'Discuss the transition from civilisation to savagery in the novel "The Lord of the Flies" by William Golding.' I think I got an A/B for this... but not entirely sure what percentage that is...

Essay by moonbeamswiftHigh School, 11th gradeB, May 2004

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The 'Lord of the Flies' starts with the informal introduction to two of the main characters, Ralph and Piggy. Ralph's higher status is immediately recognised through his control over the situation of being stranded on the island, and his attitude towards Piggy. The finding of the conch on Piggy's part could be implying the finding of society, as from the moment the conch is blown by Ralph, he is taken as being the authoritive figure. The assembly then formed also implies the beginnings of a community.

The introduction to the choir is perhaps an implication towards savagery as they are described as being:

"...the creature...darkness was not all shadow..."

This is implying that even from the beginning, Jack and his choir are thought of as being threatening, the word 'creature' implying an unknown fear, and also a premonition of the 'beast' that is seen later on. The fact that the word 'darkness' is used to describe them also shows the transition they make into savagery, as the word can also signify obscurity, which is one way their behaviour later on could be described.

We can immediately see from the start that Jack carries some authority and wishes to be treated like an adult from his statement:

"Kids' names...Why should I be Jack? I'm Merridew"

This shows not only his confidence, but also his upper class upbringing. His status is reinforced when he bullies Piggy, perhaps understanding Piggy's lower status and taking advantage of this to make himself perhaps feel bigger.

The gradual change of Jack's name also implies his gradual change into savagery. Being called by your surname was a polite and formal way of introducing yourself to strangers, Christian names suggest more friendly terms, or used when you are more acquainted with someone, and finally 'Chief' signifies...