What comparison is implied at the end of the novel?
At the end of chapter 12, after the arrival of the naval officer, Golding uses the reaction of the officer and the behavior of the boys to create a metaphor about the nature of man.
The naval officer who arrives to rescue the boys is initially horrified at the way the boys have behaved and at at how their civility had degenerated. The irony is that the officer embodies the same qualities as they boys: he is civil and human, and simultaneously an officer in Britain's armed forces, an organization whose main purpose is to kill. The naval ship in which the officer arrives serves as a symbol of war and destruction similar to that Jack and the hunter wreaked upon the boys. The sentence in which this comparison becomes apparent is, “He turned away to give them time to pull themselves together; and waited, allowing his eyes to rest on the trim cruiser in the distance.” Like Ralph, the officer clings to a code of civilization he does not understand. Like Jack, he unquestioningly follows his primitive desires.