Explain the struggle between order and chaos in Lord of the Flies. 

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Lord of the Flies, William Golding intends to show that savagery is more of a basic instinct in human beings than we would like to believe. His choice of young schoolboys, including choirboys - seemingly angelic - purposefully sets the scene with innocence personified in the vision of Ralph "the boy with fair hair," The  novel will end with Ralph's tears as he cries for "the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart" and of course, the death of his friends.

Piggy and Ralph are the first two to make an appearance on the island and they represent the order and sense of reason that will be almost overcome by Jack and his overriding need to be free of anything the "grown-ups" might say or expect of the boys. It essential that Piggy thinks about his "auntie" and Ralph is proud of his father , a Commander n the Navy. These are the elements that allow them to keep order, entrench the conch as a symbol of democracy and fairness and keep their hopes of rescue alive.

Jack, the head chorister, has other ideas. Her is strong-willed and excited about life outside of the expectations and rules of grown-ups. He is manipulative and recognizes fear in the boys which he uses to his advantage, especially as it relates to "the Beast."  The efforts to escape the beast, kill the beast or disprove its existence ensure that the plot revolves around the boys constant struggle to do the right thing.

The death of Simon brings the boys to the verge of complete savagery as even Piggy and Ralph are unwittingly drawn into the chanting. It is significant that Simon almost understands the beast at this point and his death is far more representative of barbaric behavior, despite the boys earlier consensus that "..we're not savages. We're English."

When the boys are rescued, it appears that, except for the fact that some boys have died; significantly, Simon and Piggy being those who are the voices of goodness and reason on the island; order will ultimately be restored. The irony of it is that, whilst the officer thinks that the boys will have had "fun and games" without any grown-ups, appearances speak differently and the officer wonders whether they had "a war or something."The officer is disappointed that British boys have not "put up a better show" and, waiting for Ralph to gather himself after an emotional outburst, he looks towards his ship which is a British warship.

The fight then between good and evil, order and chaos continues. Recognizing the "enemy" is more difficult than anyone can imagine, it would seem!



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Lord of the Flies

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