The Evil & Primitivism in Man In the story Lord of the Flies Ralph, the democraticcharacter, and Jack, the dictator are the most important main characters.
Ralph is thevoice of hope on the island, and without that, the boys would have turned to savagerymuch faster, and under the control of Jack. William Golding uses Ralph and hischaracter foil, Jack, to show how civilization works and how it doesn’t. Jack, the chiefof the hunters, represents the hidden human passion and almost animal cruelty, andRalph, who represents human common sense to show how civlization is. This story isan allegory.
This means the character, events and setting represent deeper truths orgeneralizations then those suggested by the surface story. There are four maincharacters, and each character represents different types of people in the world. Jackis the dictator who uses force to show his thoughts and feelings. Therefore he is thedestructive side of man. He is the type of person who would rather have fun andgratification over work. On the other hand Ralph is the believer in democracy andfairness.
He is the voice of hope, and the responsible type of person. The boys on theisland, allegorically show what the human civilization is like. Ralph stands for orderand conduct of society. Each chapter begins with order, which means that Ralph hascontrol.
Ralph uses the conch to show order and the right to speak. By the end ofeach chapter there is no order and there is usually chaos, this shows that evil and/orfear has control, meaning Jack has control. Allegorically in the world it would be alegislative government versus a military type of government. Where Ralph is thelegislative and Jack is military.
The disorder caused by Jack, threatens the island andthe society that Ralph has tried so hard to form. Ralph wants to have a fire, so theycan be rescued, but Jack is more worried about having fun then being rescued and thisis a major conflict. The fire is a symbol for hope and enlightenment, but when it getsout of control it becomes very destructive. Anything without order and control canbecome destructive, this is why Ralph is so important to the society.
The twocharacter foils, Ralph and Jack, have different ideas and want different things. Ralphwants huts and a signal fire. The huts which stand for civilization and the signal fire isneeded to get rescued. This shows that Ralph creates and builds. On the opposite endof that is Jack.
Jack wants to hunt and kill pigs and have fun. This shows primitivism. Jack is shown as a person who kills and destroys. Here is the conflict; creating andbuilding versus killing and destroying.
Ralph asks Jack what he wants: ” Don’t youwant to be rescued? All you talk about is pig, pig, pig!” And Jack answers him andtells him what he wants: “But we want meat!” This tells us that Ralph and Jack will notsettle their differences. Right from the start unity of society is threatened by thedifferent purposes of the boys. Ralph was never comfortable with primitivism, butJack rather enjoyed it. Ralph thinks to himself: “He would like to have a bath, aproper wallow with soap. .
. and decided that a toothbrush would come in handy too. “Ralph resists primitivism strongly but is still sucked into it. Even though he resistsprimitivism, he still went on a pig hunt and when he gets a stab at the pig, he becomesvery proud of himself, and ends up enjoying the hunt very much.
This shows that everyhuman has an evil side. Even Ralph, who is the one who absolutely hates primitivism. The dead pilot in the tree suggests that humans have de-evolved, gone backwards inevolution. Ralph cries: “If only they could send a message to us. .
. a sign or something. “The dead pilot was the sign that the real world isn’t doing any better then they weredoing on the island. Jack objects to doing things that Ralph tells the whole group ofthe boys to do, as well he objects to Ralph’s being chief. Ralph still believes in theconch, and thinks it still holds some order: “Jack! Jack! You haven’t got the conch!Let me speak.
” Again Ralph refers to the rules: “‘The rules!’ shouted Ralph, ‘you’rebreaking the rules!'” Jack replies with: “Who cares?” His reply is short and stabbing. Once Jack says this, the reader knows that there is no turning back. The conversationcontinues: “Because the rules are the only thing we’ve got!” And to end the argumentabout rules, Jack says: ” Bollocks to the rules!. . . ” Jack then protests to using theconch: “‘Conch! Conch!’ shouted Jack, ‘we don’t need the conch anymore.
‘” Ralphlater thinks to himself: ” The world, that understandable and lawful world, was slippingaway. . . ” The conflict between the two of them, which was also caused by differentviews on the existence of a beast, culminate when Jack decides to separate fromRalph. When the groups separate, neither of them profit from it, only Ralph and Piggyrealize this. Ralph’s group is not big enough to keep the signal fire going, and Jack andthe hunters do not have Piggy’s glasses to make their own fire, to roast their pigs.
Since most of the boys have lost the need for civilization and the hope of beingrescued, Ralph has lost control of them. They now fear the beast, and Jack tells theboys that if they are hunters they can protect themselves from the beast. So now Jackgets control of most of the boys. Ralph loses hope: “I’m frightened. Of us.
I want to gohome. O god I want to go home. ” But Piggy was there to help him out of his slump fora bit. But when Piggy is killed, Ralph is helpless and desperate.
He is alone and itseems that Ralph’s common sense has entirely been defeated. There is a runningtheme in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Man is savage at heart, this is shown byRalph in the pig hunt, and always ultimately reverting back to an evil and primitivenature. This is all shown by Jack and his group of hunters when they have the pigdances, the pigs head as a scarifices and, last but not least, they turn into a group ofsavages.
Ralph and his common sense stays almost the same throughout the book, it’sJack and his hunters who change. To end, here’s a quote from David Anderson’swork entitled Nostaldia for the Primates: In this book Golding succeeds in givingconvincing form to which exists deep in our self-awareness. By the skill of his writing,he takes the reader step by step along the same regressive route as that traversed bythe boys on the island. . . Our first reaction are those of ‘civilized’ people.
But as thestory continues, we find ourselves being caught up in the thrill of the hunt and theexhilarat- ion of slaughter and blood and the whole elemental feeling of the island andthe sea. . . The backing of Golding’s thesis comes not from the imaginary events on theisland but from the reality of the readers response to them. Our minds turn to theoutrages of our century – the slaughter of the first war , the concentration camps andatom- bombs of the second – and we realize that Golding has compelled us toacknowledge that there is in each of us a hidden recess which horrifyingly declares our Bibliography: