"Lord of the Flies. The end of innocence and the darkness of man's heart."

Essay by juliaverHigh School, 10th grade March 2005

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Lord of the Flies. 'The end of innocence and the darkness of man's heart.' Do you agree that these are the central concerns of Golding's novel? Please justify your answer making close reference to the text.

In his novel, Lord of the Flies, Golding raises the issue of 'the end of innocence and the darkness of man's heart' in his portrayal of certain characters. However, he contrasts such characters with those who possess the human spirit, that is, a humanity and decency that can survive the most extreme circumstances. By contrasting characters of Jack and Ralph, Golding raises the theme of good versus evil, loss of innocence, the struggle for power and his central concern seems to be that there is a thin veneer between civilised man and the savage.

Though Ralph turns out to be a good leader because of his moral principles, initially the boys choose him over Jack because of his appearance: "you could see now that he could have made a boxer".

However, as leader, Ralph is faced with adult problems which force him to lose his innocence and develop as a character. For example, Ralph reveals Piggy's name to the others after Piggy had asked him not to, but he experiences empathy towards him: "Ralph, looking with more understanding at Piggy, saw that he was hurt and crushed. This causes him to mature and treat Piggy with more respect. Ralph attempts to maintain order among the boys by constructing a set of rules. For example, the fact that one must be holding the conch to speak. The conch represents a sense of order and democracy among the boys and Golding describes it as 'precious' and 'valuable' yet 'fragile'. The fact that the rules get ignored gives a sense that Ralph is losing power and the...