How does Lord of the Flies show how society can survive with authoritative restraint?

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rmhope eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lord of the Flies presents a negative example, showing "what makes things break up like they do." One could imagine how the story could have ended differently if the boys had scrupulously followed the rules they set up for themselves at the beginning of the novel. At their first meeting, Ralph and Jack are both on the same page, and when the boys decide to have a signal fire, Jack states, "I agree with Ralph. We've got to have rules and obey them." With the orderly division of labor the boys set up for building shelters, tending the signal fire, and hunting, life on the island could have been idyllic. But it would have required the boys to submit unfailingly to the authority of the rules and to restrain their impulses. Unfortunately, in their first experience with fire, the boys overdo it, and the fire rages uncontrolled, producing their first casualty. Later, Jack, who has divided the choir boys into hunters and ones who watch the signal fire, gets carried away with hunting and draws the fire-keepers into the hunt, causing the fire to go out just as a ship passes the island. This shows how easily and quickly the boys could have been rescued if they had only submitted themselves to the original authoritative restraints on their behavior. If the boys had tended the fire according to the rules and not followed their desire for meat and hunting, the ship would have seen them, and their brief experience as castaways would have ended successfully. 

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Lord of the Flies

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