How Much Can Environment Change Us?
Who amongst us can say that they are not impacted by their environment? I do not think that anyone could support that claim. Certainly, environment has some effects on our behavior and thoughts. In the book The Lord of Flies, by William Golding, the author uses a group of British students to show the reader the extremes that people will go to in order to survive.
The story starts with an airplane crash, and a group of British students stranded on an unknown island. The pilot dies in the crash and the children are without adult supervision. They tried to survive on their own and wait for the rescue. They elect Ralph as their chief, first exploring to make sure they are on an actual island. Then, they start a fire on the top of a mountain. The next day, they decide to hunt, but one student, nick-named Piggy, believes that they should first build a shelter. Ralph does not take Piggy’s advice and instead continues to hunt, but gives up after nothing is caught. The third day, a ship passed by but does not stop, which leads to the first argument. Piggy becomes angry because the signal fire was abandoned, so the ship missed the island.
Later, Ralph starts to accept Piggy because of his maturity, and with the help of some other students, they finish the shelter. As soon as they finished, they argue over whether or not they should make the bigger fire, or go hunting. The leader of the hunter team, Jack, rebels and tells Ralph that he does not care about Ralph’s rules. Most of the students choose to follow Jack to the other side of the island. Only Piggy, Ralph, Simon, and two other students remain in the original camp. They try to negotiate with Jack, who is now living in a cave on the top of the mountain, but Jack does not listen, and instead kills Simon and Piggy in two separate incidents. Jack also captures Ralph and puts him in a cave, guarded by two other boys. Ralph manages to escape, but at night, he sneaks back and tries to rescue some others, and the guards give him some meat and let him go. Ralph escapes to the forest. Jack tries to find Ralph and arrest him, but instead goes crazy and lights the whole forest on fire, which destroys all the fruit the boys used as food. Ironically, the fire attracts a passing ship and the boys are rescued.
What is human and what is difference between humans and animals? If we live an environment just like an animal’s environment, how do we keep our humanity? It is hard to say, because environment does impact us greatly, and can drive people to do things that have unintended consequences. For example, Jack grows more savage the more time he spends on the island, and he lights the forest on fire, destroying the boy’s source of food. How much can environment change us? Only imagination can tell.