How does the theme of belonging apply to Lord of the Flies?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

We can usefully explore the theme of belonging through relating it to the way that the group of boys become sharply divided in terms of their values and beliefs as time goes by on the island. There is a clear line drawn between Ralph and his followers and Jack and his followers, and there is a powerful magnetic attraction on the boys to belong to Jack's group and to embrace the more savage, primeval and dog-eat-dog existence that he embodies. Clearly what Jack can offer the boys is the satisfaction of their irrepressible desire to become animal-like and savage. Note how this is described after Jack kills the pig:

His mind was crowded with memories; memories of the knowledge that had come to them when they closed in on the struggling pig, knowledge that they had outwitted a living thing, imposed their will upon it, taken away its life like a long satisfying drink.

It is this sense of savagery that acts as the magnetic attraction to the boys and compels so many of them to join him. As they become the more powerful group, more and more join them simply to belong to a group that they can be identified with and that they hope will protect them. Belonging in this novel can therefore be discussed through peer pressure and the need for the boys to identify between two moral extremes. Belonging is very rarely a simple matter, and this is something that is demonstrated in this novel through the moral equivocations of the boys.

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Lord of the Flies

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