Lord of the Flies Human Nature

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There is a central duality in humans; on the surface, they may seem composed and civilized, but underneath that exterior, there lies a dark and malevolent being who does not show himself normally. A black and twisted part of the soul, where a man is reverted back to his primitive self and they lose all reasoning and logic. One way to reach this primitive being is through fear: in wars and other terrifying situations people start to lose themselves. This is seen in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, a novel demonstrating the madness of stranded boys on an island, where he demonstrates the dark and primal sides of human nature that show themselves in dire situations through vivid imagery and foreshadowing.

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Jack, from Lord of the Flies, slowly deteriorates into a shell of the man he once was. The reasoning for this is fear, as Jack slowly lost hope of escape and slowly loses his composed self and becomes an animal who wasn’t afraid to kill and torture, as a result he loses almost every essence of humanity within him. William Golding uses vivid imagery to show the reader the effects of fear on humans. One example of this is when he describes the graphic scene where Jack and his hunters nearly kill a boy while playing. He creates an eerie scene that quickly changes from lighthearted to dark and creepy scene where a child almost dies. It represents the derailment of the boys as they quickly lose their humanity without even realizing it. This occurs on pages 114-115 in the book The Lord of the Flies, at first Robert “squealed in mock terror” because he was acting for the mock hunt, but soon he cried “in real pain”, and as the scene progressed Ralph “grabbed Eric’s spear” and “jabbed” Robert. As this scene continued, the crowd began to shout “Kill him!” and “all at once” the hunters began to surround him and continually stab him until “Robert was screaming and struggling”. However, most of the boys soon regained logic and realized that they went to far, however, Jack only said that it was a “good game”. Another example of imagery used in The Lord of the Flies was the description of Jack and the Choirboys who represent the cruelty and primitive side of human nature. On page 19, Jack and the Choirboys are initially described as “something dark” and were also wearing “black cloaks” which hid their bodies. In this scene there is a large amount of black used to describe the choirboys which is fitting because they represent the malevolent side of humanity. This is also described by L L Dickson who in his critique of The Lord of the Flies also points out the fact that “Jack’s choirboys are clothed in black.” Black is often a color associated with darkness and evil, and this shows how William Golding uses imagery to express ideas in his novel The Lord of the Flies.

While, some people such as Jack go senile from fear, others react differently. For example, Piggy from Lord of the Flies does not lose his humanity and manages to hold on to his reasoning and decisiveness until his death. Although there were moments where he lost himself, he held on to his civilized self and tried to prevent the fear from consuming him up to his tragic death. Along with vivid imagery, William Golding also uses foreshadowing to express the dark sides of human nature. William Golding used vivid imagery in the scene where the hunter Robert, was being “jabbed” and was crying in “real pain”. This scene also shows the foreshadowing William Golding used because it represents the gradual change from the Hunters hunting pigs to the Hunters hunting Ralph and those who oppose them. It also represents the change from the playful and childish side of humans to the sinister and evil side. Another example of foreshadowing in The Lord of the Flies was Jack’s obsession with killing pigs. For example, on page 69, he neglected his duty to light the fire and instead went hunting, he says that he “cut the pig’s throat” and had a “smashing time” unaware that his obsession with hunting a pig had potentially prevented the boys from getting off the island. This foreshadows his unhealthy obsession with bloodshed and killing living things. It also foreshadows that he prioritized hunting and killing more than even being rescued and leaving the island. L L Dickson also shares this opinion and wrote in his criticism that, Jack’s “impulsive decision to be a hunter and kill pigs” foreshadows Jack’s “demonic monomania” for cruelty and destruction.

William Golding uses both vivid imagery and foreshadowing to clearly show the dark and vile side of humans. All humans share this evil side, however, it is not always apparent. Some are never forced to reveal this side even until they die. Others only show this side and do not have to be in dire situations for it to surface. While this malevolence is a negative side of humanity, it is inevitable and will always be a part of the duality of human nature

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Lord Of The Flies Human Nature. (2020, May 14). Retrieved March 24, 2023 , from

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