Outsiders in Lord of the Flies

The way in which Golding portrays outsiders is to make them obvious characters. In fact the first notable characters we meet are all outsiders, with one possible exception. First there is Ralph, from the start we know Ralph will be something special in the book as Golding portrays him as different. “His golden body” and general physical appearance set him aside from the rest of the boys. Throughout the novel, Ralph remains exempt in some way from the group. Initially he is the leader, making the decisions, calling the shots, generally he is not one of the “mob”.

While he is acting on their behalf, he is also on a different level, the chief level, and so above them due to his authority.

Secondly we are introduced to Piggy. Physically Piggy is very obviously an outsider, he has “fat” and “ass-mar”(asthma). But he is also a lot different to any of the other boys on a different level, he has an outstanding intellect.

It is Piggy who devises calling the meeting, and also Piggy who has the brains behind Ralph’s leadership. Very obviously Piggy is an outsider right from the first meeting, where he is dubbed first “Fatty” and then after prompting from Ralph “Piggy”. Here it is shown that he is the first true outsider, as he has no true alliances, not even with Ralph.

Our third outsider is Simon. In Jack’s perfectly ordered choir, Simon is the only one who faints, the only one who ‘lets the side down’, “He’s always fainting…”.

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He is little respected by the rest of the group who snigger at his paleness. Simon remains throughout the book the mystic one. He is set apart by his desire to think and be alone, to philosophise and reason things out. It is whilst he is doing this that he realises the truth about the “beast”, and is killed trying to impart this knowledge, almost like witch trials.

There are two possible outsiders with very big question marks over their heads. These are Roger and Jack. Roger is the evil force on the island, quietly evil and malevolent, but much more so than Jack. “Roger sharpened a stick at both ends”, and it is Roger who kills Piggy with the rock, even thought Jack does claim the kill. This sets him apart from the other boys by sheer virtue of his evil qualities. Jack is also a possible outsider as he is the main contender for Ralph’s leadership, and finally the chief. He becomes the new leader, his reign of tyranny is unopposed, but would it have continued so? We don’t actually know, but he was one, the ones suffering were many, in this way he becomes the outsider.

When Jack does set up the second “colony” we are shown literally that Ralph and Piggy are outsiders. They are living at the other end of the island, away from the tribe, away from the meat and fire. They are not alone however initially there is also Samneric, but the tribe seizes them. All the outsiders also have an unfortunate tendency to die. Perhaps here Golding is trying to tell us something, about, maybe, racial disagreements. Minorities are often, though not always victimised, and perhaps that is what Golding is trying to portray here, that it is wrong, and the real barbarians are the ones doing it.

One other essential thing about Golding’s outsiders is that they are not really that odd. They aren’t murderers or insane, they are normal, if there is such a thing. They are the kind of people you meet on the street, but placed in some rather compromising circumstances. Ralph especially is the epitome of this, very normal, athletic, not especially dumb or bright, but he is a definite outsider because the society around him makes him one. This is reminiscent of both Frankenstein making his monster and Joanne Harris’ “Chocolat” in which Roux, although a fine upstanding well-intentioned person is believed to be a nasty piece of work due to his social background.

Golding’s message is fairly clear, what makes an outsider is the way society judges them, wether it be on their clothes, brains or physicality. It is not the outsider who needs to be wrong, but the society in which they lives needs to deem them wrong. Thus are so many perfectly good people ruined by the prejudgement of others.

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Outsiders in Lord of the Flies. (2019, Dec 05). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/outsiders-in-lord-of-the-flies/

Outsiders in Lord of the Flies
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