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Although scholars have often debated about the thematic elements in William Golding's classic book, Lord of the Flies, it cannot be disputed that he unfolds the sinful nature of man. This is evident in the book through the Continual arrogance that Jack has through out the book, the sense of power that the boys feel when they have power over other living things on the island and the evil perpetrated by the "good" characters as well as the "evil" ones. These and other facts make it obvious that the sinful nature is the theme of this novel that Golding wanted to express.
One can see that the novel Lord of the flies is about the sinful nature of man through how savage Jack becomes. It's obvious that Jack was already self-centered and arrogant when they first got on the island, much like the selfish characters in "The Golden Kite, The Silver Wind"; However unlike that story, Jack never becomes selfless. This is best seen when the boys are trying to decide who should be the chief of the tribe. "'I ought to be chief,' said Jack with simple arrogance"(Golding 22) Another time that we see what Jack is like on the inside is right after they decide to climb the mountain and Piggy wants to go too. "You're no good on a job like thisâ€¦We don't want you"(Golding 24) Also, after the boys have split and there are only a few in on group and the frest in the other, Jack's tribe steals Piggy's glasses from the smaller group; "in his left hand dangled Pigg's broken glasses." These glasses, however, are a symbol of power, not just to the reader, but to the characters as well; whoever has the glasses had the fire. The glasses are also very special to Piggy because without them he can't see, yet they were taken from him. This is much like in the short story "Liberty" how the young girl's dog was taken from her. These are just some of the examples of Jack's inner self, Jacks sinful nature.
The second main reason that Golding's theme for Lord of the Flies is about man's sinful nature and how horrible it is, is how just like sin. At first the boys seem fine and peaceful however as time goes on their opinions and their ways of thinking change a lot. When they had just crashed on the island they were content and had rules that made sense. When Jack first killed the first pig he felt slightly bad about it. This is the most obvious right after they had killed the first pig and Jack proudly announces that he was the one who cut the throat; but what he says right after this statement lets us know he was still unsure about it: "And yet [he] twitched as he said it" (Golding 69). The excitement of having control over a living thing made him want more and more until it consumed him. "We want meat," (Golding 51) is a phrase that Jack constantly says along with "we need meat" (Golding 51) Jack is also says "if only I could kill a pig!"(Golding 55) Jack even goes so far as to say "Bollocks to the rules! We're strong, we hunt!" (Golding 51).Yet, even though Jack says he wants to get meat for the tribe, and at first that might be his only motive, later it is obvious that all Jack wants to do is hunt and kill.
The third reason that this book's theme is humankind's sinful nature is that even though Jack is the main person who becomes more and more like a savage without any rules or laws. All of the boys, apart from Simon, do enjoy having power over another living thing. Not just having the power but using the power even when it is on another human. Roger, one of the older boys, also enjoys this power over others. Even though Roger was not killing anything (yet) he showed his power by kicking over the "littluns" sand castles and then by flinging sand at them making them cry. All the other hunters also helped kill the pigs and even the "littluns" enjoy having this power over other living creatures. "This was fascinating to Henryâ€¦He became absorbed beyond mere happiness as he felt himself exercising control over living things."(Golding 61) Even Ralph enjoyed this feeling after he had hit the boar with the spear "'I hit him! The spear even stuck in a bit!' â€¦Ralph talked on excitedly" (Golding 133) showing that even the "good" people have a sinful nature. Also, another way we see that they all had sin nature (including Piggy) was that all of the boys, the littluns too, helped kill Simon in their fear. This is pointed out clearly when the book says, "Piggy and Ralphâ€¦found themselves eager to take a place in this demented but partly secure society." and "even the littluns ran and jumped on the outside of the circle." (Golding 173)
These reasons all point to the same thing; the sinful nature of man. It is because of the fact that the boys were sinful before they had even been on the island more than a few hours. Another fact about this is the boys' eagerness to control others grew the more they did it (much like sin). Another fact about the book that makes the theme the sin nature of man is that they all participated in the sinful acts that happened on the island. Because of these reasons, among others, it is obvious that the theme for Lord of the Flies could be nothing other than the sinful nature of mankind.
Bibliography: Lord of the Flies, William Golding
The Silver Wind, The Golden Kite,