In a good wolf and an evil wolf

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In the fictional novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding, a group of British schoolboys find themselves stranded on an uninhabited island after their plane crashes during a time of war. As the boys live on the island, most of them descend into savagery, losing their sense of morality. This relates to a parable from the Ojibwa, where an Elder tells his grandson about the fight between a good wolf and an evil wolf that goes on inside everyone; the wolf who wins is the one that is fed. While the boys who descend into savagery feed the evil wolf, the boys who retain their identities and morals feed the good wolf. Two characters in particular, Simon and Jack, are prominent examples that demonstrate this parable. In Golding’s novel, Simon feeds his good wolf and preserves his individuality and standards by not forgetting about his memory of civilization, while Jack feeds his evil wolf and loses his identities and morals by embracing the inherent savage in himself.      Simon feeds his good wolf and retains individuality and standards by not forgetting about his memory of civilization. When Simon sees that the fruit the littluns want to eat is beyond their reach, he “pulled off the choicest fruit from up in the foliage, and passed them back to the endless, outstretched hands” (Golding 56). While most of the other boys taunt and are cruel to the littluns, Simon is generous and benevolent to them. The boys disregard the littluns and mock them, unlike Simon. He has a natural goodness that the other boys solely do not have, as he is willing to help out others when he can. Simon behaves with the most civilized traits out of all the boys on the island and does not forget his manners. He lets the good wolf win. In addition, when no one hands Piggy meat, “Simon, sitting between the twins and Piggy, wiped his mouth and shoved his piece of meat over the rocks to Piggy, who grabbed it” (74). Once more, Simon’s kindness is shown by offering his share of food to Piggy, keeping the peace between the boys. Compared to the selfishness of the other boys, Simon’s caring deeds display the rectitude and generosity that is found in mankind. As opposed to the others, Simon does not descend to savagery, proving that he has not forgotten about his morals. Simon’s actions imply that he feeds the good wolf and sustains his identities and ethics. In contrast to Simon, Jack feeds the evil wolf and loses his identity and morals because of the effects of living on the island had on his mindset. When Piggy asks the names of the other boys on the island, Jack tells him, “‘Kids’ names,’… ‘Why should I be Jack? I’m Merridew'” (21). Jack is used to being called “Merridew” by the other kids in the choir, who are both afraid of him and respect him. He feels he is too important to be called by his first name. His arrogance and belief that he is above the other boys indicate that he feeds his evil wolf. Jack’s conceitedness is a result of the freedom from the island, which allows him to develop the corruptness of his personality. Hence, Jack’s impression that he is superior to everyone else reveals that he feeds the evil wolf and thus loses his selfhood and principles. Furthermore, when Piggy criticizes Jack for letting the fire out, Jack “smacked Piggy’s head. Piggy’s glasses flew off and tinkled on the rocks” (71).  He does not like being criticized, and this makes him angry and aggressive. By taking out his anger on Piggy, a weaker character, Jack reveals his strong sense of pride, an indicator that he feeds his evil wolf. In addition, striking Piggy reveals that Jack is not afraid to physically hurt others, which previously he would not have done because of his morals that were set by society, where it is prohibited to commit these acts of wrongdoing. Jack thinks that he is better than the other boys on the island and believes he has the authority to be mean to Piggy. Unlike the time Jack was a civilized choir leader, he is now vain and arrogant; thus his identities and principles are long gone because he becomes accustomed to the freedom that comes with the newfound isolation on this island. When he realizes that there are no adults to reinforce any rules, he realizes that there are no consequences for his actions on the island, and therefore he starts to take more risks. Because he takes more risks, he descends into savagery and therefore feeds his evil wolf. Simon and Jack both resemble characters who lose or preserve their individuality and morals respectively. While Simon is able to maintain them and to stay civilized, Jack is not able to. Simon is generous and kind, feeding his internal good wolf. Jack, on the other hand, completely neglects his ethics and enables his inner demon to rise, feeding his inner evil wolf. All people have a good wolf and an evil wolf that resides in them, but it is up to them on which one they are going to feed. The choice that is made will decide how they will succeed in the intricacy of human nature. Works CitedGolding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Perigee, 1954. Print. “Ojibwa Parable.” 12 Jan. 2018. Print.

Categories: Ethics


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