In Chapter 12 of Lord of the Flies, what is ironic about Samneric's behavior?

Expert Answers
gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 12, Ralph sneaks close to Castle Rock and recognizes the two boys guarding the fort. Golding writes,

"Ralph put his head down on his forearms and accepted this new fact like a wound. Samneric were part of the tribe now. There was no chance of rescuing them and building up an outlaw tribe at the other end of the island" (268).

Samneric had been two of Ralph's biggest supporters throughout the novel. They followed Ralph and were loyal to him until they were taken prisoner by Jack. Ralph knew that they never supported Jack and his band of savages, and is hurt to see them currently in charge of guarding Castle Rock. Ralph has to take caution when he attempts to speak to them and worries that they will run and tell the other savages. Golding even writes that Samneric felt ashamed when they remembered their loyalty to Ralph. They even aggressively tell Ralph to leave and are painted like savages. Ironically, Samneric have become the beings they once despised and attempt to kill Ralph, the person they once admired, by telling the savages where he is hiding. 

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The contrast in the behavior of Samneric in Chapter 12 of "Lord of the Flies" is unexpected:

The twins were examining Ralph curiously, as though they were seeing him for the first time.

At the end of Chapter 11, Roger approaches the twins who lie in terror after being told by Jack that they must "join the tribe."  Later, when Roger "advanced upon them as one wielding a nameless authority," the twins become savages.  For this reason they examine Ralph in Chapter 12 as though they have not seen him before. Just as the twins have felt terror, so, too, does Ralph feel "a spasm of terror" that sends him shaking.  For, he senses the evil inherent in the remaining boys as do Samneric when they are advanced upon by the sinister Roger.

That Samneric are now hunting him disturbs Ralph greatly as this behavior of the twins is not what has been typical of them.  When Ralph finds them painted, they are ashamed that they have yielded to the "nameless authority" of evil.

Read the study guide:
Lord of the Flies

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question