Loss of innocence results naturally from one’s increasing contact with the innate evil and savagery within themselves. Without a civilized society’s guiding hand, an individual’s instinctive evil and savagery take over their sense of order. In his novel Lord of the Flies, William Golding uses characters and symbols to demonstrate that the breakdown of civilization leads to inhumanity and savagery, thus showing that chaos thrives in the absence of order.
Hunting can provide meat and satisfy hunger, but on the contrary, it can also kill and take away one’s life wrongfully. At the beginning of the novel, Golding shows how Jack and his hunters hunt to provide meat for everyone and to satisfy Jack’s thirst to hunt. “‘We crept up-.’ ‘The pig squealed-.’… Ralph spoke. ‘You let the fire out.’ Jack checked, vaguely irritated by this irrelevance but too happy to let it worry him.’ ‘We can light the fire again. You should have been with us. Ralph. We had a smashing time.'”(73). In satisfying hunger, the hunters ignore society’s more important tasks such as sustaining the fire. This is significant because from the very first hunt, we can contemplate the emergence of future conflicts. For example, a silent challenge between Jack and Ralph begins from this point. Amid them, hunting becomes a controversial subject. This is because they cannot be engrossed in the fire and hunting at the same time. However, hunting offered short term results that were appreciated by all the boys on the island while the fire offered barely any results.
Already, we can see the negative impacts hunting brings to this society and the way it can eventually break up a civilized society by causing conflicts among its members. Later on, for the boys on the island, hunting no longer remains a means by which to find food, but instead, it becomes a means by which to find and kill the beast. “‘Bollocks to the rules! We’re strong – we hunt! If there’s a beast, we’ll hunt it down! We’ll close in and beat and beat and beat -!'” (99). For many of the boys, hunting seems to be the only solution to end the beast talk. However, Piggy is the only one who does not think so and thus he finds an alternate way of being safe from the beast – by remaining in their part of the island. At this point in the novel, one can see that the majority of the boys no longer care for humane and non-savage ways of resolving their problems but instead, they look to hunting as the only possible solution.
Their circumstances, those without any form of civilization and order, force them to become savage. Since the boys have already excelled at the task of hunting and killing a pig, they no longer feel it that is difficult to do the same to any other form of life, thus showing that they do not deplore the forces of atrocity. Their task of hunting detains them so that they are not even able to pay attention to the more important tasks of survival. Near the end of the novel, Golding shows how hunting is used to find Ralph for the obvious purpose of killing him. “‘They hate you, Ralph. They’re going to do you.’ ‘They’re going to hunt you to-morrow.’…’-and we’ve got to be careful and throw our spears like at a pig.'” (209).
Hunting was once used as something by which to find food and to satisfy hunger, and now it is being used as something that has just one obvious purpose -to kill. By the end of the novel, hunting has disintegrated simply into an aspiration to kill. The way that Ralph will be hunted, like a pig, enumerates the level of inhumanity to which the boys have been reduced to. At this point in the novel, there no longer remains a civilized society, and therefore hunting for Ralph illustrates that inhumanity and chaos increase in the absence of order & civilization. The emblematic implication of hunting is used in this novel, to demonstrate how savagery and sadistically determined behaviour can take over one’s senses when no fetters of society are within reach to discourage it.
In a microcosm of society, one person or character can prominently demonstrate the breakdown of civilization. In the beginning of this novel, Jack is shown as a character who can easily take the role of a leader, whether or not it is for the good of a civilized society. “The group of cloaked boys began to scatter from close line. The tall boy shouted at them. ‘Choir! Stand still!’ Wearily obedient, the choir huddled into line and stood there swaying in the sun.”(16). This event foreshadows Jack’s future role as a leader. At the beginning of the story he is reasonable and worried about his own and the group’s rescue. Nevertheless, when he loses the first election as the boys voted on who will become their leader for their stay on the island, his envy cultivates after being ashamed at the first assembly. From this point on, he has become obsessed with power. As a result, he obtains what he desires, hence being dominated by egoism. He has a strong desire to lead and asserts himself through ability as a hunter -at the end this has disintegrated into a lust for killing.
This is the reason why he is so objective of hunting. Hunting is Jack’s way of imposing his personal will upon a living thing. Jack’s rise to power first begins when the twins’ fear of the beast is orated amongst the other boys. “Jack called them back to the centre. ‘This’ll be a real hunt! Who’ll come?’… ‘And another thing. You can’t have an ordinary hunt because the beast doesn’t leave tracks. If it did you’d have seen them. For all we know, the beast may swing through the trees like what’s its name.’ They nodded.” (109 – 110). Jack uses the younger children’s fear of the beast to become their protector and to assume a role of leadership and power over them. The littluns eventually begin looking up to Jack instead of Ralph. In their minds, if they do what Jack says, the beast cannot get them. Later on, after Simon is killed as the beast, Jack continues to say that the beast is still alive, thus showing that he had used the beast to keep his power as leader of the tribe. In the children’s minds, it became a ritual for them to kill a pig and leave its head as a gift for the beast to keep it happy and away from them. This was Jack’s scheme of promoting hunting, savagery and inhumanity. Later on in the novel, initially unsuccessful, Jack coaxes the other boys into leaving Ralph’s tribe and joining his.
“‘Who thinks Ralph oughtn’t to be chief?’…I’m not going to be a part of Ralph’s lot-.’ … ‘I’m going off by myself. He can catch his own pigs. Anyone who wants to hunt when I do can come too.'”(140). The boys’ tranquillity as Jack asks his questions signify his defeat. He experiences the defeat in his struggle for power as an injustice, a humiliation, and an attack on his human dignity to which he responds with infuriation. Jack decides to form his own society as more and more of the original choir boys begin joining him. His tribe consists mostly of hunters, or in more specific terms – savages. He uses this leadership over his tribe to recover his pride which eventually grows. To reinforce his pride, Jack hides his own image behind a mask. The paint assimilates the group and makes personal identity disappear thus making them stronger as a group who will lead away from civilization and order. By destroying their personal identity they lose their personal responsibility (Magill 827). Little by little, Jack seizes full control of the boys’ minds and ignites in them a lust for killing and sadistic behaviour. Throughout the novel, he leads them farther away from a civilized society and closer towards acts of brutal inhumanity.
In this novel, William Golding uses hunting as a symbol and Jack as a character to demonstrate that the breakdown of civilization leads to inhumanity and savagery, thus showing that chaos thrives in the absence of order. His purpose, through this allegorical novel, was to draw attention to the defects of human nature and how they are reflected in the way society functions. Looking at the world today, one can easily see how a dire leader influences his society and does little for common good. In this case, the author’s message is similar to the true effects of nature. In his novel, Golding implies that between human nature and savagery, the only limitations are the manacles of civilization and order.