Lord of the Flies: Inconsistency of Morality

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Often times, the human race questions whether humans are born with morals of if they are set upon us by society. Sir William Golding advocates the idea that moral constraints are learned rather than innate, and when removed from societal restraints humans return to a natural sinful state. In Sir William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, he uses the actions of the characters in the novel to demonstrate that with lack of a strongly established society, morality, immorality and amorality will change. After the boys crash on the island, it is apparent that the boys take some time to adjust to their new unsupervised lives. Even without the physical presence of authority, the boys “ . . . still felt the unease of wrong-doing” (Golding 63). As young boys left alone on the island, they still hold onto their idea of a civilised home and morals of right and wrong. The reader’s see more signs of the morals the boys still hold when Roger attempts to mildly torment Henry by throwing rocks at him but finds that his “ . . . his arm was conditioned by a civilization that knew nothing of him . . . ” (Golding 65). The boys struggle to come to terms with the reality of being trapped on the island without any grownups and therefore expect the usual punishments that were expelled upon them during their lives prior to the crash. Another sign of morality was shown when Jack struggles to kill his first pig “ . . . because of the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh . . . ” (Golding 29). When the boys lived in civilization, they were taught that killing and even hurting someone or something was wrong. In this moment the readers witness that Jack’s morals are still in place and he has difficulty dismissing them. The longer the boys are away from civilization, the harder it becomes for them to stay moral. The begin to acknowledge that they are no longer obligated to do

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