Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Some quotes about innocence and experience in "Lord Of The Flies"?

Expert Answers info

Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write9,839 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

One particular moment where the boys' naive childhood innocence is on display takes place towards the end of chapter 5. After Jack and his hunters dismiss themselves from the group assembly, Ralph and Piggy lament about their dire situation. The boys then begin wishing that there were adults with them on the island, because "grownups" understand life and would create an organized society. Piggy says,

"Grownups know things...They ain't afraid of the dark. They'd meet and have tea and discuss. Then things 'ud be all right-" (Golding, 72).

Ralph and Piggy go on to say, "They wouldn't quarrel--...Or talk about a beast--" (Golding, 72). That night, a firefight takes place above the island, and a paratrooper is shot out of the sky.

The boys innocently perceive the world of adults as structured, just, and civilized. Ironically, the same "rational" and "civilized" adults that the boys respect are currently involved in a world war. Ralph and Piggy naively believe that adults would not quarrel with one another, which is absolutely false. One of the themes Golding examines throughout the novel is that humans are inherently flawed beings, which is why wars take place and humans quarrel. Despite being older and more experienced, adults still possess the capacity to harm other humans, which is something Ralph and Piggy do not consider during their conversation. 

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Jonathan Beutlich, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12), Professional Writer

bookB.A. from Calvin University

bookM.A. from Dordt University


calendarEducator since 2014

write6,050 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Science, and History

I like this one from the very end of the book, when Ralph has finally been rescued.  

And in the middle of them, with filthy body, matted hair, and unwiped nose, Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy.

The "them" in the quote is Ralph's rescuers.  The quote is quite clear in its intent.  It's so clear in fact, that I believe it isn't Ralph thinking it.  I believe it is Golding speaking directly to the reader.  In either case, the quote reaffirms to the reader that the boys started life on the island as innocent children, and that they all have lost that innocence through their horrific experience.  Ralph has witnessed true evil blossoming from boys that he once called his friends.  He has witnessed violence, destruction, murder, betrayal, and sacrifice.  He truly has lost all of the innocence that he once had.  

You could use this quote too.  

Yes, laugh. Go on, laugh. There’s them on this island as would laugh at anything. And what happened? What’s grown-ups goin’ to think? Young Simon was murdered.

Piggy is saying this quote.  It shows innocence and experience, because Piggy is explaining the loss of innocence through the murder of Simon. Simon also happens to be the most innocent of all the characters in the book as well.  

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial