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Primal Instinct Essay, Research Paper

In the Lord of the Flies William Golding has a group of schoolboys crash on an

island and become barbaric. The reason why the boys turn wild is because of their

primal instinct to hurt others. This behavior is inherited from early ancestors killing to

stay alive. Mans tendency towards violence, how people take sides and divide into

groups, and the struggle for power are three ways mans behavior will generally occur.

Each of these suggests that violence is a key factor to getting what they want.

Mans primal instinct towards violence really shows when they are living without

rules or realize that there are no authority figures to enforce any rules. Without having

consequences for any actions that might be taken then they primal instinct of the boys

begins to take over. Even though the fact of no punishments may be known in the back

of ones mind there is still the thought of what?s right. ?Roger stooped, picked up a stone,

aimed, and threw it at Henry and back again.? (Page 67) This is an example of how

Roger knows it is wrong to hit someone with a rock but also knows that there are no

punishments for anything. ?The madness came into his eyes again. ?I thought I might

kill.?? (Page 55) This is showing how he lets his primal side take over his thoughts when

he is hunting. He forgets about everything he had ever been told about what?s right

because of his primal instinct to kill. He had an urge to hunt, his instincts were teaching

him how. Even thought he really did now know how to hunt mans primal instincts helped

him learn quickly.

How people take sides and form groups shows how majority rules. The majority

that rules needs a leader. This leader has to hold the rules but when the children?s primal

instincts take over the control is lost but the majority still rules. ?Let him be the chief

with the trumpet thing.? (Page 24) This quote shows how all of the children are agreeing

on this. Once one mentions it, the rest agree. If there is not anyone brave enough to

mention something then no one will because they are all afraid that no one else will agree

with them. ?Who thinks Ralph oughtn?t be chief?? ? ?he looked expectantly at the boys

ranged round, who had frozen.?(Page 140) This particular quote shows that. Everyone

really wanted Jack to be chief but each of them were afraid that no one else felt the same

way. They tend to group together when they make fun of someone or something funny is

said. ? ?He?s not fatty,? cried Ralph, ?his real name?s Piggy!? ?Piggy!? ?Piggy!? ?Oh

Piggy!? A storm of laughter arose and even the tinniest child joined in. For the moment

the boys were a closed circuit of sympathy with Piggy outside:? (page 23) As long as

what someone has started seems mildly amusing everyone will join in. It takes one

person to start something and after that everyone will join in.

There is a major struggle for power, their desperate attempts for this power brings

them to their primal instinct to hurt others. They wish to control and in the process of

being there will do anything they can. Also to stay there they will make the others fear

them. Before the primal instincts start to show they listen very well. ?Ralph smiled and

held up the conch for silence? (page 25) All of the children are quite content and listen

quite well. Jack, as a leader takes as he pleases and does not think rationally and uses his

power to become the most powerful, he wants everything. ?We?ll raid them and take

fire.? (Page 150) He wants everything that he can possibly get to be the most powerful.

Jack was applying pain and fear to keep his power. ??they made us. They hurt us— ?

(page 207) Jack uses violence in his struggle for power and eventually achieves his goal.

The rules are eventually enforced because they become afraid of what might happen if

they do not listen.

The behavior that was inherited from early ancestors killing to stay alive is what

message Golding managed to get across. The desperate struggle for power brought in

killing to bring fear among the rest of the children so that he was the leader. As long as

he had all the children afraid to leave him then he had the majority of them because not

one of them was going to get up and risk there life because they did not like him.

Golding is saying that without authority to enforce rules mans primal instincts will begin

to take over.


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