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Discussion in 'Fiction Books' started by Lokeo13, Jul 1, 2003.
I'm near the end but I haven't finished it yet, damn telivision ha ha ha ha
That's interesting to link it to that murder. I used to wonder how a child could do something so horrific, but reading Lord of the Flies does give you another perspective I suppose.
Couldn't you argue that the reason the children in the novel reverted to animal instincts is because they were in fact kids - they hadn't become ingrained with the values and morals of society as say, an adult who had had a job and family, as well as some experience of power and responsibility.
If the story were about a bunch of adults living stranded on an island, do you think the story would pan out the same way? I don't think it would. I think as you grow older, you learn behaviour (both conditionally and operantly) that is deemed acceptable for society, and it is difficult to regress to an animal instinct once such behaviours are learnt.
Then again, maybe people will do terrible things if their circumstances change. Do we carry out our responsibilities simply because we've been taught it's the right thing to do, or because we care about our fellow human being? If the countries were stripped of all laws tomorrow, would the crime rate increase, or would people look out for each other more so than they do at the moment? Is the law the only thing that stops us turning into predators? Personally, I don't think so.
On this dismal question I'll offer the contrary dismal view. I think (actually, believe) that people have within themselves the capability for evil, as well as the capability for good. And not just some people but, in a way, all people. I think that the competitive urge for survival from our earliest days as a race is still not extinct from our genes. And it shows in many ways short of murder, day in day out. Society knows that too, I think, in having laws uniformly applied to all of us, to prevent the formation of mobs of "good" people taking justice into their own hands. The Church calls it Original Sin, and nowadays dwindling numbers of people believe the Doctrine, but that doesn't alter the argument too much. I think the Doctrine is an attempted explanation of an obvious fact -- the we, all of us, can and frequently do act against our better selves. And will do so, in the absence of moral or legal restraint.
End of sermon, but I believe the observational evidence is there to support the view.
I agree with you that everyone has the capacity for good and evil, but then I don't think there is such a thing as good and evil. I think we just adapt to our circumstances and do what we must to survive.
Regarding what you said about the urge of survival being in our genes, I guess this comes down to the famous nature vs nurture argument. I think if you live in society long enough, you become conditioned to certain behaviours and that overrides our genetic influence.
I think the laws that we have are only for a minority of people. I would like to think that most people would not go out and commit murder if it became legal tomorrow, because we have become conditioned as young children that it is wrong to do. We have also taught to become empathetic, and a lot of us couldn't dream of doing anything to hurt the other person.
Then again, I guess living without food or water can have a big impact on our behaviour. There are plenty of examples in history showing ordinary people doing horrific things. Maybe if the book were talking about adults instead of kids, the story would still turn out the same. But I think it would take much longer before any of those behaviours started to show.
That really branches off into philosophical areas where I have no reply.
Haha, I have no philosophical knowledge, it's just the type of thing I sometimes wonder to myself.
I think Lord of the Flies brings up some thought-provoking questions, and there's almost an uneasy feeling when thinking about how kids brought up in society can change so rapidly if you tweak their surroundings. It kind of emphasises that our personalities aren't set in stone - someone who is kind and generous could transform into a loathsome villain under the right conditions.
(Bolding above, mine.)
I think in response to the bolded portion of your post I'd have to say that people don't truly change, not the basic person. It seems to me that a person can become what he truly is underneath their facade/exterior, leaving said exterior behind in the dust, the true person emerging and dealing with whatever crisis has come up. Can they come back from that?, well, perhaps. At least to the extent of being able to function in civilized society.
There are some people that are truly incapable of turning into the sort of loathsome villain type of person (kid or not) in the book. Those would perish in that event.
I read the book yesterday afternoon. I think it's written for boys around 12years old.
I don't really think the transformation would have been as quickly acheived as it is in the book.
I agree with you, the book is not for adults, nor would adults behave in the same way.
Without laws we would descend into savages, man as an animal is basically flawed, as anyone in the armed service will tell you.
Unlike a lot of American movies that use the journey as the theme of development Heart of Darkness is NOT about the physical journey. For 2 reasons. 1 it is a circular book. Marlow is narrating unreliably. He is shown in the text to be telling tales. At the end for instance he lies to the bereaved girlfriend of Kurtz. 2ndly - Conrad was not in the Congo very long due to illness. The novel is not pro-colonial. It is not even racist. I have lectured on it in 3 countries. Having lectured on Conrad in Poland by invite - oh, where to start. Gloomy is how he saw colonialism. Conrad was Polish by birth. His parents captured by Imperial Russia. He was a notorious gambler and even tried shooting himself (unsuccessfully in France). His uncle bailed him out. Now, is Achebe right re racism? in a word - NO. Conrad is very sneakily counter-colonial. Why? Roast dog meat. Read it in his non-fiction and fiction works. "Dog in a parody of breeches" points to this that troubled him from childhood. Why? His great uncle Bobrowski ate dog in Lithuania while retreating from the Russians with the French. You will find the same image in Lord Jim. Conrad was told that story aged 5. It haunted him throughout childhood. So no wonder it appears in 3 different areas of his works. Look at A Personal Record for starters. His version of his life. having fled France to come to UK to avoid being sent back to Poland and then Russia, even books like The Secret Agent are telling. Ossipon (the Russian) an anagram of Poisons. Conrad tells a story but has many facets. In HOD (Heart of Darkness)the cannibals are paid with wire. They do not eat the hippo meat. It has gone off. Conrad is pointing the finger at the colonialists of which he is one. But he is merely trying to avoid the Russians in Shanghai and Africa etc. After all they essentially killed his parents. Now look through Heart of Darkness and find the image of cat in comparison in relation to the arrows of the tribal people. Conrad uses this comparison between those who would harm dogs and those who could not even hurt a cat to staple his opinion to the text.
Very interesting. Some good information there. Thanks for sharing.
The Lord of the Flies really is as brilliant as it is touted. It explores how “civilization” can completely devolve with mob-rule. The story can act as metaphor for so much in the world today, from world politics to simple internet etiquette. Give it a chance. And in the end, ask yourself how you would react in that situation. If you are truly honest with yourself, you might not like the answer.
I remember reading and watching the movie in my english class in school...many years ago now! I quite liked the book and movie, it was very well written and it was a pretty easy read if I remember.
Been YEARS since I read it, one worthy of a re-read for sure!.
My father was an English teacher and used Lord of the Flies every year in eighth grade, as a way of getting his students to truly understand and love literature. He diagrammed the whole thing out like a madman -- his office looked like A Beautiful Mind with pages tapes everywhere and connections circled and analyzed. He found it worked so, so much better than the other books he was asked to teach at the time (e.g., A Separate Peace).
A Separate Peace, I'll need to give that a go.
That is a great book! Beautiful description. You have to look at the deeper meaning of the story about human isolation, our need for order and authority, and so on.
Lord of the flies is a look at how people seem to always start with the differences in each other rather than start with our similarities. The human need to always have some form of "Us" and "Them". We see it in the form of countries, religions, even sports teams. The truly saddest part is that you never find out Piggy's real name.
check out my new post | The Film Burrow |
'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' Nothing to do with this thread kid.
The Lord of the Flies is a great book I read a few years ago. It made me realize a side of the humans I didn't really wanted to see.. As they call it in french philosophy " l'Etat de nature", that turns us into pittyless creatures, fighting for survival and power. This "primary state " is paradoxically reprensenting society : Indeed, being in a society keeps us safer in a certain way ( from physically power abuses) but is actually turning us into vulnérable creatures.
Do you have any other suggestions?
Separate names with a comma.