Lord of The Flies Themes: Civilization & Innocence
1. Are Ralph and Piggy the only defenders of civilization on the island? What does “civilization” mean to them?
Anything that is “civilized” to Ralph is just something that an adult would do. He said it a lot in the book, so I think he believes it. Simon is the true person who represented civilization itself because he is the only real innocent, and was by far the one who was the most kind, honest, and most civil person on the island.
2. Does Ralph end up giving up on civilization by the end?
Yes and No. He had given up on it by the time they killed Simon, but he wanted to still believe in the order of civilization where everything is organized and people work together. I think he is relieved when he runs away from the savage pack and then finds civilization in the form of soldiers.
3. What are the differences between “savagery” and civilization?
Well, being civilized is normally what is the “good” thing but really, if what you are doing is “civil,” then you are technically civilized. There are always different experiences for different people. But being savage is different. It is all about doing the thing that will tear everyone apart and makes people want to make something bleed. It is selfish, mean, greedy, and dangerous except the boys thought being in Jack’s savage gang was actually safer. They were wrong but couldn’t give up then out of fear.
And is “savagery” actually the opposite of civilization? If not, then what is?
Yes, and no. If you think being savage is being a republican, for example, but being civilized is being a democrat, then yes they are the opposite. But if you thought being a savage means you have a spear, but being civil meant you had a saber then, it would not be opposite. Basically, being civil means being polite, working together, respectful, and helpful, but savages are out for themselves and don’t care who gets hurt. They will do anything to get what they want, even if this means hurting or killing someone.
1. At what point in the novel does Ralph start thinking that mankind is inherently evil? Do other characters come to the same conclusion?
Ralph thinks that because of his bad experience. But it started happening when Simon died. He was the only one who thought that that people were always evil. Even Piggy made an excuse for the death of Simon.
2. Are the terms “mankind” and “man’s heart” used interchangeably in this novel?
Yes they are. They mean different things in different points of the book.
What might be the difference between the two terms?
One represents people; the other represents their heart, their purpose or motivation.
3. When Ralph talks about the “darkness of man’s heart,” is this a cop-out?
No. I think he really believes that everyone has darkness in his heart.
Do you think it’s easier for Ralph to think man is inherently evil than realize that all the boys, including Ralph, have chosen to be violent and hurtful?
Knowing that makes it better than to know that everyone wants to kill you on purpose.
4. Is Golding suggesting that children aren’t actually innocent?
He wants to say that no matter what, people can be evil or innocent, it just depends on what path they choose to take, but he tends to think all people are basically evil.
I also started learning about 9\11 today. I watched the History channel documentary called 102 Minutes that Changed America. I learned that not only the Twin Towers (World Trade Center) were blown up but also the Pentagon took some serious damage, and it took two years to fix. A field in Pennsylvania was destroyed as well as 3,000 people with those buildings and planes. There was a giant dust cloud that came from the collapse of the building and covered everything and made people sick, especially the first-responder volunteers, firefighters, and policemen. Both planes hit around the 70th floor on each of the north and south towers, collapsing both of them. They made it to where no one could enter or exit NYC, so they had to rely in onky the people there to help. In Pennsylvania, people went to the observatory and used a telescope to look at the Twin Towers. Some people were stuck on floors or stairways and either fell out of windows or jumped on purpose to commit suicide. They couldn’t use any of the elevators and had to try to walk down 70 flights of stairs. A lot of people died of smoke inhalation. They still haven’t found all of the bodies. I was mad that this happened and that terrorists purposefully tried to hurt America. I want to watch more documentaries with different perspectives so I can learn more about it and see what other people think.
I also wrote to friends and family to ask questions to do an “oral history” project based on their personal experiences. I’m excited to read the replies! 🙂