How do you account for the change in some of the boys in their time on the island?They knew very well why he hadn’t [killed the piglet]: because of the enormity of the knife descending and...

How do you account for the change in some of the boys in their time on the island?

They knew very well why he hadn’t [killed the piglet]: because of the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh; because of the unbearable blood. (p.41)

Roger sharpened a stick at both ends. (p.234)

How do you account for the change in some of the boys in their time on the island?

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

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They knew very well why he hadn’t [killed the piglet]: because of the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh; because of the unbearable blood. (p.41)

This quote from Lord of the Flies occurs very early on in the boys' adventure.  They were still fresh from civilization, with all of its morals and rules, still ringing in their minds.  The boys had not yet killed anything, so the idea of killing and blood seems very unsettling to them.  Jack was the one in this quote who was unable to lower the knife, and he instantly feels ashamed that he hesitated. 

Part of the boys' transition from proper, English boys to savages has to do with survival.  Jack cannot bear the thought of blood in the quote above, but he also has not been starving for days on end either at this time.  Part of the luxury of civilization is that it provides for people's basic needs, like food and safety.  Out in the jungle on the island, the boys must do what is necessary to survive; they must learn to kill. 

With that being said, some of the boys take the lesson too far.  Roger holds a perverse fascination for terror and intimidation; this is the same boy who threw pebbles at Henry, only just missing. 

"Here, invisible yet strong, was taboo of old life. 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). 

As the novelty of the island begins to slip away and the boys begin to give up on being rescued, Roger's bullying intensifies.  He realizes that the old boundaries are gone.  The quote, "Roger sharpened a stick at both ends," reveals the complete disregard the boy has for human life (234).  Roger is ruthless and a true terror on the island.  He has lost all connection to civilization; the old taboos are gone.

 

 

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