How is friendship represented in the novel Lord of the Flies?

Friendship is represented in Lord of the Flies as something that is difficult to sustain. Power-hungry individuals, peer pressure, and the threat of hunger and being stranded for the long-term inspire most boys to think only of themselves.

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At the best of times, friendships between children sometimes require some intervention from adults to keep things civil. In an environment like that faced by the characters in Lord of the Flies, where there are no adults, no guarantees of a safe future, and no certainty as to where their next meal is coming from or whether they will ever be rescued, friendships are a difficult thing to sustain.

While the littluns are often portrayed as sticking together, possibly forming some semblance of friendship between them, the relationships between the older boys are fraught with difficulties, and cannot be described as any form of friendship.

While Ralph is originally declared leader, he is constantly undermined by Jack, who can in no way be considered a friend to anyone. Jack's unfriendly ways can be seen throughout the novel, such as when he abandons the signal fire (thereby missing out on an opportunity for rescue) and carelessly breaks Piggy's glasses.

Simon is probably the friendliest and most rational of the lot, but it doesn't get him far. Slowly the boys fall under Jack's version of leadership, and when Simon rushes back to tell the boys that the "beast" is definitely not real, the boys, who by now are in some sort of stupor, think that Simon is the beast, and his friendly act of coming to tell them that there is nothing to worry about results in his death.

However, it must be noted that there are some signs of friendship. For example, Samneric eventually warn Ralph that Jack and his pack of hunters are planning to hunt him down that night. Luckily for Ralph, their plan is interrupted by the arrival of a naval officer that heralds the boys' rescue.

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I disagree somewhat with the response arguing that friendships on the island are insincere. To explain my point of view, I will focus on Piggy and Ralph. Although Ralph at first ridicules Piggy along with the other boys in the island, Ralph changes over the course of the novel.

Ralph comes to understand that Piggy is the most intelligent one on the island, and Ralph realizes he should listen to Piggy’s ideas rather than dismiss them.

By the time Jack begins targeting Piggy with violence, Ralph challenges Jack’s actions. When Ralph considers resigning his position as chief, Piggy offers him encouragement, saying that Ralph is the only one fit to fulfill the role. Ralph defends Piggy in front of the boys when Jack tries to malign him for not searching for the beast. Ralph states the obvious: now that Jack has broken one of Piggy’s lenses, Piggy can’t see very well. Although this seems like practicality on Ralph’s part, this statement may also be a declaration of his friendship with Piggy.

Ralph experiences a sort of coming-of-age during his time on the island. Part of this maturation includes his changing treatment of Piggy and the deepening of the pair’s friendship. While he ridicules Piggy’s accent and appearance earnestly in the beginning, Ralph eventually teases Piggy in a joking manner that is typical of male bonding patterns. Right before Piggy is killed, Piggy cries out for Ralph because he can’t see what’s going on. This shows how much Piggy trusts Ralph.

At the end of the novel, one of the reasons Ralph cries in front of the naval officer is for the “fall through the air of a true, wise friend called Piggy.” While this quote could mean that Ralph laments the loss of civilization that Piggy’s symbolic death represents, it could also suggest that Ralph understands Piggy as an example of friendship. While Ralph may not have a genuine friendship with Piggy at the beginning, by the end of the novel the pair demonstrates the mutual trust, kindness, and respect between two best friends.

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Throughout the novel, the friendship between the boys is portrayed as fragile and insincere on the island. Simon, the only purely innocent character in the novel, is friendly and willing to help anyone in need. Simon volunteers to help Ralph build the shelters and also walks throughout the forest at night to let Piggy know where the group of boys is located. However, Simon is viewed as an outcast and the boys continually overlook him which means that his friendships are not mutual. Ralph's friendship with Piggy is not genuine because Ralph is willing to ridicule Piggy, and Piggy only seeks Ralph's protection. At the beginning of the novel, Ralph and Jack attempt to become friends, but soon become enemies after Jack's jealousy threatens Ralph's position as leader. The majority of the boys who are friendly to Jack are insincere in their kindness because they fear him. Even Roger, Jack's most trusted "friend," oversteps his authority when he no longer fears Jack. The only two characters who share a mutual friendship are the twins, Samneric. They are the only boys on the island who are truly concerned about one another's well-being and are considered loyal friends.

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