Two separate illustrations of an animal head and a fire on a mountain

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding
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There are many instances of internal conflict in Lord of the Flies. In these instances, the boys battle their own fears, insecurities, and dark emotions. Jack and Ralph both struggle with jealousy when the boys' allegiance gravitates away from them. Simon's encounter with the pig's head on a stick is also a prime example of internal conflict because Simon's own emotions and thoughts are projected onto the Lord of the Flies.

One of the most somber examples of internal conflict, however, occurs after Simon's murder when Ralph and Piggy discuss what happened. They both realize they have played a part in murder, and the guilt and confusion is overwhelming. Piggy tries to rationalize the act, and this conversation occurs, with Ralph speaking first:

"You were outside. Outside the circle. You never really came in. Didn't you see what we--what they did?"

There was loathing, and at the same time a kind of feverish excitement, in his voice.

"Didn't you see, Piggy?" . . . .

"It was an accident," said Piggy suddenly, "that's what it was. An accident." His voice shrilled again. "Coming in the dark--he hadn't no business crawling like that out of the dark. He was batty. He asked for it." He gesticulated widely again. "It was an accident."

In this passage, Ralph and Piggy are struggling with their own sense of right and wrong and an overwhelming sense of their personal moral failure. They cannot resolve it, not having a way to absolve themselves from the guilt. They first latch onto the idea of the murder being an "accident," then move to denial, saying they were "outside," and then saying, "We never done nothing, we never seen nothing." They meet Samneric, and they, too, deny having been part of the murder, saying they left early. Golding then writes with great irony, "Memory of the dance that none of them had attended shook all four boys convulsively."

In this passage Golding uses dialogue and descriptions of the boys' physical actions to reveal the internal conflict they are experiencing.

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