How does the naval officer react when he finds the boys?

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At the end of the novel, Ralph is being chased by Jack's band of savages as the entire island is on fire. As Ralph staggers onto the beach, he looks up to see a naval officer peering down at him. The officer says, "Hullo" and squirms a little at Ralph's filthy appearance (Golding 200). The officer then asks Ralph if there are any adults with him, and Ralph shakes his head. Behind Ralph, the group of painted savages appear and stand behind him in a semi-circle. The officer comments, "Fun and games" (Golding 200). The officer then grins at Ralph and says that they saw the smoke. He jokingly asks Ralph, "What have you been doing? Having a war or something?" (Golding 201). The officers seems shocked when Ralph mentions that two boys were killed. The officer finds out that Ralph is in charge and asks him how many boys are on the island. When Ralph tells him that he doesn't know, the officer says,

"I should have thought that a pack of British boys---you're all British, aren't you?---would have been able to put up a better show than that---I mean---" (Golding 202).

Ralph tries to explain how things drastically got worse, and the officer dismisses Ralph's comments by saying, "I know. Jolly good show. Like the Coral Island" (Golding 201). When the boys begin to weep, the officer looks away and stares at his battleship.

The naval officer is ignorant of the fact that Ralph was actually being hunted, and the boys chasing him were acting like brutal savages. The officer is also disappointed at their appearance and comments that he thought British boys would "put up a better show." His comments are hypocritical given that he is participating in a World War which is equally inhumane. The officer also believes that the boys were engaged in fun and games. He alludes to the British novel The Coral Island, which depicts several children shipwrecked on an island who experience fun adventures. He tragically misinterprets the boys' experience which was much more sinister than the fun and games described in the novel The Coral Island.

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