Two of the four main characters survive. Discuss why none of the four characters should have survived in Lord of the Flies.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is possible to argue that the four main characters of this novel could easily have all been killed by the savagery that falls upon the boys in this island. Golding's novel charts the way in which civilisation quickly fades away to the natural savagery that lies at the heart of all humans if the trappings of civilisation are removed. He suggests that the natural state of humanity is one of chaos and darkness, where humans can kill each other and give themselves over to a bloodlust without thinking about questions of morals and what is right or wrong.

This is something that is signposted in Chapter 4 when Jack thinks about his exultant state when he killed the pig:

His mind was crowded with memories; memories of the knowledge that had come to them when they closed in on the struggling pig, knowledge that they had outwitted a living thing, imposed their will upon it, taken away its life like a long satisfying drink.

The quote clearly highlights the power of imposing one's will over a weaker creature and the savage joy in taking away the life of somebody else "like a long satisfying drink." It is important to note that the simile that is used in this quote is not presented as being negative in any way but is rather used to suggest the assuaging of a thirst that all humans have, suggesting once again that violence is the natural state of humans. These are the kind of arguments that could be used to suggest that this novel could have easily resulted in the deaths of all four of its main characters. From this perspective, it is fortunate that two of them survived.

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