Lord of the Flies by William Golding

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Should the boys in Lord of the Flies be held accountable for their actions in the context of the situation on the island?

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Dolly Doyle eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The question of how accountable the boys are for their actions depends on a variety of factors. Their age might be the most obvious. Most of the boys would not be considered proper teenagers yet, with the oldest among them being only twelve years old. The ones who are much younger are certainly less accountable, since they look to the older boys for guidance and have not yet developed enough reason to make properly informed choices.

More than likely, no legal system would condemn these children beyond putting them in a rehabilitative center. They were thrust into a horrible situation without adult guidance—emotions like fear and desperation got the better of them. That children would believe a "beast" is prowling the island would not be seen as out of the ordinary either, since even at age twelve, a child's brain is not yet fully developed. Their abilities to reason are not at the same level as an adult's. If anything, these boys would probably be given psychological help after their...

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