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Why is the officer's question in Chapter 12 of "Lord of the Flies" ironic? ...

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white-out | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 30, 2008 at 9:30 AM via web

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Why is the officer's question in Chapter 12 of "Lord of the Flies" ironic? 

the officer asks Ralph if they were having "a war or something."

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sdchumley | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted October 30, 2008 at 9:54 AM (Answer #1)

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A possible irony exists in that the officer is himself in a war, a World War, something created and fought by adults, so he finds it a bit humorous that children, who adults believe are innocent and naive, would be "having a war or something." Since adults generally believe that children are innocent, that they have not had enough exposure to the harsh realities of the world and of life, they would not be capable of war. Perhaps Wiliam Golding, the author, wants his readers to think about whether or not all humans, regardless of age, are capable of meanness, physical violence, even war. After all, these seemingly innocent boys, after only a couple of days of isolation from civilization, quickly devolve into savage behavior. 

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