Golding’s experiences of war showed him that anyone can be capable of terrible things. His young, innocent boys quickly descend into cruelty.
Lord of the Flies (Grades 9–1)
The boys need organisation, huts and a signal fire. Symbols of order – the conch and Piggy’s glasses – are effective at first, but then broken.
The boys’ appearance changes as savagery descends. The brutality of the pig hunt excites the boys and they lose themselves in the mob.
Jack assumes he should be chief, but Ralph is voted leader. Fear motivates the boys – initially of not being rescued, then of the beast.
Piggy says it’s just fear but Simon knows ‘maybe it’s only us’ (Chapter 5, p. 96). Representing evil inside, the beast tells Simon it cannot be hunted and destroyed.