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Written by Nobel Prize-winning author William Golding, Lord of the Flies is about a group of boys who are stranded on an island and attempt to govern themselves with disastrous results. The main theme of the novel is the civilization versus savagery struggle. By the end of the novel, savagery takes hold of the group of boys. Out of all the Lord of the Flies essay topics, civilization versus savagery is the most appreciated. Check out this example and feel free to use it as a starting point for your paper.
The epic struggle of civilization against savagery has been around for thousands of years. In Golding’s novel, a group of boys becomes stranded on an uninhabited island. The boys are forced to take tough decisions all by themselves. The first natural instinct of the boys is to be fair and civil. However, subsequent events and the effects of fear slowly throw the group into the grasps of savagery.
The boys established a democracy, where anyone holding the conch can speak freely without being interrupted. The group elects Ralph as their leader and three goals are established: to survive, to maintain a smoke signal for passing ships and to have fun. However, when chores have to be carried out, civilization begins to deteriorate. The boys prefer to stand idle. Paranoia about a fictive “beast” on the island appears.
The first signs of savagery appear when Jack starts a power struggle with Ralph. Next, Jack draws most of the boys into a savage pig hunt, leaving the smoke signal unattended. A passing ship fails to notice the boys and this leads to further tension between Jack and Ralph. After several other struggles, Jack and a few of the boys form their own tribe. The new tribe starts to paint their faces, offer sacrifices to the “beast” and perform other strange rituals.
Savagery takes over completely when Jack’s tribe kills Simon during a frenzied ritual dance, mistaking him for the dreaded “beast.” Jack’s tribe then turns on Ralph’s tribe, killing Piggy in the process and destroying the conch (the symbol of democracy). Ralph is forced to flee for his life, while the captives Sam and Eric are tortured until they change their beliefs and join Jack’s tribe. A manhunt for Ralph begins, similar to the pig hunts.
In the end, the remaining boys are rescued, but their savagery is revealed. While running from Jack’s tribe, Ralph runs into a naval officer who has just landed from a nearby warship. This is when Ralph tells about the “end of innocence” and about the two deaths. The rest of the boys return to normal as well and burst into tears. The naval officer stares at his warship while trying to understand how British boys could become so savage and feral. In the end, savagery has prevailed over civilization. Did the boys have any other options? They did, yet fear, anxiety and power aspirations managed to leave them with one single choice: war.
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