Good at Heart

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic
After reading The Lord of the Flies by William Golding in my English class, we were asked to write an essay on whether we believed humans were good or evil based on the text and events from history.

Submitted: May 31, 2012

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Submitted: May 31, 2012

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Good at Heart
 

For the last half-century, people around the world have been debating a very sensitive topic: whether humans are good or evil. In his novel, The Lord of the Flies, William Golding in no uncertain terms gives away his position on this controversial issue. In reading the novel, one initially comes to the conclusion that Golding believes that humans are essentially bad. Golding’s book follows a group of British lads who turn savage after becoming stranded on a deserted island. However, both in the book itself and in history, there are many examples that prove his standpoint to be completely false. In numerous ways, the human race has proved itself to be essentially good. Anne Frank even agreed, “Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.” Many events in the past 50 years blatantly disprove William Golding’s belief that humans are essentially evil. 

There are a few examples from The Lord of the Flies itself that contradict Golding’s standpoint. At one point in the novel Simon “wiped his mouth and shoved his piece of meat over the rocks to Piggy, who grabbed it.” (Golding 68). This is talking about how Simon sacrificed his meat to Piggy, who had previously been prohibited from receiving meat. It shows the good that is inside all humans, to help those who are less fortunate. Another example from this novel is near the end as they are being rescued when “a semicircle of little boys… [was] standing on the beach, making no noise at all”. (Golding 185).  This happens directly after the boys were hunting Ralph to kill him, yet in the presence of authority, they stood quietly and almost respectfully.

There are many examples in history that also completely disprove Golding’s view. In 2006, a man walked into an Amish school and opened fire on the girls inside after binding their feet and forcing them to stand in a line. He killed 5 young girls before committing suicide. Yet even though they were deeply grieved, the Amish community forgave the man and did not hold any grudges against his family. Instead, several families who had just buried their daughters the day before attended his funeral and hugged the widow and members of the killer’s family. The Amish community has also donated money the killer’s family. This proves that people are essentially good also. Amish believe in living a very basic life, with no electricity or fancy clothes. So the Amish, who live on essentials, are essentially good.

Another instance in history would be in November of 1989, when the Berlin Wall was torn down by citizens. At midnight on November 9th, East Germany’s Communist rulers gave permission for many of the gates along the wall to be opened. When the crowds heard the news, they were overjoyed and flowed through the gates cheering and shouting. Immediately after, the crowds began to destroy the wall, which was built in 1961. This historic event proves that people are essentially good because when the nation heard the news they were happy that the tyranny was over. Even though the dictators that ruled the people were only concerned for their own welfare, the common people still knew the difference between wrong and right.

Yet an additional event occurred in September 2011 when an accident happened in Utah. A motorcycle was struck by an oncoming car, and the entire mass burst into flames. To their horror, onlookers realized that the cyclist was trapped under the flaming car. They acted as one, lifting the car off the man and pulling him to safety. After the incident, Assistant Logan Police Chief Jeff Curtis said, “I’m impressed that that many people would get involved, especially when there’s fire involved, the possibility of explosions and everything else.” This too confirms that all humans are essentially good because even though there was risk of their own harm, the bystanders automatically realized that they needed to save that man, and didn’t think twice about risking their lives for another human being.

Even when writing his own book Golding could not escape the undeniable truth: humans are essentially good. There are those who would debate this topic for hours, but when it all boils down, the verdict is clear. From the massacre in the Amish community to the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is obvious that at heart humans are good. As a closing statement: the events that are reported in the news mainly highlight the bad things that happen. It is very rare that something good appears in the news, and that is what we base our opinions on. The news highlights what goes against the “norm” like the few people that commit major crimes. So the good that happens every day, which goes unreported, is the way people essentially are.


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