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Essay/Term paper: True human nature (criticism of lord of the flies)

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Lord of the Flies

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Reading Lord of the Flies, one gets quite an impression of Golding"s view

on human nature. Whether this view is right or wrong, true or not, is a

point to be debated. This image Golding paints for the reader, that of

humans being inherently bad, is a perspective not all people share. This

opinion, in fact, is a point that many have disagreed with when reading

his work. There are many instances throughout Lord of the Flies that

state Golding"s opinion suggesting an evil human nature. Each of these

instances are the bricks holding together his fortress of ideas that are

constantly under attack.

Lord of the Flies is but an abstract tool of Golding"s to construct the

idea of human nature in the minds of his readers. Throughout the novel,

it is stated that all humans are evil. It is said that this evil is

inescapable and will turn everyone evil. At one point in the book, when

the Lord of the Flies is representing all evil, this theory is stated as,

"The Lord of the Flies was expanding like a balloon" (Golding 130). Along

with this idea is the religious symbolism that is used for ineffectively

confronting the evil. At a point in the book, Golding has Simon, symbolic

of Jesus Christ (a Christian deity), confront the Lord of the Flies. This

is a pig"s head on a stick that is imagined to talk and represent the evil

in all humans. Simon tries to act and spread the knowledge of this evil

to others but is killed. This is a direct reference to the death of

Christ, alluding to the Holy Bible.

At many points throughout Lord of the Flies, Golding writes for the

characters to become gradually more and more evil. This attribute even

reaches the symbols of goodness and order, such as Ralph. Once, when

Ralph and Piggy go to the feast on Jack"s beach, they begin to meld with

the others and their evil ways. "Piggy and Ralph, under the threat of the

sky, found themselves eager to take a place in this demented but partly

secure society" (Golding 138). This really only proves their common

longing for a place with others, not any depth of evilness. Golding also

has all of the characters eventually participate in the hunts, his

representation of an evil ritual that humans perform. By having all of

the characters practice this, he illustrates his belief of everyone being

susceptible to turning evil. This fact is not necessarily true. Humans

develop their own dedications to their own beliefs, morals, and ethics.

Each person has the decision of acting how they wish. Many acts are

considered "bad" by the ruling body of government and are punishable.

Other acts are considered "good" and are rewarded. However, it must be

seen that each individual decides for himself what is "good" or "bad" for

him to do. Thus, most people act on what they consider good. This can

seem unusual, for a serial killer may consider brutal murder a good act

and helping a friend as an extremely evil action. One must see, that some

people also act on what they consider bad. This may be as a rebellion of

all that was forced on them by society. It might also be due to

overwhelming circumstances as well. But, it is still apparent that each

person has the choice of acting upon their own goodness or evil.

Golding also makes it clear that the island that is the focus of the

novel is merely a microcosm of the entire world. He develops his world as

one having a destructive nuclear war. This is meant to demonstrate that

everyone, no matter who or where, will turn evil. He paints the image of

nuclear war as pure and vile evil. This is not entirely, or at all, true.

A nuclear war could simply be a power struggle that has mass power behind

it. It might also be the elimination of those who oppose what is

considered "good." Anyway, the way Golding demonstrates and terms many

things in Lord of the Flies creates a large and almost impenetrable

illusion to support his claim of the evil human nature. No one thing can

be all evil or entirely anti-good. Many things can be usually bad or

mostly considered bad, but there is some good to be found in everyone.

One should not be mistaken, though, that anything could be all good

either. All people, actions, and things have the potential to be neutral.

This can easily be sustained. It can also be tipped to favor good or

bad, but nothing is purely one or the other.

As shown above, Golding has a misguided view of all humans being bad.

This cannot be, for nothing can be entirely good or bad. When considering

this, one must also remember that each individual had his own

consciousness, thus has the ability to choose. This also applies to good

and bad actions. If one does mostly good actions, they might be

considered good. If one does mostly bad actions, they might be considered

bad. This should be kept in mind when thinking about human nature, rather

than some twisted concept of everyone being uncontrollably bad.

Works Cited

Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Putnam Publishing, 1954.


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