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In Lord of the Flies by William Golding, adolescence is shown as a time of confusion and horror. The actions of the boys stranded on the island consistently correspond with their fear and or confusion towards the unknown things thought to be lurking on the island.
The way the boys act towards each other is a representation of their fear. They acted as if “They were savages, it was true, but they were human” (Golding 169). When Simon came back from the clearing , the boys, blinded by their fear, proceeded to beat him to death. It is said that during childhood, kids are the most innocent of all ages. So when the boys, who are no older than twelve, carry out actions such as this, one may wonder at what age we are exposed to such darkness and if being pulled out of an everyday society such as the characters were, changes our depiction of what is right, what is far from it and who says which is which.
Jack let fear be the guide in every situation he faced from the moment Ralph named him leader of the hunters on. When Jack went hunting, he put on “the mask”, “the mask was a thing on its own, behind which Jack hid, liberated from shame and self-consciousness” (Golding 80). Pride and fear are two dangerous things for a human being to feel and Jack felt them both at the same time and eventually loses his mind. As Jack lost hope, he gained fear and slowly began to stop listening to the directions of Ralph. But when he and his hunters caught their first pig, he swelled up with pride. When these two emotions mixed is when the trouble truly started. He disregarded one of the most crucial jobs of all, making sure the fire stayed lit at the top of the mountain.
The “signal fire” is a representation of Ralph’s leadership. When the fire gets out of control, so do everyone else. When the fire is forgotten about or dismissed, so are Ralph’s rules and wishes. Ralph was intent on keeping order and reminds the other boys that, “We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all, we’re not savages” (Golding 40). Ralph’s attempts to have everyone remain civilized dwindle as the novel progresses due to the sheer fear of not being saved.
The growth of all characters were results of fear and adaptation. Void of all routine forms of society, adaptation was a must. All the boys adapted one of two ways, they became ruthless and let their evil emerge like Jack, or they stuck to the humanity that was left in them like Ralph.
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