In a man eat man society, man is made to fight and struggle for his survival. In the novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding and the short story "The Most Dangerous Game" written by Richard Connell, this fight between good and evil is the most astounding theme. The two texts are similar in many aspects. They both show out the dark side of human beings and the extent they can go when subjected to a lawless society. In the novel Lord of the Flies, a group of boys gets stuck in an island after surviving a plane crash and are left to fight for survival. In the short story, The Most Dangerous Game, an experienced hunter is tired of hunting for animals and resolves to go for human beings. The hunter later becomes hunted and is trapped and killed. The struggle for survival and power is evident in the novel Lord of the Flies and the short story "The Most Dangerous Game," in which human beings when left on their own, no evil is too big for them.
The two texts are similar in their theme exploration. They both explore a theme of conflict in the society, both internally among each other and externally with the surroundings. In the short story "The Most Dangerous Game," a conflict emerges between Rainsford and Zaroff, both being fighters and experienced hunters. Zaroff wants Rainsford to join him in his new mission of hunting people, but Rainsford is opposed to the adventure. Conflict emerges between the two in which Zaroff goes for Rainsford for Prey, but he later becomes the prey to the hunted. Rainsford also has a dispute with nature. He describes the sea as a former enemy, but when he faces danger from his fellow man, he runs to the same sea for his safety. By so doing, he manages to trick Zaroff, in which he later emerges and traps his hunter. The same conflict is evident in the novel Lord of the Flies, after some young British lads' lands in an island after surviving a plane crash. Inexperienced in the surrounding, they face the unknown danger as some boys believe that a beast will come out of hiding and prey on them. A misunderstanding also emerges among them, and they turn after one another, each group fighting for their survival. With these conflicts, rules are suspended, and the fittest is the one who survives. Human beings graduate from hunting animals to hunting their fellow men. At first, the young boys were all nervous about killing, but after experiencing hunting animals and killing them, they gain the courage to pursue their fellow men and kill them also. After killing small prey, Zaroff gets tired of them and starts an adventure to hunting and killing human beings as his equal. The boys in short story also graduate from killing a pig and offering its head as a sacrifice to the beast and they hunt their own to offer as a sacrifice.
Both stories explore how human beings have a dark side and how they have to choose between good and evil. Men are potentially evil, and when situations are right for crime, there is no limit to their cannibalism. Zaroff, being bored by hunting animals, goes after killing animals which can reason like him and in his discussion with Rainsford, he says, "Life is for the strong, to be lived by the strong, and, if needs be, taken by the strong. The weak of the world were put here to give a strong pleasure" (Connell, 2017). Rainsford, who is also an experienced hunter and a fighter, it has to choose as to whether to accompany Zaroff in his "hunt for human" mission, but he responds to Zaroff by telling him that; he is a hunter but not a murder. Zaroff sees Rainsford argument as old school and threatens to hunt him as well. But Rainsford escapes the trap by becoming the hunter himself. Similarly, in the short story Lord of the Flies, Ralph and his fellow boys suffer from the Lord of the flies' syndrome (Vlad, 2015), in which they engage in uncivilized behaviors. Jack has become evil and resolved to be a hunter not just for animals but fellow humans as well. He has no humanity in his hunting. He is seen dancing and thirsting for blood. He is no better than an animal and leads the other boys to destroying the island as well as after going after one another.
Another similarity is in the settings. The novel Lord of the Flies is set on an island in which the boys are faced with a struggle for survival. They have to sacrifice for their durability and being on an island; no laws are regulating them and can thus go to the highest extremes "we can all have a good time on this island" (Golding, 1997). They, therefore, go out hunting, an adventure that leads them to hunt their humans. The novel "The Most Dangerous Game" is also set on the island. It allows Zaroff and Rainsford to go beyond the boundaries of civilization as they are away from civilization, "off the right somewhere is a large island" (Connell, 2017). Though both of them are trained in war and civilized, the setting allows them to show their hidden character in which Zaroff is demonstrated as being uncivilized. He breaks all the rules of civilization and goes after his fellow human beings to prey them. A significant difference exists between the two writings. While the characters in "The Most Dangerous Game" are hunting and killing a human for pleasure, characters in the novel Lord of the Flies are killing for survival. Zaroff is a civilized and experienced hunter but gets bored with hunting animals and looks for a more challenging task which leads him to pursue his fellow men. On the other hand, the boys in the Lord of the Flies are uncivilized, held on an island and resolves fight for their survival. They kill their fellow men for survival.
In conclusion, the two publications have succeeded in developing the controversial theme of moral decay in society. Human beings are potentially evil, and when subjected to rules of the jungle, they can become animals. Both authors have shown how human beings, even the most civilized ones can turn against one another butchering each other like wild animals. Their writings are symbolic to today's society where human beings have degenerated even with all the civilization (White, 1971). The rampant of organized terror groups is an excellent example of moral degeneration that Golding and Connell envisaged in their writing.
Connell, R. (2017). The Most Dangerous Game. In Stories for Men (pp. 88-107). Routledge.
Golding, W. (1987). Lord of the Flies. Penguin.
Vlad, F. A. (2015). The Kids Are Still Not Alright: Rediscovering Lord of the Flies. Analele Universitatii Ovidius din Constanta. Seria Filologie, 26(1), 53-58.
White, D. L. (1971). The poetics of horror: More than meets the eye. Cinema Journal, 10(2), 1-18.
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