A review of William Golding's "Lord of the Flies"

Essay by Bill HigginsCollege, UndergraduateA+, January 1997

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The short novel Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, deals with a group of British school boys between the ages of six and twelve trapped on an island, they gradually fall from civilization into a savage tribal life. The boys are marooned on a deserted tropical island when their plane crashes on an attempted evacuation from England because of nuclear war. They are on an island with adequate food, water, a favorable climate, and no adults or girls. They gradually fall from civilization, represented by Ralph and the Conch, to savage tribalism, represented by Jack and the beast.

In the beginning of the novel the boys are partially civil and call a meeting, but have already begun to discard civilization. Ralph and Piggy call a meeting with a conch that they found in the lagoon and invite the others to join, 'We're having a meeting. Come and join in.'.

At that meeting Ralph is democratically elected chief and they maintain the democracy with the conch, only the person who holds the conch talks during a meeting. At this meeting the Beast is first mentioned and the boys are a little afraid. A rescue fire is decided to be built so that they may be saved. Civilization is maintained but has begun to be discarded in the form of clothes, 'He undid the snake-clasp of his belt, lugged off his shorts and pants, and stood there naked.'

Jack is the main reason for the fall from civilization of the boys. He is the leader of the choir and he turns the choir into a group of hunters led by him, saying that he will use the hunters to destroy the beast, hunt for food, and keep the fire burning. Jack uses the hunting to escape the responsibility of the...