The De-evolution from Civilization to Savagery


As fear and stress begin to affect the boys, Ralph’s use of reason diminishes. Jack begins to manipulate the boys’ fear of the beast to gain power, destroying the ties of society and order that existed before. At first, Ralph’s emphasis on civilization and rules maintains order within the boys until primordial instincts awaken and they turn to savagery. The descent to savagery spawns the violence and terror within the boys that Jack manages to manipulate to his advantage. Jack claims that he has “been all over [the] island.... If there [was] a beast [he’d] have seen it”, yet later he begins to stress the need to kill the beast that he does not believe in. (83) The reader now sees that Jack is using this as an excuse for his own bloodlust and does not care about the safety of the group. By exerting the need to destroy the beast, Jack indirectly shifts the group’s trust towards himself. The boys no longer feel safe with the rules that Ralph has enforced. Jack’s method of violence and savagery is more appealing to them in their state of fear. This creates the tension that destroys the ties between rationality and savagery. The boy’s “understandable and lawful world… was slipping away.” (91) The primal awakening of violence and the increasing presence of fear catalyzes the boys evolution towards more savage actions.

Ch 5: "Beast from Water" & Ch 6: "Beast from Air" small group mini-essay paragraph writing challenge (in lieu of the typical in-class essay):

Link: original quotations and assignment

Links to the specific student responses