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Evil and Social Collapse in Golding’s Lord of the Flies

The kids’ evil natures are brought out through the fire, the glasses, and the sow’s head. William Golding presented numerous themes and basic ideas that give the reader something to think about. One of the most basic and obvious themes is that society holds everyone together, and without these conditions, our ethics, values, and the basics of right and wrong are lost. Without society's firm rules, chaos and savagery can come to light. Golding is also showing that morals come directly from our surroundings, and if there is no civilization around us, we will lose these values. The Signal Fire is a symbol of commonsense and rescue from sin. The first duty that the boys make on the island is to build a fire, which like the conch shell brings the entire group of boys together in awe and wonder. When Jack steals Piggy’s specs and the signal fire can no longer be lit, Ralph loses his bearings, losing hope of being rescued and confused on what to do next. “ We can’t keep one fire going. And they don’t care. And what’s more, I don’t sometimes.”1 The flare of hope and knowledge is no longer there to guide Ralph who must then be regularly reminded by Piggy about what is right. To Piggy and Ralph, the fire represents the moral influence of their old life in England. Despite the boys' dislike for Piggy, he does prove useful. His glasses are the key to starting the fire on the mountain. In particular, this makes him useful for Jack, who remains more interested in hunting and causing pain and disorder than in contributing or constructing anything of use. It is important that he most supports building a fire, for it is an essentially destructive act. Ironically, at the end of the novel, it is a fire that finally is seen by a passing ship, not the signal fire. It was seen by the forest fire Jack started as part of his plan to hunt and kill Ralph. As a result, the signal fire becomes a symbol for the boys' connection to civilization...

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Evil and Social Collapse in Golding’s Lord of the Flies. (1969, December 31). In DirectEssays.com. Retrieved 15:36, August 22, 2014, from http://www.megaessays.com/viewpaper/2189.html