William Golding's Lord of the flies proves that without structure, man can succumb to evil instincts and desires.

Essay by ielecrra69A+, December 2003

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Man's Malevolence

The novel Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, is a parable that communicates the theme that in the absence of a structured societal system, all humans possess the potential to succumb to their most evil instincts and desires. At the beginning of the novel, the boys, who are stranded on an island, work to build a functional society. Later in the story, their society begins to decay and break apart. At the end of the book, evil completely overwhelms the boys. To glimpse these three stages is to glimpse the condition of mankind in its struggle against its own inherent flaws.

To start, the boys strive together to get rescued and maintain the bare necessities of life. First, to uphold order, the sociable, intelligent boy, Ralph, emerges as a leader and creates a system to control communication. He says, "'That's what this shell's called. I'll give the conch to the next person to speak.

He can hold it when he's speaking '" (29). The conch represents tranquility and fairness in that one who possesses it has undivided attention. Virtuous behavior appears to be a characteristic of their new society due to their democratic system of government where everyone has an equal opportunity to speak. At this point, they are far away from barbarity. Furthermore, the inhabitants of the island think of possible ways to be saved. At the meeting initiated by the sound of the conch, Ralph ponders possible escape plans. He states, "'If a ship comes near the island they may not notice us. So we must make smoke on top of the mountain. We must make a fire'" (33). Ralph commences his relationship with the rest of the other adolescents in an excellent, mature way. He proves to be similar to an adult-like authority...