In William Golding's Lord of the Flies, why does Roger not hit Henry with the stones?  

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter four of William Golding's novel Lord of the Flies, one of the little boys, Henry, is playing along the beach. He is unaware that Roger, on of the older boys, is following him and watching. At first Roger is careful to stay behind trees as he watches, but soon Henry is absorbed with his play and Roger comes out of hiding, unafraid of being seen by the younger boy.

Roger decides to amuse himself by throwing stones at Henry, and at first he intentionally misses his target by five yards. 

[T]here was a space round Henry, perhaps six yards in diameter, into which he dare not throw. Here, invisible yet strong, was the taboo of the old life. Round the squatting child was the protection of parents and school and policemen and the law. Roger’s arm was conditioned by a civilization that knew nothing of him and was in ruins.

At this point in the novel, Roger is still living according to the rules and laws of the civilized world, despite the fact that there are no actual restraints on the island. By the end of the novel, however, Roger is the cruelest savage in Jack's tribe and he suffers no pangs of conscience about anything he does. 

vampress | Student

As the boys spend their time on the island, they start losing their grip on reality and civilisation-instead they become savages at a point.

Throwing stones at 'littluns' is one of the signs of becoming a savage. Roger throws the stones but does not aim directly at Henry because it is his civilisation nagging him in his mind not to hurt others.

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Lord of the Flies

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