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The conflicts of “Lord of The Flies” by William Golding

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All Stories contain conflict. Lord of the Flies is no exception. By examining the three types of conflict found in the novel, (person vs person, person vs self and person vs society/environment, we can see how Golding’s use of conflict strengthens the work as a whole.

Piggy and Jack have always disagreed and stayed true to the political groups they relate to in that way. All throughout the novel Jack is always the first and most forward to oppose Piggy’s civilized nature. On page seventeen one of the first real shows of conflict between Jack and Piggy happens when Jack cuts off Piggy in mid-sentence to say ” You’re talking too much, shut up fatty.” Once again this conflict is shown through Piggy when on page seventy-four he shouts at Jack “You and your blood Jack Merridew! You and your hunting! We might have gone home!”. Jack had left the signal fire to go out and went hunting with the rest of the boys. A democrat and an anarchist will never fully get along and throughout the novel avoid working with each other.

The main person against himself in the novel would have to be Simon, although only in the later chapters. Simon has seizures and these combined with the harsh environment lead up to a delirious conflict with his twisted subconscious in the form of a pig’s head on a stick on page one-hundred-fifty-one, the Lord of the Flies. The head taunts Simon, playing at his emotional weaknesses and telling him to run along and play with the other boys. Simon gets a grip and manages to make a run for it in the jungle to face the beast. Simon had won the battle with his subconscious that held him against his will, but came to an unfortunate end at the hands of his own people, the boys.

Piggy may represent civilization, but the society of the boys is too harsh and primitive for him. He always tries to uphold civility and logic, yet his pudgy build and whiny demeanor label him an outcast to be ignored and disliked. On page seventeen he tries to get a few words of input with the boys and finds that drawing too much attention to himself results in a barrage of names and derisive laughter. Piggy does his best to make himself heard despite these things, but the crumbling society of the boys will never accept something so easily exploited. Society has a way of singling out individuals, mainly those who look or act different. Piggy is one of those people, he looks different and unlike the majority of the boys he dares to think different.

Piggy opposing Jack and society and Simon opposing himself are only three of the more blatant conflicts in Lord of the Flies. Jack and Ralph obviously oppose each other and Ralph and his subconscious have problems too. What Golding wants to illustrate with these characters and conflicts is that political groups, especially extremists like anarchists and fascists, hardly ever work together and have ranging concepts of good and evil.

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