Not All Must Be

September 11, 2008 at 2:56 am 3 comments

If you’re wondering what spurred this post… Um, not really sure. Maybe I’m homeworked out and thought I would share a slice of it. I’m not sure. Maybe I’m just very disgusted with society… I’m thinking that’s more likely 😉 I will be posting on something more interesting soon….

My summer homework for humanities was to read Lord of the Flies. We’ve now proceeded to have quizzes, projects, and essay assignments on it. It’s an interesting discussion though. The essay below (you obviously don’t have to read it but I felt like sharing) is on the nature of man and civilizations. Not a very light topic for the first essay of sophomore year, eh? It took me most Saturday to write, with editing and MLA on Sunday. Obviously it isn’t perfect, but I do feel like it adequately expresses my thoughts and feelings on this subject. Anyways, here’s my essay 😀

Not All Must Be

“What I mean is… Maybe it’s only us… (Golding 89)” speaks young Simon regarding the possibility of a beast living upon the island. This convicting statement is what gives Lord of the Flies by William Golding its profound meaning. With these seven words Simon touches upon the nature of man, and the impact upon civilization that goes hand in hand with it. And how civilizations, without a common theme to bind them together, will only result in chaos. Furthermore, Lord of the Flies translates through a simple story of adventure the themes that mankind is inherently evil, and civilization is doomed to fail without purpose to unify individuals.

When asked what he would describe as the theme of his novel Golding states, “The theme is an attempt to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature (Epstein 204).” In Lord of the Flies, Golding expresses the belief that when left to his own devices man will choose to follow one of three paths. The first being a nature cultivated by civilization that adheres to higher power, structure, and lives by the standards of authority. Another nature of man, Golding suggests, is more primitive and instinctive. It is based on the need to survive and puts nothing else before the desire for power. The final nature Golding portrays is so rare in his eyes that we see it in only one character: Simon. Throughout the novel until his tragic demise, we see through Simon the nature of goodness that appeals to a higher standard of living than even Ralph with his civilization minded ideals. Each nature is different, and each exists in society.

A subtle theme in Lord of the Flies is the idea that without purpose civilizations cannot survive. From the start the boys were divided in their beliefs of what was their most important priority on the island. Essentially, this made it impossible for anything to be accomplished. With no one working together, no one supporting each other, and no common goals chaos ran free. Golding proves that without purpose there is nothing to unify individuals. Each individual will then decide what is best for them and act accordingly. As can be seen in Lord of the Flies, the consequences of this are almost always disaster.

So what then is the hope for civilizations and society? Or is there any at all? The answer to this is a resounding yes. What Golding ultimately shows through his novel is that mankind left to his own accord will fail; but with purpose it has the power to reach unimaginable heights; and that it is for the opportunity to reach these heights that civilizations exist. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why America has been so successful as a nation. Not because it has always been right in its actions but because its people have always been united in a common goal of freedom and opportunity. Lord of the Flies, if perceived in a more positive sense, fully supports this belief. It does not suggest that civilizations are all doomed to fail. What it does and does well instead is show the consequences of a divided society and a lost civilization.

Lord of the Flies ends with, “Ralph wept for the loss of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of a true wise friend called Piggy (Golding 202).” This line summarizes the entire theme of the novel. However tragic the process may be, the loss of innocence in our society is impossible to avoid. Everyone must at some point realize the true nature of man and make the decision to follow it or live differently. All ideas have consequences, but as Lord of the Flies insinuates from its opening pages, not all must be the results of human nature.

Works Cited

Epstein, E. L. “Notes on Lord of the Flies.” Afterword. Lord of the Flies. By William Golding and E. L. Epstein. New York: Perigee Trade, 2001. 204-04.

Golding, William, and E. L. Epstein. Lord of the Flies. New York: Perigee Trade, 2001. 89-89.

Golding, William, and E. L. Epstein. Lord of the Flies. New York: Perigee Trade, 2001. 202-02.

Phillips, Brian. SparkNote on Lord of the Flies. 7 Sep. 2008 <;.


Entry filed under: High School, Thoughts, Writing.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Maribeth  |  September 16, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    I really hate MLA. Just saying.

  • 2. Katie  |  September 19, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    I loved Lord of the Flies. what’d you think?

  • 3. Danielle  |  September 20, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    It’s ok… I don’t really care for the book, but I do think it presents some interesting thoughts.

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