Describe the beginning and ending of the text. Explain how the beginning and ending were connected.
The beach setting on the island connects the beginning and end of the novel, Lord of the Flies. The author, William Golding utilises the beginning and ending to draw attention to the key idea of civilisation versus savagery. When the boys crash land on the island they keep to their civilisation influenced beliefs, however towards the end they begin to return to their primal instincts of savagery. This proves that the morals of civilisation can only be ingrained into society so deep and that once the rules and structure of society are gone, humans will look towards their animal-like instincts and begin to act in these ways.
The boys believe the island is paradise when they first land. ‘The shore was fledged with palm trees.’ This indicates that the boys believe the island is a tropical location where they could go on holiday, meaning they think they can have fun, play on the beach and not worry about anything. Additionally, the boys are still influenced by society. They want to use the conch which is a loud shell to have power and control so they can act in a civilised way. Ralph and Piggy play the conch and it ‘boomed under the palms,’ and as a result ‘A child had appeared’ this demonstrates that the children are still drawn to an ordered society. The conch brings power like a megaphone. They are drawn to power as it reminds them of their normal lives. A significant aspect is the thoughts of the boys. They begin with thoughts such as ‘” We’ll have rules!”’ They want their island society to have the same rules and expectations as their society in London. Perhaps Golding is trying to suggest that all humans have the desire for rules. Although people do not always like it, they prefer a society where they are told what they can and cannot do because it means they do not have to worry about overstepping boundaries. When society is free the desire to do what cannot usually be done is overwhelming causing drastic actions and utmost evil.
The boys’ actions prove that their society is no longer based on civilisation towards the conclusion of the novel. Golding refers to the boys as ‘the savages’ because they have lost all sense of civilisation, they are drawn to do bad things, ‘the desire to squeeze and hurt was overmastering’. The boys want to kill. It began with killing animals but because there were no adults to enforce rules, they began to kill people too. ‘Piggy was gone.’ Since society was dissolving around them, there were no consequences for their actions. In London, if they killed someone they would have been sent to prison or juvenile detention. However, on the island, there is no legal system, if you want to kill you can kill there are no consequences. This resulted in the boys being drawn to savagery because similarly to a child you are drawn to the things you cannot do. When somebody says not to touch something, the first thing you want to do is touch it. This happened to the boys. The things they could not do in London were suddenly so appealing because they could do them on the island. Perhaps, Golding is suggesting that as individuals we have the desire to do bad things and see what will happen, the difference is that people have different boundaries. Some people will be drawn earlier to evil whereas some will take more persuasion.
The beginning and ending both connect to the key idea in the book of civilisation versus savagery. The commencement of the novel has the influence of civilisation from the boys. They have not yet been drawn to savagery as they have spent so long in civilisation and are accustomed to the rules. They want to do things adults in society can do, ‘”Let’s have a vote.”’ In contrast in the conclusion of the novel the boys have gone past their civilised morals and are drawn to savagery, they are described as ‘ape-like’ proving they are going back to their primal instincts. The idea of civilisation versus savagery is prevalent in today’s society. Majority of society want to act in a civilised way, to do what is right and abide by the law. However, there will always be a fraction of the population who like the boys on the island are drawn to do the things they are not allowed to do. However, the important thing is the people who stay true to their morals. Not everybody in society is purely good and it will always be like that. However, as individuals, we should have the desire to remain true with our morals and beliefs like the boys at the beginning of the novel rather than changing to become the people we do not want to see in society such as those who kill and harm for fun.
Although the beginning and end are not the same they share similar messages. They both connect to Golding’s key message of civilisation versus society. The boys’ growth and development into savages is shown through the beginning and end. In the beginning, they are civilised humans with the desire for good and order. However, by the end, they have returned to their primal instincts and have the desire to hurt and kill. Perhaps what Golding is trying to tell the viewer is that we will always have the desire to do bad things for example small actions such as stealing a cookie when we are not supposed to. However, it has to be us as individuals to draw the line as to what we will and will not do. It can only be us who control our actions and limitation. Individuals have to decide on their own how far they will go towards savage actions. Every individual has the potential to do good and do bad and it is in their actions that decide who they will become.