Comparative Essay. "Heart Of Darkness" By Joseph Conrad And William Golding's "Lord Of The Flies"

2729 words - 11 pages

It can be said that a certain degree of darkness lies within every person, but this darkness will not surface unless given the correct environment. The darkness, however, can emerge and ultimately destroy the person if not checked by reason. If one's inner darkness does surface, the victim then is given the opportunity to reach a point in personal growth, and to gain a sense of self-knowledge from it. That is, when one's darkness appears, one must learn from this experience how he or she can prevent similar results from occurring in the future. It is ultimately through self-knowledge that we gain the power to defeat our inner darkness, and all of its elements. Just as everyone has the ...view middle of the document...

When people lack the aspect of civility in their lives they too will lack the restraints and barriers it has on one's inner evil. Civility, in essence, provides the basic structure for good. Through laws, structure, and general order, goodness then, for the most part will be the end product. Therefore a lack of civility would result in a lack of order, morals, and laws, leaving chaos to over power. The desolate island in The Lord of the Flies represents a lack of civility. Without parents, law makers, and guardians the darkness which surfaces is inevitable. Piggy said in a feared state upon this realization: 'This is an island? Well I think this is an island! That's a reef out in the sea. That means we are all alone! Perhaps there aren't any grownups anywhere' (Golding 4). It is clear that the civilization of the modern world is unavailable on the island. Although Ralph, who represented the aspect of order, attempts to reach a point of civility, unfortunately was unsuccessful. He said in his struggle: 'We've got to have rules and obey them. After all we're not savages. We're English, and the English are the best at everything' (Golding 25). Ironically the very group he was talking to broke order and formed the savage group known as the 'hunters'. Similarly Piggy too represents civility. He incorporates the conch which to aids in the order of the island. He is very fearful of the lack of civility and scared by the hunters. He feels that civility and order, although the ideal route, was going to be crushed, and with it him: 'We can't do this, the savages, they would crush us' (Golding 54). It is quite obvious how the potential evil in a group of young boys unavoidably arises due to the lack of restraint and order. When the darkness surfaces Jack and his group of hunters gain no self-knowledge, and therefore can not reprieve themselves nor the evil which takes over.A strong parallel can be drawn between the island in Lord of the Flies and The Congo in The Heart of Darkness. The Congo in is similarly used to represent the absence of restraint and order. The effect which is used exemplifies a lack of civility, which in turn provides the opportunity for the emergence of darkness. At the beginning of the novel Marlow begins his descent into the Congo, which presents a dark image of death and suffering.It was a thing which looked as dead as the carcass of somestrange animal. I came upon more pieces of decayingmachinery, and a stack of rusty rails. To the left a clumpof trees in a twisted shady spot, the ground shook (Conrad 52).The capacity for evil in the jungle is endless. This is illustrated through the natives which who go mad and begin killing. Marlow struggles but by realizing his potential for good, manages to contain his evil. Unfortunately the result was not the same for many others: 'I don't know how this would have struck the others but to me the evil was unspeakable, but not undefeatable' (Conrad 85). The Congo and the lack of restraints it...

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