Book Reports/ Lord Of The Flies book report 20151

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“The Lord of the Flies is a picture of our society today.”

Discuss the statement and show the way the statement applies

The Lord of the Flies is about a mini-society of boys formed by chance. Their

isolation from adults forced reality upon them and so they had to think for themselves

and work together. As a commentary of today’s society it does well to explain some

of today’s issues like violence, laws, pride, greed, fear, religious power and the

conflict between living in a civilized society or savagery.

It is all about the choice the boys made when life became real. In the

beginning their lives were controlled and protected by their parents, teachers and

police officers. Jack cannot kill the pig even though he can eat meat because of the

“enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh.” (p 41). Roger cannot

hit the boys with the stones even though he could if he wanted to because he has been

conditioned by the society he used to live in. This is the type of society the children

live in. Everything is a game until the beast. The beast signals the end of the games

and start of reality. Lives are at stake in perspective of the boys and survival must

occur in any form. Our society is much like this as today’s society is also about

survival and what choices we make to survive.

The mini-society started off peaceful. The purpose was to set a signal fire and

live off fruit until help came. The conflict came when the fire and hunting could not

be committed to at the same time. As the fire was a 24 hour task and hunting needed

the whole party, the party started to take sides. Ralph’s fire would be the sensible

thing to do to get rescued however hunting would lift the standard of living for all the

boys and would also be a luxury, recreational event. The fire was hard work and

immediate results were none even though long-term results would be better. The

hunting side wins eventually. In Australia today we are spending beyond our ability

to afford this spending. This means we have a great influx of goods and services but

as a community we are cheating ourselves as this leads to a current account deficit

and the cost of living in this deficit must be paid plus the deficit. In this book’s case,

the deficit was their morals and the interest was paid in life.

The conch was the symbol of power and it represented the order in the

beginning of the book. It brought them together and provided laws for the society.

The main law being whoever holds it has the right to speak without interjection or

disrespect while he was speaking. It is much like a policeman’s badge or even the

mace in our parliament.

However, the beast held a greater power over the conch which was fear. It is

used by Jack to gain power over the rest of the group. His promises and rallies to kill

the beast eased the fear of the boys and hence he won over the group. The killing of

Simon as the beast but saying the beast was still alive, showed Jack had used the beast

to keep his power as leader of the tribe. In a way, it became a religion as Jack’s ritual

of killing pigs for their heads to keep the beast happy. This was his method of

promoting hunting. Other examples of this in real society are the Vikings whose

promise of Valhalla made them among the best warriors of all time in the world. In

today’s society, religions can give power and money to many people. Fear of gods or

protection from all fears in society can make person donate to a religious unit

material goods or loyalty. Even traditional religions like Catholicism can allow the

leaders to lead a life of luxury.

Violence in the book increases as it does in society today. At first, the

intention of killing the first pig was there and then when a pig was finally killed,

killing became easier. The restraint that deemed killing unacceptable in society was

broken. Next came the killing of the beast or Simon. They recognised him as the

beast although they knew it was Simon but as they all joined in, killing Simon became

a cheered event and not a tragedy. The boys realised that nothing would happen if

they killed humans as their peers were also killing and so the restraint was broken

even further. The killing of Simon was not an event enjoyed by all as Ralph and the

twins realised the mistake because the restraint was still strong inside then. The

feelings become more intense as this happened. In every step, “the darkness of man’s

heart” became an ever greater presence amongst Jack’s group but when the realisation

of fault happens to Ralph and his group, their wish for peace becomes even more

great. Savagery and civility or, evil and good both become more intense and defined.

Piggy’s death shows the ultimate in disregard for death as Jack declares that he meant

to kill Piggy and starts a completely defined death hunt for Ralph. Our society today,

has changed to a completely defined peace push after the world wars. However,

disregard for human life is still trying to match the push as thousands still die under

the hands of others in civil and international wars, in muggings and robberies, and

generally in hatred killings of personal, racial, religious and revenge reasons.

The significance of the officer in the final scene is the way he turns a blind eye

to the boys and waits for them to pull themselves together.

In conclusion, the Lord of the Flies is a picture of our society today. It shows

the darkness of man’s heart and where the break down of restraint can result in killing

and violence. When laws and morals can no longer apply to man then the darkness of

man’s heart will escape. This anarchy is a picture of our society today in war, greed,

fear, and is the other half of our “civilised society”. It is a picture that exists and will

remain with man no matter how far we bury the darkness whether we bury it shallow

like Jack and Roger or deep like Ralph and Piggy

Word Count: 1070


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