Two separate illustrations of an animal head and a fire on a mountain

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding
Start Free Trial

In the novel Lord of the Flies, at the close of chapter 12, the officer asks Ralph if they're having "A war or something." Explain the irony.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In the novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding, the officer in question who asks if the boys are "having a war or something" appears at the very end of the novel.  He is a naval officer picking up young boys from an island who look rather disheveled.  In reality, the boys are having a war, and Ralph is in danger of dying by the hunters, especially Jack who is relentless in his hunt.  The irony of the comment is that the officer expects this to be a game among boys, not the reality of a true war where some boy might die.  Since irony is the opposite of what one would expect, the comment is complete irony as the officer does not understand the situation as serious at all, but a child's entertainment. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team