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Lord of the Flies Would this story have been different in any important ways if there...

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danniethomas | Student, Undergraduate

Posted December 15, 2011 at 9:32 AM via web

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Lord of the Flies


Would this story have been different in any important ways if there had been both boys and girl on the island? In other words, is this a story about the capacity of humans for violence, or is it a story about the male capacity for violence? Explain.

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bigdreams1 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted December 15, 2011 at 9:54 AM (Answer #2)

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Ooohhh....great question.

I don't think there is any doubt that women have great capability for violence. In fact, in some ways, women are more vicious...perhaps not physically but emotionally.  In my experience, women hold grudges for much longer than guys. A scorned woman will hate you forever, while a guy who gets mad at you may punch you out..but will get over it and get on with is pretty quickly.

Having said that...I do think the island would have looked different with girls on it.  There would have been a softer touch. For example, (although a stereotype) women tend to be nesters and by nature...nurturing.  They may have helped form "families" and established home groups if they were there...which may have delayed the onset of violence for awhile.

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 15, 2011 at 10:14 AM (Answer #3)

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Jack and his vicious hunters on an island with girls!? What a great proposition. I imagine Jack would have been distracted a bit from his hunting obsession had there been some defenseless females stranded with him. Sadly, I believe he would have taken advantage of them just as he did with the other boys, and I don't believe he would have stopped at just beatings and torture. As for Ralph, he would have been distracted even more with young ladies dallying on the beach, and he would probably have fallen in love before help arrived. As for Piggy, well, the presence of girls probably wouldn't have mattered at all.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 15, 2011 at 10:59 AM (Answer #4)

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There is no way for us to know because we cannot possibly disentangle human nature from culture and socialization.  Post 2, for example, generalizes about ways in which females are or are not more vicious than males.  But how can we possibly say that this is innate rather than that it is caused by the way that we socialize men and women?

My guess, though, is that there would have been no difference.  It's not as if societies in which there are women do not go to war at the drop of a hat.  So there's no evidence to suggest (Lysistrata notwithstanding) that women can help reduce violence.

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lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted December 15, 2011 at 11:00 AM (Answer #5)

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I wonder if the younger boys would have fared better if there had been some more nurturing young ladies on the island and not just Simon to look out for the younguns. I wonder too if the older boys would have just another thing to be rivals about in regards to the attention or affection of the girls.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 17, 2011 at 11:27 AM (Answer #6)

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It seems noteworthy to mention that Ralph is only "twelve years and a few months" and "not yet old enough for adolescence."  And, since Ralph is among the older boys, the fact that they are not adolescents changes the affect that the presence of girls would have upon them.  For, they would probably be perceived as more of a nuisance that as objects of desire.

Golding's study of the innate nature of humans is more controlled without two gender groups, and, since his novel is in response to Ballatyne's The Coral Island--which is mentioned in the first chapter--the contrast is certainly more effective without females. 

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 5, 2012 at 5:44 PM (Answer #7)

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The older boys generally showed little regard for the younger boys. Though they did try to assuage their night-fears to some extent, they showed little compassion for those boys who held a different set of skills and needs. This, to me, suggests that the presence of girls would not have changed much on the island and would not have softened or altered the behavior of the older boys. 

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