Thursday, October 16, 2008


According to Mr. Golding, is evil intrinsic or extrinsic to humans? Explain with examples from the book.


Sergio said...

According to Mr. Golding, evil is intrinsic to human beings. That means that evil is an instinct to humans, a part of them. No matter how many people deny that fact, it is suppressed inside of humans and will come out in extreme situations or after traumatic experiences as a self-defense mechanism. However, what is evil? What defines evil? What can we compare evil to? Evil, to some people, are the acts that are against a certain religion, culture, society, etc. Many times, evil is personified, and the most common evil known today that is personified is Satan, also known as Lucifer or the Devil.

But evil isn’t something personified, if not, it is human nature. In “The Lord of the Flies”, all the boys are stuck on the island and are all in the same situation. However, the boys enjoy mocking Piggy because he is physically inferior. In the human mind, placing someone below themselves increases their self-confidence so that they feel superior and better about themselves. In many cases this appears in bullying. There are examples such as, “’You’re taking too much,’ said Jack Merridew. ‘Shut up, Fatty.’ Laughter arose. ‘He’s not Fatty,’ cried Ralph, ‘his real name’s Piggy!’… a storm of laughter arose…” and “’His specs – use them as burning glasses!’ Piggy was surrounded before he could back away. ‘Here – let me go!’… ‘My specs!’ howled Piggy. ‘Give me my specs!’” In both these instances, the boys took advantage of his physical disadvantage due to his asthma and mocking him for his body image.

Evil could also be portrayed as self-preservation and survival. Although Simon’s death is a blur and is hard to comprehend, the boys attacked Simon, thinking that he was the beast. They could have been carried away by the game and simply attacked him for pleasure. Anyhow, isn’t murder considered evil? If this isn’t murder, what is this? And is this terrible act, or so to speak, evil?

Mr. Golding is saying that evil is intrinsic, but since human society thinks that they are so civilized, humans think that evil is extrinsic. But under the right circumstances, survival and self-preservation surface, something that “civilized humans” consider as savage, barbaric, and evil.

Armando said...

I agree very much, almost completely, to what Sergio said. I consider his comment to be transcendental, of higher intellect,and it is very similar to what I had in mind.
Getting more into depth with what he asked, "what is evil", the concept of good and evil is relative, and is what archaic religions and societies came up with to keep things under control, to enslave minds in a cynical point of view. Jewish and Christian morals saw Nordic people as evil, because for them, killing was good, and dying in battle the highest glory one could achieve.
Going back to topic, according to Mr. Golding, what societies and religions call evil is intrinsic to humans, it lies withing all of us. But, the common humans will continue to ignore this idea.

Suz said...

The way i look at it Golding think evil is extrinisic, or intrinisic.
The entire book is an example really. If you look at the beggining of the book you see how Ralph and Piggy are quite innocent, as oppose to Roger who seems to harbr a dark side.
In the end Ralph too becomes evil ina sense that he is more savage, and Piggy remains quite uneffected. Roger on the other hand becomes MORE evil, he had always been a little evil to me.
So it can be from inside (the whole exchromozone thing) or from the surroundings (born with a blank slate - forgot who said that though-)

MaRy G. Miller said...

According to William Golding evil is intrinsic because if you can look at Jack, he tells it all. Evil is intrinsic but it is waiting for a trigger to be pulled to bring it out, everyone has good and evil inside of them and they are just waiting to surface by emotional or physical triggers that give signals.
When you see the characters that are our favorites from the novel, FOR EXAMPLE Ralph, who is portrayed as keeping as much civilization as he can, has his moments of evil, like when he throws the spear into the sow´s snout and is surprised that he actually enjoys it.
Small things or outbursts of evil and good can show a lot about people and also tell that evil and good are both intrinsic characteristics.

Ryan Fuoco said...

Evil is in every human, no matter what you say. You just need for something to bring it out.
I would say that "Evil" dosn't exist but if you want to put it that way, thats fine. To me, all there is is human nature and natural instinct.

optima said...

It is important to see Jack’s view of the island, he too with Ralph saw the island as “a good island” and knows they are supposedly going to “have fun until the adults come and get us”. This of course is unfortunately not how it turns out. Jack’s quick dehumanisation and his lean to savagery show us partly that Jack has at least got it in his blood to hunt and kill. Golding also describes the island as a paradise and when the three boys (Simon, Jack and Ralph) climb up to the top of the mountain, they had their “eyes shining” and “mouths open”. Therefore savagery would be in their nature not due to adults and surroundings.
Simon however is very different, he sees the real beauty of the island and his love for all humans when he touches Ralph’s hand when they all go exploring. He seems to know that the Lord of the Flies or (Beelzebub) is not the beast, “Maybe there is a beast […], maybe it’s only us.” This is heard and is forgotten nearly straight away, even though what he says is true about humans and just reading near to the end of the book can tell us this. He is a very wise character and sub consequently recognises the potential savagery that can come over us. He tells us that evil is intrinsic but his being shows us it is extrinsic relating to how he is held back from savagery and killing.