After Maurice and Roger destroy the littluns' sandcastles, Roger stalks the young boy named Henry. When he begins to throw stones, why does he just throw them near him instead of directly at him?

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

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Golding's characterization of Roger makes him out to be a predator and a bully, but Roger has also been conditioned by society that bullying and using violence are not acceptable behaviors.  This sort of conditioning would have been reinforced at school, on the play ground, and by his parents, teachers, and other adults.  When Roger throws the stones but chooses to miss, he is still acting within the confines and expectations of his old life.  The narrator comments:

"Round the squatting child was the protection of parents and school and policemen and the law.  Roger's arm was conditioned by a civilization that knew nothing of him and was in ruins" (62).

In many ways, Roger's actions suggest that he is testing the limits of his new environment to see if any of the other boys will intervene on Henry's behalf or make him stop his behavior.  Only a moment later, Jack will find Roger hiding behind the tree, and Roger blushes to have been caught doing wrong.  Jack says nothing of it, and his not mentioning Roger's misdeeds may have served as a non-verbal acceptance of his actions, clueing Roger into the fact that the old rules of civilization no longer matter on their new island.

 

 

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