Lord of the flies is a novel written by William Golding taking place during World War Two.
A group of boys’ plane crashes on an island where they begin to experience total isolation causing them to lose touch of acceptable behavior. The boys behavior proves that society has an influence on the way people behave. As Roger realizes there are no consequences to breaking society’s rules on the island, he becomes he becomes increasingly corrupt, and eventually turns fully into a savage. Roger is a representation of the idea that individuals, when not constrained by society, resort to savage and primal instincts.In the beginning of the novel the boys were still conditioned by a civilization.
After Roger was relieved from tending to the signal fire he goes down to the beach and ruins the littluns’ sandcastle. He then proceeds to follow one of the littluns, Henry, and “gathered a handful of stones and began to throw them. Yet there was a space round Henry, perhaps six yards in diameter, into which he dare not throw. Here, invisible yet strong, was the taboo of the old life. Round the squatting child was the protection of parents and school and policemen and the law.” (Golding 67).
Roger has bullying tendencies but he knows that consequences exist so he chooses not to harm Henry by hitting him with the stones. Even though there are no authority figures physically on the island Roger still does what they would tell him to do. The boys must eventually form their own civilization and the society they were conditioned to will play a role in the creation of the new society. After conflict has caused the boys to split into separate tribes savagery begins to hit.
Ralph and the few who were still with him are unsuccessful lighting the signal fire without Piggy’s glasses, which Jack’s tribe has. Jack and Ralph get into a face off and Piggy is trying to remind everyone of the purpose of them coming, to get the glasses. Roger was above watching this all happen, “Someone was throwing stones: Roger was dropping them, his one hand still on the lever. Below him, Ralph was a shock of hair and Piggy a bag of fat.” (Golding 208). When Golding addresses Ralph and Piggy as below Roger that is literally and figuratively, figuratively Roger is seeing Ralph as just hair and Piggy as fat. This is to dehumanize them making it okay for Roger to kill them.
“High overhead, Roger, with a sense of delirious abandonment, leaned all this weight on the lever.” (Golding 209), with all the intense fighting Roger lost all self control and pushed the lever which released the rock killing Piggy. In that moment Roger becomes full savage and knows that he will face no consequences for his actions.
As the rock strikes Piggy the conch, which represents civilization, is shattered; when Roger goes savage all civilization on the island is lost. This goes to show that when not constrained by society individuals turn into savages. If individuals are left alone with no social norm and a chance of death they will do whatever it takes to save themself even if that means going savage. An example of this is The Hunger Games, in the novel Katniss is isolated with a group of people and told that she must kill them in order to survive. In the beginning she is hesitant to commit savage acts as she still has the ideals of someone who lives in a society where consequences are present.
As time goes on she realizes that this is what she needs to do and begins to resort to primal instincts, similar to how when Roger in Lord of the flies eventually loses contact with his civil self and goes savage and kills Piggy. Savage and primal instincts are brought out after lots of time of being without social normalities.