The Influence Of Fear And Chaos On Innate Evil

964 words - 4 pages

The origin of an individual's sense of cruelty is a topic that is highly debatable. Though some feel that it is learned during one's childhood, others disagree and instead believe that everyone is born possessing this negative attribute, though it does not reveal itself unless the subject is in an extreme situation that promotes this attribute. William Golding, a British author recognized by his world-renowned novel, Lord of the Flies, thought that evil was brought about by a combination of the two ideas. In this magnificent piece of literary work, he uses Jack, who begins as an arrogant yet somewhat ethical leader of a group of choir boys, to demonstrate the gradual and dramatic transformation in morals that occurs when a group of young boys are stranded on an uncharted island from a plane wreck. By including Jack as one of the most dynamic characters in this book, Golding displays the effect caused by innate evil exposing itself as a result of the fear and chaos being faced.In the beginning when the boys are taken fresh out of their moral society and put onto an island with no definite rules, despite the frenzied circumstances, they continue to grasp onto their beliefs with only a slight hint of the presence of destructive change. During the very first attempt to hunt for food, Jack's reason for failure is obvious to Ralph and Simon, who accompanies him into the forest. Golding explains, "They knew very well why he hadn't: because of the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh; because of the unbearable blood" (31). The power and ability to cause death, which is possessed by the knife, is far too much for Jack to handle. His mind is still conditioned by the society that remains back home, which prevents him from currently slaughtering any creature. Blood that is shed in the case of a creature being killed would generally symbolize death or injury; and because the sight of this blood overwhelms Jack to such a large extent, his juvenile innocence is further emphasized. As the story continues, the older boys start to treat the littluns gradually more maliciously while Jack becomes increasingly determined to kill a pig. Golding illustrates, "He rubbed the charcoal stick between the patches of red and white on his face...He peered at his reflection and disliked it. He bent down, took up a double handful of lukewarm water and rubbed the mess from his face. Freckles and sandy eyebrows appeared" (63). Jack's attempt to disguise his true identity and masquerade as a savage hunter exemplifies that his sense of civilization continues to remain underneath the surface no matter what it may be. He is drifting farther and farther into a life of terror, but then comes to his senses and rejects the thought. By washing off the war paint from his face, he reveals the innocent, civilized child that lies...

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