Lord of the Flies by William Golding has many applications in viewing human interaction and society. The boys stranded on the island were young English boys, aged 6-12, and developed into sadistic monsters that killed their peers. This story takes a look at the darker aspects of human instinct, what happens at the primal level when people are set to their own devices and have to organize a society. William Golding employs a variety of different tools to showcase the worst that can happen when boys are left alone.
Some of these characteristics are shown in the ending of the book, when Ralph stumbles upon the naval officer. At that moment, Ralph was being pursued by Jack’s tribe, which would have killed him had the officer not showed up. Golding also shows how far away from civilized life the boys had become through the demeanor of the officer. He is very condescending to Ralph, treating him like a child that hadn’t done much wrong, when in reality the island had become a battleground between the boys.
Ralph and Jack had a very unstable relationship from the beginning of the book. Jack was the head of a choir, so he was introduced with the sense of leadership. Ralph was the main character of the book, so because of this we felt his need for leadership.
Throughout the story we see their detest of each other flourish into the splitting of the boys into two groups, those that followed Jack and those that followed Ralph.
One of the key players on Jack’s side was Roger, who was known to the other boys as “the terror.” He directly caused the death of Ralph’s closest partner, Piggy, and was in the group of boys that pushed Simon, another of Ralph’s followers, off the cliff and to his death. The final chapter of the book is about how Ralph is trying to rectify his situation, he is alone, injured, and is trying to find a way to get off the island. He approaches Jack’s “Castle Rock,” and pleads with him to stop the fighting and savagery. Jack retaliates, and lights the forest on fire, trying to flush Ralph out of the woods so that his tribe can kill him. When Ralph makes it to the beach, he sees that the smoke from Jack’s fire has signaled a passing cruiser and one of the officers has come ashore.
This is when the officer takes an off hand approach to the situation, he doesn’t grasp the severity of the situation. William Golding used the demeanor and actions of the officer to show that the boys had become disconnected from society, that to the rest of the world they were still boys. This separation has caused the turmoil of the island, the boys started as respectable English boys, but grew into violent hunters. The play on human instinct, the need to show ones strength and power, can be seen in even young children. When removed from the scolding of higher authority, they resort of physicality to determine leadership. The entire book is revolved around that aspect, and it was very evident in the conclusion. The boys burned down an island because two of them didn’t agree, and their digression from civilized society became apparent when they faced the officer. The differences between the savages and the naval officer were used as an example of how human nature can cause people to resort to darker instincts.