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In chapter one of William Golding's Lord of the Flies, why are some children naked and...

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user4408568 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 6, 2013 at 2:55 AM via web

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In chapter one of William Golding's Lord of the Flies, why are some children naked and others are not?

This is part of my study guide with the book. I have answered that it is because it is hot out and because some of the children are young and do not know any better. 

Thank you in advance for helping me :D

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 3, 2013 at 10:58 PM (Answer #1)

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The characters in Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, are all English schoolboys; they were on an airplane which was involved in a skirmish during World War II and end up stranded on a tropical island. 

There is substantial evidence that the boys, though all from English boarding schools, did not all know one another. A notable exception is the choir, led by Jack; however, everyone else generally has to be introduced to one another. In addition, the boys (again with the exception of the choir) are all wearing uniforms of different types and colors.

The crash occurred at night, so the first time the boys begin to gather is in the morning after Ralph blows the conch. This serves as a signal, and soon all kinds of little boys appear on the beach. 

Some were naked and carrying their clothes; others half-naked, or more or less dressed, in school uniforms, grey, blue, fawn, jacketed, or jerseyed. There were badges, mottoes even, stripes of color in stockings and pullovers.

Golding does not explicitly say why some are unclothed and others are dressed in some way, but your answer seems quite reasonable. They are on a hot, sandy island, and their clothes are certainly not ideally suited for such conditions. They are young boys without any females around, so it is not surprising that they quit wearing anything which is uncomfortable or unwieldy when they get "caught short" because they eat too much fruit.

As time passes, Golding reveals that all of the boys eventually do what is coolest and easiest for them; for many that means dispensing with their clothes altogether. Ralph is the notable exception, and as the story progresses he is constantly bothered by his stiff, salt-encrusted clothes which chafe his skin. Even if all of the boys had worn their uniforms consistently, the effects of salt, sand, sweat, and heat would eventually have caused their clothes to disintegrate.


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