Lord Of The Flies Atavism

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Human nature is an easily debatable topic. There are many reasons on both sides that can drastically argue how humans are in a natural state. Throughout history, humans have shown great examples of civility and atavism, often with drastic consequences. One example of literature that talks about the nature of human beings is William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. In the novel, a group of British boys slowly transitioned into atavistic being stranded on an island for an extended amount of time. By the end of the novel, the boys’ atavism resulted in three deaths, massive damage to the island, and the loss of sense of who the boys really are. Golding argues that most humans are naturally atavistic, savages, and primitives and that time spent away…show more content…
Golding’s symbol of sadism, Roger, represents an excellent example of how atavistic humans have the ability to hurt and sometimes kill a person. In the early chapters of the novel, Roger is seen as a sadistic and cruel boy, like attempting to hit a boy with rocks and brutally assaulting a dead pig. However, Roger’s best example of atavism is shown when he throws a boulder down to kill Piggy. When Piggy tries to reason with Jack’s tribe about the importance of being rescued, Roger uses his weight to push a boulder down. The boulder struck Piggy, killing him instantly. Golding wrote, “The storm of sound beat at them, an incantation of hatred. High overhead, Roger, with a sense of delirious abandonment, leaned all his weight on the lever […] Then the monstrous red thing bounded across the neck […] while the tribe shrieked” (180-181). Roger’s extreme and sadistic murder of Piggy clearly shows how atavistic men can be wicked and deceitful. Roger’s act shows the clear anarchy atavism and savagery bring to society and the world. Roger clearly knew that his action would kill Piggy and end any sense of intelligence on the island. However, he wanted Piggy dead, and also wanted to have fun doing it. This action is illegal under civility and civilization. Roger’s decision to murder Piggy had drastic consequences for the fight for civility. It also shows that atavism has no…show more content…
Although Ralph is Golding’s symbol of civility, he does get the urge to become atavistic and desires to be part of a tribe with no rules and complete fun. In Chapter Seven, Ralph witnessed Jack and his hunters trying to hunt the pig. They then reenact the scene for amusement and overall happiness. When Robert, one of the hunters, decided to play the pig, Jack and the other hunters circled Robert and danced, almost killing Robert in the process. Although Ralph knew that this was just fun and games, he was eager to take part in the reenactment. Golding wrote, “Ralph too was fighting to get near, to get a handful of that brown, vulnerable flesh. The desire to squeeze and hurt was over-mastering” (114-115). Ralph’s personality does not match Jack’s atavistic personality. However, Ralph, along with Jack and the other boys have spent many days on the island. When people are separated from civilization, their urge to become savage and atavistic reawakens and tries to remove the civility people are accustomed to. Ralph’s civility is still intact when he witnesses the reenactment. However, Ralph had never gotten a taste of what atavism is really like. Once Ralph sees how exciting hunting for pigs can be, his atavism had awakened from its sleep. As a result, Ralph desires started to emerge, yearning to take part in all the

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