Bestiality of the Boys: Youth Violence Essay Example



World War II is the bloodiest and largest war in history and the start of atomic warfare, it began in 1939 and caused many deaths. In the allegorical novel, Lord of the Flies, by William Goulding, a group of young British boys are in a plane wreck and are deserted on an island with no adults. The boys have no discipline and authority until the first leader, Ralph takes charge and uses his power to keep the boys in order. Jack wants to take charge but becomes violent and causes the death of an innocent boy named Simon. After Simon's death the boys descend into savagery and lose all sight of innocence. Although some may argue that the boy’s behavior is based on biological factors, the savage behavior is based on environmental factors as seen through isolation from society, lack of guidance, and adaptation to others.

Isolation from society makes humans lose their identity. In chapter four, Jack explains to Roger that the reason to paint your face is for hunting. He compares painting his face for hunting, to the war which is taking place off the island. In the novel Jack covers his face in paint, the author William Golding states, “He looked in astonishment, no longer at himself but an awesome stranger” (Golding 63). This is the first time that Jack puts paint on his face. He then looks at his reflection and is amazed by what he sees. Jack envisions himself as a different person. This person seems to hold no innocence of youth. When the boys, especially Jack, are wearing the “war paint” they act like barbarians. It is as if the paint conceals their true identities and lets them be free to act violently. With the paint on their faces, and looking like warriors, the boys hunt a pig and go through with killing the animal. The article, “Stanford Prison Experiment,” by Martyn Shuttleworth is a study of the effects that can occur when a human is given a job and they treat their job as a role, instead of using their own judgement and morals.

During this experiment, random individuals are chosen to be prisoners or guards. Throughout the two-week trial, the guards treat the prisoners with brutality because of the authority they possess. The unrestricted behavior of the guards exaggerates an issue in, “Stanford Prison Experiment,” as the author explains, “without stricter controls this experiment would not be sanctioned today; it could pose a genuine risk to people disposed towards mental and emotional imbalances” (Shuttleworth). In the experiment the prisoners were showing signs of emotional distress given the amount of control the guards possessed. When the guards are dressed up in their uniforms and given authority, they behave the way they think they should.

The guards begin to cause mental and emotional imbalances to the prisoners because their individual identities are being infested with brutality. It is clear that young boys don’t follow rules and don’t have clear judgement, still the facts state the environment they grow in affects their judgement and morals. The isolation from the boys and guard’s regular society into an unfriendly society pushes them to have a more spiteful identity and show a decrease of rules and morals because they are unfamiliar and not comfortable.

Without guidance rules, order, and authority become unattainable. As chapter five concludes, Simon reminds everyone that they aren’t acting like adults. He believes that the boys need grownups to help them because they know how to deal with situations better than young boys. Simon desperately cries out, “We’re all drifting, and things are going rotten. At home there was always a grownup” (Golding 94). Simon notices that they are all drifting and there are going to be more problems without guidance. He knows that they need a leader to hold authority. The boys called a meeting and Ralph tried to create more rules and establish more control. Jack brought up the beastie and the boys became chaotic from fear. At this point Jack tries to take control by instilling fear into the littluns and leaves Ralph and Piggy. Jack shows his first signs of being savage.

The article, “Not Your Average Summer Camp” by Marisa Brook is about two groups, each of eleven fifth grade boys that have never met before. They are taken to a camp and observed on how the individuals create relationships. The boys are brought together based on shared goals. As the groups intermix and play competitive games, there is an uprise because of the different views. The groups go at it with each other and cause conflict within the camp. When they are taken away from competitive games they come together and become friends. During the competitive games, the author mentions, “They threatened to fight members of the opposing team. The Eagles snuck into the Rattler’s camp, stole their flag and burned it” (Brook). The two groups are very aggressive towards each other. At the camp there is no direction or influence and it allows the boys to become savage by stealing, burning, and invading each other’s camp sites. 

With leadership and grownups, these issues would not have been relevant. It is true that young boys are immature and aggressive however, no matter the situation, guidance is always necessary to keep order and have the boys stay sane. The boys from the Lord of the Flies, and the article “Not Your Average Summer Camp” become violent because there is no supervision, and no one takes charge. They quickly turned to forceful actions against each other because they had no control over their situations. The lack of guidance caused them to act ruthless towards each other. 

When individuals adapt to each other they begin to take on similar roles and everyone begins to lose a part of their identity. At the end of the novel, Piggy is crushed and killed by a boulder that rolls at him as Roger pushes it. Ralph is now all alone and against everyone left on the island. He is hiding from Jack in the thicket and under the smoke from the fire that Jack set to the forest. Ralph takes his last chance to escape, the author describes, “Ralph launched himself like a cat, stabbed, snarling, with the spear, and the savage doubled up” (Golding 195). Just as Ralph thinks that he is going to overcome the savagery and brutality of Jack and his tribe, he comes out of the thicket with full barbarity. He knows that Jack will kill him, so he must fight back. 

Even though Ralph was not violent throughout the novel, when it comes to survival, he matches his opponent’s ruthlessness. The article, “Stanford Prison Experiment” by Martyn Shuttleworth mentions how the guards in the prison behave how they think they should, instead of using their own judgement and morals. The article mentions, “dehumanization and loosening of social and moral values that can happen to the guards immersed in such a situation” (Shuttleworth). The guards are affected the most because of their high authority. They’re guards that act with cruelty and the other guards would adapt to their actions. They do what they think they must do based on the other guards. The unpleasant guards made pleasant guards savage because of adaptation to the society. Admittedly there is savagery instilled in an individual, but the savagery takes the influence of the people around, to deepen the wicked side to an individual. Based on Ralph’s actions after he is influenced by Jack’s cruel actions, Ralph can be dehumanized just like the guards become after they adapt to be like the individuals they are surrounded by.

The savage behavior shown in The Lord of the Flies, is based on the environmental factors such as isolation from society, lack of guidance, and adaptation to others. The isolation from society expresses that when individuals are taken away from society, they have a fog of judgement and morals. Instead they take on roles of what they believe they should do which makes them uncivilized. Lack of guidance triggers the boys to become chaotic and evil towards each other. Adaption to others and the society causes nonviolent people to follow a leader that is violent which makes them become savage. Some may still argue that the boy’s behavior is based on biological factors because they are young, immature, and everyone has a savage side, but the environment that the boys are in affects the way they think and act. Environmental factors have the actual effect on the boy’s behavior because it brings out the worst in them.