From The Lord of the Flies, which quotes show that the boys, being immature, violent and irresponsible, eroded their attempts to set up civilization?

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gkopf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The boys attempt to set up their own society, but their immaturity and jealousy prevent this from being truly realized.  Some examples of quotes that describe their violence and immaturity include:

At first, the boys try to keep order and control by using a conch shell as a talking stick.  When someone has the conch shell, they have the attention of the crowd.  However, eventually, the boys stop respecting the conch shell and break it:  

"The rock struck Piggy a glancing blow from chin to knee; the conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist" (Ch. 11).  

This is an example of anarchy in their society.  When they first land on the island, they try to be responsible, but their makeshift society quickly falls apart when they stop following their own rules.

The violence of the boys grows throughout the novel.  When they kill a pig to eat, they chant, "Kill the pig! Cut his throat! Kill the pig! Bash him in!" (Ch. 7)  The chant foreshadows their later acts of violence against each other.  Later in the novel, the group kills a boy named Simon, and they chant, "Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood! Do him in!”  The chant signals their growing violence and inhumanity the longer they stay on the island.  When they turn against each other in this way, their society further erodes.

aishukul | Student

The group of boys get stranded on an island with no civilization. There are no adults to tell them what to do or how to act. Ralph is chosen to be the leader of the boys, but another boy named Jack is jealous of him and believes he would be a better leader instead. His jealousy takes over and soon the other boys make a separate clan with Jack as their leader. They become savages. Due to Jack and the other boys' immaturity (except for Ralph, Piggy, Sam, and Eric who still remain in Ralph's group), they turn into savages. If there were adults on the island, the adults would know how to handle the situation of being stranded on the island. However, because the boys are immature, and young they fall to the inevitable savagery. At the beginning, all the boys believe they should have rules, like in their society, since they aren't savages. However, due to their immaturity and darkness in their hearts, the boys turn violent.

This can be shown in the quote: "Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill the blood!"(152). During this part of the novel, Jack and the other boys are dancing for fun, and accidentally kill Simon thinking he's the beast. When the novel had first started, Jack was afraid to even kill a pig. The boys all believed it was a horrifying thing to see blood pouring out of a dead pig, since they were used to living in a peaceful society.

Another quote that represents how the boys, being immature, erode attempts to set up civilization is where Ralph says to Jack: "You didn't ought to have let that fire out. You said you'd keep the fire going--"(71). The hunters (Jack and his choir boys) were in charge of the fire--their only hope of rescue, and yet they let the fire out. They thought meat was more important than getting back to their civilization. This showed that the irresponsible boys didn't care much about setting up civilization and simply wanted to satisfy their hunger, even though the fire was a crucial part in their rescue. From their immaturity and violence, it can be seen how they slowly stop attempting to have and maintain a normal civilized life.

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Lord of the Flies

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