Essay on Behavior in All Quiet on the Western Front and Lord of the Fli

Comparison of Human Behavior in All Quiet on the Western Front and Lord of the Flies  Ã‚         An author’s view of human behavior is often reflected in their works. The novels All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque and Lord of the Flies by William Golding are both examples of works that demonstrate their author’s view of man, as well his opinion of war. Golding’s Lord of the Flies is highly demonstrative of Golding’s opinion that society is a thin and fragile veil that when removed shows man for what he truly is, a savage animal. Perhaps the best demonstration of this given by Golding is Jack’s progression to the killing of the sow. Upon first landing on the island Jack, Ralph, and Simon go to survey their new home. Along the way the boys have their first encounter with the island’s pigs. They see a piglet caught in some of the plants. Quickly Jack draws his knife so as to kill the piglet. Instead of completing the act, however, Jack hesitates. Golding states that, “The pause was only long enough for them to realize the enormity of what the downward stroke would be.” Golding is suggesting that the societal taboos placed on killing are still ingrained within Jack. The next significant encounter in Jack’s progression is his first killing of a pig. There is a description of a great celebration. The boys chant “Kill the pig. Cut her thr oat. Spill her blood.” It is clear from Golding’s description of the revelry that followed the killing that the act of the hunt provided the boys with more than food. The action of killing another living thing gives them pleasure. The last stage in Jack’s metamorphosis is demonstrated by the murder of the sow. Golding describes the killing almost as a rape. He says, “Jack was on… …ough the actions of his characters, attempts to illustrate that under chaotic circumstances, when removed normal society, man reverts to what his nature deems him to be, a destructive creature. Remarque’s characters, on the other hand, manage to show compassion and humane treatment of others despite being thrust into a situation more terrible than that of Golding’s characters. Where Golding feels war is a result of humankind’s vile nature, Remarque sees it as an evil brought about by only a select few.    Works Cited Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Berkley, 1954. Babb, Howard S. The Novels of William Golding. N.p.: Ohio State UP, 1970. Beetz, Kirk H., ed. Beacham’s Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction. Vol. 5. Osprey: n.p., 1996. 5 vols. Epstein, E. L. Afterword. Lord of the Flies. By William Golding. New York: Berkley, 1954.   

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