Friday, February 13, 2009

A Story of Flies

I have noticed with grief that I've not been able to post very often. But recently I remembered that I shouldn't lack for posts if I "borrow" from my old writings. Mostly book "reports" (any one surprised?) I'll just change them a little as I fancy or not. Enjoy

Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Critique of the Unleashed Human Nature

by Jeana Moore
A HUGE FLY with evil, bloody eyes looms over a pathetic fat boy in a school uniform, and a pair of twisted, broken glasses lay in lonesome relief below. Across the bottom, printed in boyish script are the dire words Lord of the Flies. William Golding painted a vivid picture of human nature and the development of sin. Starting with a picture of a little boy standing on his head with delight, who later cried his heart out over “ the end of innocence, and the darkness of man's heart...” (202) How can a story that starts out so bravely but has so much sadness in it, have a happy ending?

RALPH was the fair boy, Piggy was the fat boy, Simon was the small boy, Jack was the ugly boy, and Rodger was the dark boy. As chief, Ralph developed a thoughtfulness and responsibleness that he didn't have upon arriving at the island. Also, he was the most focused on getting rescued besides Piggy and Simon. Piggy held an astonishing store of common sense. He knew the correct form of action to take and when to do it, as well as a sense of what was right—he fought Jack (a bigger, stronger boy) for the conch—a symbol of the right to speak and of democracy. Fat, nearsighted, and asthmatic Piggy often had to deal with ostracism from the others, who rarely valued or understood his wisdom.. Although Simon never had to put up with the sort of ribbing that Piggy did, he was also teased and was considered not quite right up top—he was “batty”. As far as boys go, Simon was incredibly intelligent. He comprehended the truth of evil, sin, and fear. He was the only one with credible reasoning skills—by using logic, he figured out that the “beastie” didn't exist, but merely danced through the boys' heads. His death at the hands of the boys who he was bringing hope to, is a bitter picture indeed. At first, Ralph and Jack had mutual understanding and friendship. They were just two healthy, active boys in a real, coral island adventure with no adults to interfere. Then Jack's blood lust and Ralph's anger when Jack let the fire go out stepped between them. Tension built, and Jack began to hate Ralph. He broke up the “game” by creating a rival tribe on another part of the island. Rodger, who had kept to himself, unleashed all his evil tendencies as Jack relied on him for torture techniques. Together, these two plunged deep into mad savagery, complete with idol worship and calculated cruelty.

DEEP, resounding blasts from the beautiful conch summonsed the first meeting and every meeting afterwards. The conch symbolized law, order, and the civilized world. As long as the rules established by the assembly (or Ralph) were respected and obeyed, the boys lived in relative comfort and security from themselves—their human nature. Those rules weren't perfect, but they were obeyed “Because the rules are the only thing we've got!” (91) Time progressed and the boys worked on projects to meet their needs: shelters, meat, and a 'round-the-clock-fire to signal passing ships. Then things began falling apart. The “little'uns” never worked unless the work seemed like play. The bigger boys did help some but ran off for a swim as the labor became unpleasant. Ralph and Simon built the third shelter alone, and Jack hunted accompanied only by his obsession to kill. When Jack, ignoring the rule to keep the fire going, demanded that the on-duty-fire-tenders join the hunt, a ship passed by and there was no smoke. They were forgetting the need for rescue. Soon a “beast” floated down from the night sky, landed by the signal fire, and ran wild in their imaginations. Fear colored their dreams and even their waking moments. This problem (the beast) needed to be solved and Jack thought he was the one to do it.

BUT THE CHIEF said no. “Boys carrying sticks” could do nothing against the menace on the mountain. Having already broken the rules and defied Ralph, Jack saw no value in the one and no reason to listen to the other. So he left to set up his own tribe. Hunters and boys who wanted adventure followed him, but high adventure and fun is not what they got. Instead they were ruled by a tyrant with a torturer-in-chief, terrorized by the thought of a “beast”, lacked the comfort from Ralph and Piggy, and had no hope of being rescued. All this turned the boys into savages. Simon, then Piggy, were killed and washed out to sea. Ralph was next, but Jack's plans were interrupted, and Ralph's dearest wish is realized.

GOLDING keeps us on our toes to the very end. Event after horrendous event rocket us to the end of the story. The pig killed... the ship lost... the 'beast' encountered... Jack decamped... the sacrifice offered... the savage dance... Simon murdered... the glasses stolen... Piggy's fall... the island set on fire... Ralph's flight..., all of these in rapid succession and ever quickening to a wild frenzy of utter loss and despair. Then, with horror still ringing on the air, the peaked cap and row of gilt buttons that meant salvation and rescue appeared and the story ends as happily as the end of innocents will allow. The brilliance of Golding makes this an exciting adventure story, but his point is that human nature is inherently evil. The littlest boys very quickly succumbed to human nature almost entirely, they could still play together but when they took it into their heads to torment another they did it without shame and enjoyed it throughly. Older boys also enjoyed tormenting, but their consciences were still keen enough for them to be ashamed when nearly caught. However, as time wore away their memories of civilized life, their compunction to restrain their natures became less and less, until they murdered. Golding made his point and hammered it home.

IN A NUTSHELL Golding's purpose for writing this somewhat disturbing book was to refute the common belief that children are born 'good' and society corrupts them. This very detrimental opinion originated in Darwinism and political propagandists loved the opportunity to regulate. (Of course, with the usual Liberal consistency, they believe that “it takes a village to raise a child”) A Christian's perspective on the situation holds that having fallen in Adam, all humans are born sinners and liars and only through Christ does man become good, or rather are they accounted righteous.


Anonymous said...

I'll be blown away! That's your longest post! 5 star!

Jeana said...