In The Lord of the Flies, how does the dialogue between the rescuers and the boys highlight the context of British Colonization?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The encounter between the rescuers and the boys on the island helps to highlight British colonization by emphasizing how one group perceives the other. For all practical purposes, the boys have become "indigenous" to the island. When the naval officer encounters them, he perceives them as "the other." While the boys might have been British, in the eyes of the naval officer, they are "different" and viewed in a dismissive context largely reserved for indigenous people under British colonization.

The encounter between the rescuers and the boys reflects British colonization because the rescuers do not really seem to listen to the boys or authenticate their experiences.  The fact that the naval officer refers to what the boys have been doing as "fun and games" is reflective of this.  The dialogue that ensues is not a reflective and thoughtful conversation. Rather, the naval officer wonders how British boys could have discarded British norms so easily.  This is another example of how the dialogue between the officer and the boys highlights British colonization.  There is never a true and in-depth understanding of another point of view.  Similar to British colonization, what transpires between the naval officer and the boys is reflective of Britain's glory; the boys are a disappointment—the naval officer never considers that there might be a flaw in the British system.

Finally, similar to British colonization, the British officer's response to legitimate expression is distant.  The officer does not validate Ralph's feelings of being overwhelmed by sadness.  Rather, he turns away.  In depicting a lack of emotional connection and true understanding between the officer and the boys, British colonization is highlighted.

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