Reading Lord of the Flies, one gets quite an impression of Goldings viewon human nature. Whether this view is right or wrong, true or not, is apoint to be debated. This image Golding paints for the reader, that ofhumans being inherently bad, is a perspective not all people share. Thisopinion, in fact, is a point that many have disagreed with when readinghis work.
There are many instances throughout Lord of the Flies thatstate Goldings opinion suggesting an evil human nature. Each of theseinstances are the bricks holding together his fortress of ideas that areconstantly under attack.Lord of the Flies is but an abstract tool of Goldings to construct theidea 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 isinescapable and will turn everyone evil. At one point in the book, whenthe 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). Alongwith this idea is the religious symbolism that is used for ineffectivelyconfronting the evil.
At a point in the book, Golding has Simon, symbolicof Jesus Christ (a Christian deity), confront the Lord of the Flies. Thisis a pigs head on a stick that is imagined to talk and represent the evilin all humans. Simon tries to act and spread the knowledge of this evilto others but is killed. This is a direct reference to the death ofChrist, alluding to the Holy Bible.At many points throughout Lord of the Flies, Golding writes for thecharacters to become gradually more and more evil.
This attribute evenreaches the symbols of goodness and order, such as Ralph. Once, whenRalph and Piggy go to the feast on Jacks beach, they begin to meld withthe others and their evil ways. Piggy and Ralph, under the threat of thesky, found themselves eager to take a place in this demented but partlysecure society (Golding 138). This really only proves their commonlonging for a place with others, not any depth of evilness. Golding alsohas all of the characters eventually participate in the hunts, hisrepresentation of an evil ritual that humans perform.
By having all ofthe characters practice this, he illustrates his belief of everyone beingsusceptible to turning evil. This fact is not necessarily true. Humansdevelop their own dedications to their own beliefs, morals, and ethics. Each person has the decision of acting how they wish. Many acts areconsidered bad by the ruling body of government and are punishable. Other acts are considered good and are rewarded.
However, it must beseen that each individual decides for himself what is good or bad forhim to do. Thus, most people act on what they consider good. This canseem unusual, for a serial killer may consider brutal murder a good actand helping a friend as an extremely evil action. One must see, that somepeople also act on what they consider bad.
This may be as a rebellion ofall that was forced on them by society. It might also be due tooverwhelming circumstances as well. But, it is still apparent that eachperson has the choice of acting upon their own goodness or evil.Golding also makes it clear that the island that is the focus of thenovel is merely a microcosm of the entire world. He develops his world asone having a destructive nuclear war. This is meant to demonstrate thateveryone, no matter who or where, will turn evil. He paints the image ofnuclear 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 behindit. It might also be the elimination of those who oppose what isconsidered good.
Anyway, the way Golding demonstrates and terms manythings in Lord of the Flies creates a large and almost impenetrableillusion to support his claim of the evil human nature. No one thing canbe all evil or entirely anti-good. Many things can be usually bad ormostly considered bad, but there is some good to be found in everyone. One should not be mistaken, though, that anything could be all goodeither. All people, actions, and things have the potential to be neutral.
This can easily be sustained. It can also be tipped to favor good orbad, 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 consideringthis, one must also remember that each individual had his ownconsciousness, thus has the ability to choose. This also applies to goodand bad actions.
If one does mostly good actions, they might beconsidered good. If one does mostly bad actions, they might be consideredbad. This should be kept in mind when thinking about human nature, ratherthan some twisted concept of everyone being uncontrollably bad.
Works CitedGolding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Putnam Publishing, 1954.