Children all over the world hold many of the same characteristics.
Mostchildren are good at heart, but at times seem like little mischievousdevils. Children enjoy having fun and causing trouble but under somesupervision can be obedient little boys an d girls. Everybody, at onetime in their lives, was a child and knows what it is like to have noworries at all. Children have their own interests and react to differentthings in peculiar and sometimes strange ways. For example, children areenchantedwith Barney and his jolly, friendly appearance without realizing that heis actually a huge dinosaur.
In the novel The Lord of the Flies, byWilliam Golding, one can see how children react to certain situations. Children, when given the opportunity, wo uld choose to play and have funrather than to do boring, hard work. Also, when children have no otheradults 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 andattitudes of young children in this novel. When children are given the opportunity, they would rather envelopthemselves in pleasure and play than in the stresses of work. The boysshow enmity towards building the shelters, even though this work isimportant, to engage in trivial activities. Af ter one of the shelterscollapses while only Simon and Ralph are building it, Ralph clamours, “Allday I’ve been working with Simon.
No one else. They’re off bathing oreating, or playing.” (55). Ralph and Simon, though only children, aremore mature a nd adult like and stray to work on the shelters, while theother children aimlessly run off and play. The other boys avidly chooseto play, eat, etc.
than to continue to work with Ralph which is veryboring and uninteresting. The boys act typically of m ost children theirage by being more interested in having fun than working. Secondly, allthe boys leave Ralph’s hard-working group to join Jack’s group who justwant to have fun. The day after the death of Simon when Piggy ! and Ralphare bathing, Piggy points beyond the platform and says, “That’s wherethey’re gone. Jack’s party. Just for some meat.
And for hunting and forpretending to be a tribe and putting on war-paint.”(163). Piggy realizesexactly why the boys have gone to Jack’s, which would be for fun andexcitement. The need to play and have fun in Jack’s group, even thoughthe 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 ofbeing rescued. Young children need to satisfy their amusement by playinggames instead of doing work. In conclusion, children are more interestedin playing and having fun than doing unexciting labor.
When children are without adults to look to for leadership, they look foran adult-like person for leadership. At the beginning of the novel, whenthe boys first realize they are all alone, they turn to Ralph forleadership. After Ralph calls the first meeting, Golding writes, “Therewas a stillness about Ralph as he sat that marked him out: there was hissize, and attractive appearance, and most obscurely, yet most powerfully,there was the conch. The being that had sat waiting for them.” (24). Theb oys are drawn to Ralph because of his physical characteristics andbecause he had blown the conch.
The fact that there are no adults hascaused the boys to be attracted to Ralph as a leader. The physicalcharacteristics of Ralph remind the boys of theirparents or other adult authority figures they may have had in their oldlives back home. There is also the conch that Ralph holds which mayremind the boys of a school bell or a teacher’s whistle. Finally, at theend of the! novel, the boys turn to Jack to satisfy their need for some much-neededleadership. When the boys are feasting on the meat of a freshly killedsow, 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 hisshoulder and chattered in his ear like an ape. ‘All sit down.’ The boysranged themselves in rows on the grass before him. (165)Jack now has full authority over the other boys.
The boys look to Jack forhis daunting leadership which intimidates them. Jack is very forceful andhis ways most likely remind the boys of authoritative figures in theirpastwho may have strapped, beaten or used other forms of violence whendisciplining the children. Therefore, the children when left withoutadult authority figures turn to others who can replace that adultauthority figure. In addition to seeking adult-like authority figures, children losetheir innocence and stray towards savagery when not around adultauthority. When the boys have been on the island for a short time, theystart to show more violence, but when they realiz e what they have donethey become contrite, embarrassed by their actions. After Mauricedestroys Percival’s sandcastle and some sand gets in Percival’s eye, thenarrator writes: Percival began to whimper with an eyeful of sand and Maurice hurriedaway. In his other life Maurice had received chastisement for filling ayounger eye with sand.
Now, though there was no parent to let fall aheavy hand, Maurice still felt unease of wrongdoing. (65)Maurice has hurt Percival but feels bad about it because in his past lifehe would have been punished for it. Without adults, Maurice is turningtowards barbarianism but has not been away from the order and disciplineof his previous life to be considere d a savage. Children misbehave whennot 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, thechildren will feel remorseful. Also, after the boys have been absent from structured discipline, they become blatant savages and retainabsolutely no innocence.
When Piggy and Ralph visit Castle Rock to getback Piggy’s glasses, Golding says: Roger, with a sense of deliriousabandonment, leaned all his weight on the lever. The rock struck Piggy. Piggy fell forty feet and landed on his back across that square acrossthat square red rock in the sea. His head opened and stuff came out andturned red. (200)Without apprehension, Roger performs the horrible and violent act ofkilling Piggy.
Roger has now been without adults to discipline him forquite a long time and his actions have become more intensely brutal. Theboys have been unpunished for so long tha t they continually become moreand more violent and thus, have made the final step to becoming all outsavages. Typically, children are reprimanded for their misbehavior and asthey mature, what is right and what is wrong becomes embedded in theirbrainsto 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. WhenRalph is chased onto the beach by Jack’s tribe and finds the navalofficer, the na! rrator says, “A semi-circle of little boys, their bodiesstreaked with coloured clay, sharp sticks in their hands, were standing onthe beach making no noise at all.” (221). The previously wild savages arenow 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, morechildlike past. The boys are in a semi-circle instead of in a pack ofsavages, they are coloured with clay ins tead of gaudy war-paint, they areholding sticks instead of spears and they are absolutely as quiet as theywould have been around adults in their previous lives. Children areusually more ordered, disciplined and civilized under adult supervisionjust a s the boys are the instant they see the naval officer. Tosummarize, 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, Goldingsucceeds in showing the actions, decisions and thinking of young children. Children would choose to play and have fun rather than work. Whenchildren need to look for leadership and there are n o adults around toprovide this, children look for another child who has adult-like qualitiesfor leadership. Children are disobedient, violent and lose theirinnocence when there are no adults to supervise them.
A child’s life is along and winding roa d in which they can be sidetracked quite easily.