How does loss of identity help bring about the devastation that occurs in "Lord of the Flies"?Since the characters' loss of identity is a predominant theme of the book, please discuss one or more...

How does loss of identity help bring about the devastation that occurs in "Lord of the Flies"?

Since the characters' loss of identity is a predominant theme of the book, please discuss one or more characters' loss of identity as the narrative progresses. How is this loss demonstrated in the novel, and how does loss of identity help bring about the devastation that occurs in the book?

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Golding's "Lord of the Flies" makes a cogent point about societies:  one's identity is closely connected to that society.  Because Piggy and Simon are perceived as rather odd in their Australian society, they have developed more of their own identity,becoming true individuals who tenaciously holding to their rational explanations and intuitive understandings respectively.  This is in contrast to the others for whom identification has come from the accoutrements of their society such as club memberships, affiliations with organizations, etc. 

Also, the conditioning of their society has given the boys their identities.  For instance, Roger at first does not hit Henry with stones that he throws because his conditioning in society has taught him that there are punitive measures against certain behaviors.  However, once these punitive measures are eliminated for a time, Roger gives free rein to his sadistic nature.  The main truth of Golding's allegory is that the innate evil of man will surface without the controls of society.

coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the novel 'Lord of the Flies' by William Golding, one of the ways in which the author highlights the group's loss of identity is in the way their clothing changes. One example of this is in the choirboy uniforms. In Golding's time it was a common occurence for top boarding schools to offer choral scholarships to gifted boy singers. (Some still do.) They would have sung at different cathedrals - some abroad - and competed in competitions. Cathedrals and churches are christian establishments and so the identity of these boys (and their costumes) is the outward demonstration of their 'good' christian identity. So Golding has this gradually peeled away (collars,cloaks,heavy winter weight robes etc) as we see the boys' values also peeling away.

Read the study guide:
Lord of the Flies

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question