How and Why Can the Rules of a Civilised Society Break Down?

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Order is lost: Rules and order keep people from their true, violent natures. When order is lost, natural savage instincts cause a decline of civility within a society. Golding highlights how rules maintain civility such as in the line ‘“Because the rules are the only thing we’ve got!” said Ralph.’ Furthermore, in chapter five, we see civilisation deteriorate when the boys are holding a meeting. The conch, which has so far been a symbol of the boys' desire for law and order, takes longer and longer to make the other boys listen, which suggests that civilisation is weak, and savagery is the stronger, overriding instinct. Therefore, Golding explores the fragility of order in a society under stress. He also expresses this through constantly referring to the conch as fragile such as in the line ‘the fragile white conch’, emphasizing that civility can be lost any moment. This is also shown when the conch smashes to pieces, now representing broken civility and chaos. At this point, Piggy also dies. ‘Piggy was dead and the conch smashed to powder’ enforces that Piggy represented the need for science and intellectual endeavour in society so the break of both of these symbols at the same time shows a sudden corruption of civilisation. Loss of hope: The rules that hold together a civilised society can easily break down due lack of hope. Golding’s novel of lord of the Flies explores the complexity of hope in keeping citizens committed to the chosen path. When hope is lost, savagery ensues. Golding portrays this through symbolism. The fire is a symbol of hope that can go out and be rekindled. However; without it there is no chance of survival. This translates into a modern day context meaning that hope is needed to maintain civility. Furthermore, hope is uncontrollable as it can easily run out, leaving people in distress and savage. For example, “hot, bright fire, he
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