Changes from Boys to Beasts
In the book Lord of the Flies by William Golding, the boys went from innocent British Boys to ruthless savages that kill. There is constant conflict between the two main characters in the book Ralph and Jack. Ralph, was elected to become the leader of the boys at the beginning of the novel. He wanted to run the Island and have order with civilization, and a strong leadership. While Jack his rival wants to be in charge wanting all the power. He starts to carry a knife as a symbol of his power, eventually Jack soon becomes obsessed with hunting, even going as far as painting his face like a barbarian. The savagery in Jacks gives him more control over the rest of the group who then start falling away from Ralph’s leadership.
In Lord of the Flies, there were many conflicts and many personalities between the children. The two obvious ones were the battels between Ralph, who represents leadership and order. While Jack, represents power and control through fighting and killing, making rules and punishments for those who break his rules. This eventually caused the young innocent boys to become ruthless savages that would eventually kill. For example in chapter 12, the boys start behaving like savages by hunting and killing animals. Another example is in chapter 3, where Simon another character in the book sits in the forest glade, a place of beauty and innocence now changed due to the bloody head of a sow impaled on a spike as an offering spoiling the once innocent place of beauty. The boys, like Ralph, Jack, Piggy and Simon were all innocent young boys that happened to end up being stranded on an Island together due to no fault of theirs. An example of their innocence’s was when Ralph found the Conch shell. He had a vague idea what it was but because of its shape decided to play it like a trumpet, all the while blowing even more because of the “farting” sound it made. After a while, with the help of Piggy, who is the smart and intelligent young chubby boy who wears glasses due to poor eyesight has and asthma explains to Ralph how to use the Conch shell as a form of communication.
“S’right. It’s a shell! I seen one like that before. On someone’s back wall. A conch he called it. He used to blow it and then his mum would come over. It’s ever so valuable” Chapter 1, pg. 15.
The conch shell was used as a symbol of power which eventually gets taken by Jack who craves power and used as a form of communication, to gather the other boys on the island. Such an example was when Ralph states “I’ll blow the conch and call an assembly”, Jack responds “We shan’t hear it.”pg. 151
Ralph wanted the boys to try and “relax” and not worry, so he decided to play a game. The game involved “pushing rocks off the cliff. “. The game they played was mostly to keep their minds off being trapped on the island, eventually leading to killing each other, brutal beatings, dancing like cannibals after a successful hunt and a savage manhunt”. Although this was a child’s game, the act of pushing the rocks over the cliff was used as a way of teaching the boys how to defend themselves against the enemy. The quote shows that the games the boys played changes their personality into different people, more savage. Some of the boys turn into savages throughout the book to gain power over others, while others like Ralph try to remain peaceful and try to find ways to get off the island.
Jack went from being a choirmaster and head boy at this school before becoming stranded on the island to breaking off and forming his own savage tribe. For example, this quote from Lord of the Flies pg 181 “See? See? That’s what you’ll get! I meant that! There isn’t a tribe for you anymore! The conch is gone” He ran forward stooping “I am chief”. The significance of the quote shows that the once order that Ralph has now been taken over by Jack. The conch shell helped call order, but once it was smashed by a large rock that Roger rolls onto Piggy marking the end of the civilized order among almost all the boys on the island. The order that was once present and was meant to keep the group together has now gone and will keep them apart for good. “As the book continues their makeshift government disintegrates giving rise to a brutal gang bent on destroying these boys who have tried to form a purposeful just society. Violence comes the order of the day unleashing primitive instincts”. The quote is important because it shows that Jack made his own tribe because he thought he should be the leader instead of Ralph. The power went to Jack’s head and turned all his followers of his tribe into savages and beasts like himself.
In Conclusion, The Lord of the Flies represents changes in people when circumstances such as being stranded on an island and survival occur or happen, savagery against order. The characters of Ralph in particular, realizes that the island has changed him and all his friends, the innocence that was once present in these boys was now lost forever. Ralph represents order and following rules with everybody having a say in how things are done. While Jack who represents savagery wants to be the only person to set the rules. Furthermore, these British boys let the island get the best of them. The boys portrayed many personalities throughout the book such as innocence kicking rocks in the water to savages killing to survive. The simple change in circumstance of being stranded on the island triggered a person going crazy, starting problems and causing changes in themselves and others around them. In closing, again, the boys went from Innocence’s to savages due to changes in their circumstances.