What are the themes of rules and order, and civilization in the Lord of the Flies?Also please explain how rules are the only thing that the boys have left that ties them with civilization.  Thanks!

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The boys connection to rules and order are a way that they can maintain their ties to civilization in Lord of the Flies.  In their early meetings, Ralph uses the idea of "hands up" like at schol to regulate and monitor the boys' participation of the meeting.  He chooses a system that the boys are both familiar and comfortable; school rules are a natural go-to for rules and order.  Even Jack early on emphasizes the value of rules, still identifying himself with his old life and civilization:

"'We've got to have rules and obey them. After all, we're not savages. We're English, and the English are best at everything'" (Ch. 2).

Crash-landing on the uninhabited island forcefully removed every aspect of civilization from the boys.  They have no connection to adults or any established society; their only true link is the ideas and teachings that they brought with them.  Roger's scene with Henry perfectly illustrates his ties to society. He throws rocks at the young boy, but chooses to miss becase he still feels that connection to authority from his old life:

"There was a space round Henry, perhaps six yards in diameter, into which [Roger] dare not throw. Here, invisible yet strong, was the taboo of the old life" (Ch. 4).


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