How does Lord of the Flies relate to belonging?

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e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

We can make a very strong argument for belonging as a theme in Lord of the Flies. Numerous characters express this theme, striving to belong, reacting to being slighted by the group, and changing in order to fit in. 

The strongest character example of the theme of belonging is Jack. Jack is introduced as the leader of a group interested in demonstrating his position with the choir. Later, Jack breaks with the main group as a response to being slighted by Ralph. 

He bristles when Ralph doesn’t respect his getting meat for the group, only talking about the fire.


The rebellion of savages which Jack leads can be interpreted as being entirely concerned with belonging. Jack feels he does not belong to the larger group led by Ralph and so invites other boys to join him. They do and in creating the new group create physical signs of affiliation, painting their faces and bodies. 

Piggy is another character expressive of the theme of belonging. At the outset of the novel he is happy to have a chance to have a fresh start with a new social group. In telling Ralph about himself and about his name, he reveals the fact that he has been an outsider. On the island he has a chance to be part of the group. 

Finally, Ralph is another example of the dangers of existing outside of the group. After Sam and Eric have joined Jack's group, Ralph is alone which leads him to be deemed an enemy and hunted down. 

Ralph's lack of belonging, his outsider status, manifests the social risks seen earlier in the novel as a set of physical dangers. 


gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Golding explores the theme of belonging throughout the novel Lord of the Flies through the difficulties of various characters to fit in with the group of boys and find acceptance among them. The most notable outcasts throughout the novel are Piggy and Simon. Both boys are viewed with contempt, excluded, and ridiculed by the majority of the boys. Piggy is neglected and criticized because of his appearance and annoying personality, while Simon is perceived as weird because of his strange behavior, continual absence from the group, and propensity to faint in public. Both characters are rejected by the majority of the boys and end up being murdered in different scenes of the novel.

The fact that both boys lose their lives is significant and relates to the themes of survival of the fittest and civility vs. savagery. On an island without rules, laws, or regulations, individuals must rely on their physical strength and ability to cooperate with others in order to survive. Piggy and Simon both do not have physically intimidating physiques and are not charismatic individuals. As a result of their strange and unfavorable personalities, the boys become outcasts. Lacking the social support from the other boys, Piggy and Simon are both brutally murdered. Later on in the novel, Ralph also becomes an outcast and is hunted throughout the island by Jack's band of savages. Overall, Golding depicts how social outcasts, who desire to belong in a group, struggle to survive in an environment without the protection provided by society's law enforcement agencies. 

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Lord of the Flies

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