What advantages and disadvantages are faced by the boys in their new status removed from parental control?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are several advantages that the boys have after crash-landing on the uninhabited island. The boys have an opportunity to test their survival skills and create a functional society on the tropical island, where food is readily available. Being independent on the island offers each child an opportunity to grow and mature. Freedom from parental supervision also provides the boys with opportunities to have fun and play. They can swim in the natural pool, hunt pigs, and hang out by the beach instead of going to school or following their parent's directives. The boys also have an opportunity to form lasting bonds with each other and become closer friends. Being on the island together gives them more time to spend with each other, which can positively impact their friendships. The boys may also become more environmentally conscious after spending an extended period of time on the island.

Despite the many advantages, the boys also face numerous disadvantages being on the island alone. Without parental supervision, negative behaviors may go unchecked, and the boys may begin harming each other. The boys also lack rational adults that would help explain mysterious things, like the "beast." The boys also lack a nurturing adult to help comfort them when they are frightened and confused. The authority of adults would also help keep the boys organized and focused on survival.

Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When the boys discover that they are stranded on an uninhabited island and are free from parental control, some of them are overjoyed at hearing the news.  Ralph is so ecstatic that he stands on his head.  However, as their time on the island progresses, many of the boys realize that the disadvantages far out weigh any advantages gained.


  • Independence--The boys can do whatever pleases them.
  • Fun-- "It's a good island. [...] It's wizard" (34). -- The boys fancy themselves as having a grand adventure like Coral Island.
  • Opportunity for personal growth-- The boys can test their strengths and abilities in the wild.  For example, Jack teaches himself how to track and hunt.


  • Leadership--The boys appoint Ralph as chief, but he struggles to enforce discipline among the boys to ensure that the rules are followed.
  • Security--Without the calming presence of adults on the island, the boys become frightened of the possible beast.
  • Unchecked bullying--Boys like Roger and Jack quickly get out of control.
  • Lawlessness-- This goes along with the lack of leadership and unchecked bullying, but clearly the lack of clearly defined rules and expectations lead to some of the most horrific moments in the novel. 
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Lord of the Flies

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