When you strip human nature of its childlike wonder and curiosity, you’re left with a deep-rooted fear of the unknown. Such a shell is harder to crack because its physicality is terrifying to look at. But inside, it’s hollow and eager to please. This kind of self-consciousness fears not only death but life itself. And this is what forms the core of Golding’s Lord of the Flies.
If there is a war instinct, if gravity pulls desire, greed, and power to its core to pound humanity into committing unimaginable atrocities then, a book like Lord of the Flies boils the horror down to its inception.
Why is primal human instinct overrun with violence and fragmented ideas of authority? William Golding is a genius for concocting a story that doesn’t shy away from its primitive elements. The island is as transparent an environment for a child to get lost in. It’s the perfect setting that nullifies civilization, and in doing so, characterizes its powerful hypocrisy over humans. The biting truth, above it all, is what appears once you get to know the boys and how they survive on the island.
The island is nothing but a pecking order that commands over each of its participants. You receive this social hierarchy from the beginning of the story.
Ralph, the white, blonde-haired boy who establishes himself as the natural leader of the pack. Even though he reads like a naïve, forgetful, and flustered character.
Piggy, the asthmatic, obese boy, whose physical shortcomings only amplify his intelligence and understanding of morality.
Jack, the antagonist, who eventually manipulates the minds of the boys who would rather follow a commanding figure than a conscientious one… just so long as they’re on the winning side.
Lastly, there’s Simon who is better characterized and understood by this quote, “Maybe there is a beast… maybe it’s only us.”
And it’s from this story that you truly understand that winning is not synonymous with virtue or a conscience. Its strength is in the pursuer, the power that brings down a civilization for the sake of its inevitable demise.