Lord of the Flies


Children all over the world hold many of the same characteristics. Most
children are good at heart, but at times seem like little mischievous
devils. Children enjoy having fun and causing trouble but under some
supervision can be obedient little boys an d girls. Everybody, at one
time in their lives, was a child and knows what it is like to have no
worries at all. Children have their own interests and react to different
things in peculiar and sometimes strange ways. For example, children are
 with Barney and his jolly, friendly appearance without realizing that he
is actually a huge dinosaur. In the novel The Lord of the Flies, by
William Golding, one can see how children react to certain situations. 
Children, when given the opportunity, wo uld choose to play and have fun
rather than to do boring, hard work. Also, when children have no other
adults to look up to they turn to other children for leadership. Finally,
children stray towards savagery when they are w! ithout adult authority. 
Therefore, Golding succeeds in effectively portraying the interests and
attitudes of young children in this novel. 

 When children are given the opportunity, they would rather envelop
themselves in pleasure and play than in the stresses of work. The boys
show enmity towards building the shelters, even though this work is
important, to engage in trivial activities. Af ter one of the shelters
collapses while only Simon and Ralph are building it, Ralph clamours, "All
day I've been working with Simon. No one else. They're off bathing or
eating, or playing." (55). Ralph and Simon, though only children, are
more mature a nd adult like and stray to work on the shelters, while the
other children aimlessly run off and play. The other boys avidly choose
to play, eat, etc. than to continue to work with Ralph which is very
boring and uninteresting. The boys act typically of m ost children their
age by being more interested in having fun than working. Secondly, all
the boys leave Ralph's hard-working group to join Jack's group who just
want to have fun. The day after the death of Simon when Piggy ! and Ralph
are bathing, Piggy points beyond the platform and says, "That's where
they're gone. Jack's party. Just for some meat. And for hunting and for
pretending to be a tribe and putting on war-paint."(163). Piggy realizes
exactly why the boys have gone to Jack's, which would be for fun and
excitement. The need to play and have fun in Jack's group, even though
the boys risk the tribe's brutality and the chance of not being rescued,
outweighs doing work with Ralph's group which increase their chance s of
being rescued. Young children need to satisfy their amusement by playing
games instead of doing work. In conclusion, children are more interested
in playing and having fun than doing unexciting labor. 

When children are without adults to look to for leadership, they look for
an adult-like person for leadership. At the beginning of the novel, when
the boys first realize they are all alone, they turn to Ralph for
leadership. After Ralph calls the first meeting, Golding writes, "There
was a stillness about Ralph as he sat that marked him out: there was his
size, and attractive appearance, and most obscurely, yet most powerfully,
there was the conch. The being that had sat waiting for them." (24). The
b oys are drawn to Ralph because of his physical characteristics and
because he had blown the conch. The fact that there are no adults has
caused the boys to be attracted to Ralph as a leader. The physical
characteristics of Ralph remind the boys of their
 parents or other adult authority figures they may have had in their old
lives back home. There is also the conch that Ralph holds which may
remind the boys of a school bell or a teacher's whistle. Finally, at the
end of the! 
 novel, the boys turn to Jack to satisfy their need for some much-needed
leadership. When the boys are feasting on the meat of a freshly killed
sow, the narrator says: 
 Jack spoke 'Give me a drink.' Henry brought him a shell and he drank. 
 Power lay in the blown swell of his forearms; authority sat on his
 shoulder and chattered in his ear like an ape. 'All sit down.' The boys
 ranged themselves in rows on the grass before him. (165)

Jack now has full authority over the other boys. The boys look to Jack for
his daunting leadership which intimidates them. Jack is very forceful and
his ways most likely remind the boys of authoritative figures in their
pastwho may have strapped, beaten or used other forms of violence when
disciplining the children. Therefore, the children when left without
adult authority figures turn to others who can replace that adult
authority figure. 

 In addition to seeking adult-like authority figures, children lose
their innocence and stray towards savagery when not around adult
authority. When the boys have been on the island for a short time, they
start to show more violence, but when they realiz e what they have done
they become contrite, embarrassed by their actions. After Maurice
destroys Percival's sandcastle and some sand gets in Percival's eye, the
narrator writes: 
 Percival began to whimper with an eyeful of sand and Maurice hurried
 away. In his other life Maurice had received chastisement for filling a
younger eye with sand. Now, though there was no parent to let fall a
 heavy hand, Maurice still felt unease of wrongdoing. (65)

Maurice has hurt Percival but feels bad about it because in his past life
he would have been punished for it. Without adults, Maurice is turning
towards barbarianism but has not been away from the order and discipline
of his previous life to be considere d a savage. Children misbehave when
not around adults because there is no one to discipline or punish them. 
Yet, for a brief time after the children have been away from adults, the
children will feel remorseful. Also, after the boys have been absent fr
om structured discipline, they become blatant savages and retain
absolutely no innocence. When Piggy and Ralph visit Castle Rock to get
back Piggy's glasses, Golding says: Roger, with a sense of delirious
abandonment, leaned all his weight on the lever. The rock struck Piggy. 
Piggy fell forty feet and landed on his back across that square across
that square red rock in the sea. His head opened and stuff came out and
turned red. (200)

Without apprehension, Roger performs the horrible and violent act of
killing Piggy. Roger has now been without adults to discipline him for
quite a long time and his actions have become more intensely brutal. The
boys have been unpunished for so long tha t they continually become more
and more violent and thus, have made the final step to becoming all out
savages. Typically, children are reprimanded for their misbehavior and as
they mature, what is right and what is wrong becomes embedded in their
 to the point where they almost never stray towards uncivilized behaviour. 
Clearly children can quickly forget what is right and what is wrong,
especially when being away from adults for an extended period of time,
often resulting in a loss of innocence. 
 Lastly, at the end of the novel when around the naval officer arrives,
the boys return to their old ways of being orderly and civilized. When
Ralph is chased onto the beach by Jack's tribe and finds the naval
officer, the na! rrator says, "A semi-circle of little boys, their bodies
streaked with coloured clay, sharp sticks in their hands, were standing on
the beach making no noise at all." (221). The previously wild savages are
now quiet little boys in an orderly semi-circle. 
 With the arrival of an adult authority figure from the outside world,
the boys are beginning to return to the decorum of their innocent, more
childlike past. The boys are in a semi-circle instead of in a pack of
savages, they are coloured with clay ins tead of gaudy war-paint, they are
holding sticks instead of spears and they are absolutely as quiet as they
would have been around adults in their previous lives. Children are
usually more ordered, disciplined and civilized under adult supervision
just as the boys are the instant they see the naval officer. To
summarize, when not around adult order, discipline and punishment,
children become very much like savages and lose most of their innocence. 

 In conclusion, in the novel The Lord of the Flies, Golding
succeeds in showing the actions, decisions and thinking of young children. 
Children would choose to play and have fun rather than work. When
children need to look for leadership and there are n o adults around to
provide this, children look for another child who has adult-like qualities
for leadership. Children are disobedient, violent and lose their
innocence when there are no adults to supervise them. A child's life is a
long and winding roa d in which they can be sidetracked quite easily.

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