rule and order. When he dies, the sense of a civilization is lost because he is the symbol of reason and civilization in the book and all that is gone. Piggy kept on arguing that they are human and nothing else. "What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages?" (p. 40). He wanted a civilization to be established throughout their whole stay on the island, even while Roger threw rocks all around him and then killed him. He was also the only one at the end who still wanted a civilization. Ralph did want one, but he kept on forgetting everything he wanted to say and Piggy always reminding him. Before Roger killed him, he tried to remind them of how they needed a civilization and how they acted stupidly and selfishly and how they should behave more reasonably. "Which is better- to be a pack of painted Indians like you are, or to be sensible like Ralph is? Which is better- to have rules and agree, or hunt and kill? Which is better, law and rescue, or hunting and breaking things up?" (p. 164). He and Ralph did want to start the basics of a civilization but Jack wanted to hunt and they couldn't accomplish anything with only four people. Ralph, Piggy, Simon, and Samneric didn't kill anyone or anything and there wasn't any civilization to tell them not to. Simon died because Jack got so wrapped up in his hunting that anything he saw moving and didn't know what it was, he wanted to kill it.
People get killed regardless of the factor whether there is civilization or not. People strap bombs to themselves or plant one somewhere and detonate them in places with giant crowds, killing and/or wounding a lot of people. Civilization does not totally control these people. They are no afraid of the law or they are sure that they will not get caught although most of them get caught eventually. These people are not bound by civilization.
If civilization keeps us under control and we all have the capability of savagery to exist in us, then how did civilization start in the first place? If the people who started civilization or its basics were all savage, what could have made them think of it? They couldn't start making rules because how could they obey them if we still don't.
I actually think that Golding believes that civilization maintains control over man up to a magnitude. All of the boys show a sign of savagery except for a few. They all become savage all of a sudden, although when they got there they all felt that civilization still surrounded them, telling them what to do and what not to do. After a while, that sense or feeling of civilization was not grasped anymore and most of the boys turned into savages. Still, some of the boys did have that sense of civilization, so that's why I think Golding might have that opinion as he shows it in the book.
Civilization does maintain control over man but only up to a certain point. We all have capability for savagery in us although some of us might not show it.