Civilized vs. Savage Essay

“There is a savage beast in every man, and when you hand that man a sword or spear and send him forth to war, the beast stirs. ”- George R. R. Martin. Cruel, Savage, and dangerous describe Zarroff a character in Richard Connells short story “The Most Dangerous Game”. In the story “The Most Dangerous Game” a man named Rainsford who is an experienced hunter is trapped on an island by Zarroff retired general in the Russian Army who wants him to be part of a “game” where Zarroff hunts Rainsford.

Connell and Golding argue that no matter who you are, where you’re from, or what your beliefs are, once you are put in a life threatening situation, you will do anything you possibly can to stay alive, even if that means changing from a civilized person into a complete savage Yet General Zarroff isn’t the only one besides Ivan that is savage. “Rainsford did not smile. ”I am still a beast at bay” he said in a low hoarse voice.

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”Get ready General Zarroff”.You notice from this that Rainsford has changed since the beginning of the story, how all Rainsford wanted to do was get off the island and now even though Rainsford has already won the game he still wants to fight the General but in this case he actually kills Zarroff. This is because the game changed Rainsford into wanting to continue the violence, even though before the game started all he wanted to do was get of the island. ”He lived a year in a minute.Then he felt the impulse to cry aloud with joy” You can see from this again that Rainsford is displaying savagery because he thinks that the game is finished so he is happy. Even though killing Zarroff would have ended the games, being happy about killing another human being displays Rainsford as a savage.

In the beginning of “The Lord of the Flies” the boys find it difficult to kill the boars. For example, “I thought I might—kill. ” “But you didn’t. ”“I thought I might” (Golding 71).This is important because this shows that they boys where still somewhat civilized in the beginning. So they where not savage to begin with, they were slowly turned savage. In addition, Jack becomes annoyed by the fact that he hesitated to kill the boar and basically this idea engulfs him to the point that all he wants to do is prove that he isn’t too “soft” to kill a boar and this begins his transformation into the leader of all the savages.

Eventually though, the boys do bring themselves to kill a pig. At last the words of the chant ?oated up to them, across the bowl of blackened wood and ashes. “Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood” (Golding 96). This shows that not only do the boys kill a pig, but they make a chant out of it. Later in the story they use this as a sort of ritual because from this point on they sing this chant every time they kill a pig.

Yet in the midst of all of the savagery, the boys still try to maintain a sense of being civilized. “We ought to comb our hair.Only it’s too long” (Golding 248). You notice from this that they still want to somewhat remain civilized even though they all are very dirty and have long hair. Another example of being civilized “Squirming a little, conscious of his ?lthy appearance, Ralph answered shyly” (Golding 288). Again you see the boys acting civilized despite all the savagery.

In both the novel and the short story you see examples of savagery and being civilized. Both stories emphasize the duality of man and how everyone is a savage deep inside.


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