How are the novels Animal Farm, by George Orwell, and Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, similar in the way they both start out with no leader and have to adapt?

1 Answer | Add Yours

tamarakh's profile pic

Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

In the very beginning of the story, the animals of George Orwell's Animal Farm suffer under the poor and cruel care of the farmer Mr. Jones, which is ultimately the same as having no leader. Similarly, in the first few days after the boys crash-land on the deserted island i William Golding's Lord of the Flies, they wander about aimlessly because they have no leader.

We see evidence of Mr. Jones's negligence and cruelty in the very first paragraph. Here, the narrator makes a point of describing Mr. Jones's drunkenness, saying that he locked the henhouse but was "too drunk to remember to shut the pop-holes." The pop-holes are small doors in a henhouse, cut to the size of a chicken, that allow the chickens to pop in and out of their henhouse, roaming freely. The problem is, if one leaves the pop-holes open at night, foxes and weasels can gain access as well as the chickens. Hence, in just this first paragraph, Mr. Jones is being characterized as a negligent alcoholic who doesn't care for any lives other than his own. If the animals have such a poor caretaker, then it can be said that they have lived most of their lives without a leader. It's through the vision of Old Major that the animals decide to become their own leaders and take over the farm.


Similarly, the very first chapter of Golding's Lord of the Flies opens with the boys being equally without responsible leadership. The novel opens with Ralph wandering the island, heading towards the lagoon, walking past the scar the plane left when it crashed and thinking he hadn't seen a soul since before the crash. Piggy is the first person Ralph meets on the island, and Piggy's first question to Ralph paints the picture that the kids are all alone on the island, without any grownups: "Where's the man with the megaphone?" As they continue to discuss the wreck and what possibly happened to the pilot of the plane, Piggy asks the followup question: "Aren't there any grownups at all?" Though Ralph instinctively shows jubilation at the prospect of having no grownups on the island to boss them around, Piggy's distress shows he understands the true nature of their problem--they have no leadership. Though Ralph attempts to take over as leader, as the story progresses and lives are taken, it becomes clear exactly how detrimental it was for the boys to have been without strong leadership.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,935 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question