The Lord of the Flies

Mans need for structure

The Lord of the Flies is a book written by William Golding. William Golding grew up in England, and lived through World War II. WWII was a big influence in the ideas that Golding portrays in his book. One of the main points that I found in The Lord of the Flies, was man’s need for structure. Golding shows in his book that if you take man out of his structured life, that change is going to take place.

These young English school boys are used to structure. They have grown up with strict rules and regulations that have always kept them in line, and from doing something wrong. Golding places these young innocent boys on a deserted island away from adults, rules, and civilization. We can see in this book how the boys all change over the period of time that they are stranded on this island. Some of the boys change for the better, and some of the boys, for example Jack, change for the worse.

Ralph is one of the boys in this book that is changed for the better. When Ralph first gets to the island he thinks it is great. He is dancing, playing, running around, and all in all, just goofing off like any little twelve year old boy with no adult supervision would. By the end of the book though, he is much sterner. Ralph was voted by the boys to be the chief. In that one act alone, the boys gave Ralph a lot of responsibility. You can see throughout this book how Ralph learns to deal with that responsibility. Ralph goes from a very care free little boy, to one that is very worried and stressed about the other boys. Ralph is one of the only “Big’uns” that is worried about the “Littl’uns.” As the leader of the boys, he felt obligated to make sure everyone was ok.

Golding shows in this book how the boys can be changed for the better. Take Piggy for example. When Piggy first lands on the island he is bullied by Jack and the other Big’uns. Ralph is pretty much is only friend. Piggy was a major player in this book though. He was always there to keep a cool head and to come up with good ideas. He was the one that got mad at the other boys because they had run off to go build a fire, and didn’t even think that they needed huts. Piggy was Ralph’s right hand man. Throughout this whole book you can see a major change in Piggy. In the beginning he is just a winy little fat boy that gets on Jacky and Ralph’s nerves, but by the end of the book, he is very important. Towards the end of the book, all the boys separate into two different tribes. Ralph is left with just Piggy, Sam and Eric, to help him take care of all the Littl’uns. Ralph gets very discouraged towards the end, but Piggy is there to help him out, 100% till the end. You can see a major change in Piggy through out this story. He goes from being scared and bullied easily, to being able to stand up for himself, conduct himself well at the meetings, and just being able to speak his mind.

Golding also shows a much different side though. He shows through the examples of Jack, Roger, and most of the other Hunters, that people can really be changed for the worse in this book. Jack is a very opinionated boy. In the beginning Roger is mad that Ralph is voted chief, and not him. To start out, he is still well enough “trained” from being raised in society, that he just accepts the fact that he wasn’t elected, and he deals with it. Golding shows that Jack has a very big issue with power though. From the first scene we see of Jack, we all know that. Jack appears in this book, leading the choir boys (later known as the “hunters”). He won’t let them sit down and join the other boys till he says it is ok. In the beginning he is quite respectful, and mostly listens to Ralph and just does what is asked of him. But by the end of the book, Jack is a totally new person. The first time that the boys stumble across a pig, Jack can’t bring himself to “stick it” with is knife. How much he changes from the beginning of the book to the end. He goes from not being able to stab an innocent pig, to hunting one of his own with the intent to kill him.

Jack was one of those boys that just exploded when he was taken out of civilization and the structure that he was used to. He knew back home that if he hurt another animal or human, there would be consequences for his actions. Jack very quickly learned on the island, however, that there was no one here to punish him. Because of the fact that he was a very strong and pushy boy, Jack thought he could get power through force.

Roger is a lot like Jack. When we first meet Roger, he is throwing pebbles at Henry (one of the littl’uns). Even though there are no adults there to punish Roger for doing something wrong, he just can’t seem to hit Henry. There is still that layer of protection from the structure that Roger grew up with. Roger becomes much more brave and barbaric by the end of the book though. In one of the hunting scenes, the boys have a sow caught and are in the process of finishing killing it. Roger sticks his stick up the rear end of the pig and pushes as hard as he can, because we can tell that he likes the sound of the pig screaming. Roger is one of those boys that get pleasure in the pain of others. Roger has a very dramatic change in this book. He goes from not being able to hit poor little Henry with a stone, to being the one totally responsible for the death of Piggy.

Golding shows a change in all of the boys in this island. He shows how that change can be for the good, or, for the worse. Golding lived through a world war. He saw people change, and not necessarily for the best. We can see this in our society today though. Not many of us have lived through something as dramatic as a world war, but if you look carefully enough, you can see the change in people. Consider this, everyone is grows up a certain way. As little children, we have a certain structure to our lives. When we go to bed, when we wake up, when we can play, when it is time to do our chores, etc… But as we grow older, that structure is changed. Instead of our parents always being the ones to decide what we get to do, and when we are going to do it, we get to decide some of these things. If you watched anyone for a little while in two different settings, you would see a change in them. All you would need to do, is to study them at home with their families, and then at school, or some other very social/public place. I bet that you could pick out differences in just about everyone.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Not all changes in people are bad, but the truth is, that when a person is taken out of their usual structure, and forced into something new, they will change. Golding does an excellent job to show the gradual shift in people. The boys in his book don’t go from being civilized to barbaric overnight. They are gradually changed over time, when they are removed from what they know. I do believe that when a person is taken from their structure, and what they are used to, they are changed. The change can be for the better or for the worse. That all depends on how the individual persons reacts to the new situation, but a change is going to happen.