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William Golding's Lord of the Flies presents human society and human nature in highly negative and pessimistic terms. Human nature, within the context of this particular story, is incontrovertibly savage. When social and legal controls are removed and humans are left to their own devices, they revert to their animalistic, bestial nature.


Before the Second World War I believed in the perfectibility of social man; that a correct structure of society would produce a good will; and that therefore you could remove all social ills by a reorganization of society (Golding, 1997, 40-41).
Golding (1994) reveals that this optimistic attitude changed after the war, as he 'had discovered what one man could do to another. The conflict between the civilized and the primitive elements that exist in human nature is the problem Golding explores in his novel Lord of the Flies.
The structure of Lord of the Flies is one of a social experiment, in which a group of young boys is marooned on a tropical island. As Hodson (1971) explains, totally without adult supervision, these boys form their own society. The boys quickly form a society consisting of a chief, rules, and a symbol of law and civilization represented by the conch. The boys establish a system of distributing labour, airing their grievances, and conducting democratic elections, all in a fashion modelled after the refined society of their country. However, it is quickly apparent that the rules are not enough, as the leader of the boys, Ralph, discovers that the rules are disobeyed as long as there is no means of enforcement. ...
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