What is the "taboo"  in Chapter 4 in the "Lord of the Flies"?  What do Roger's action have to do with this taboo?

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luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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The "taboo of the old life" that Golding refers to here is the taboo against hurting someone unnecessarily; against being savage.  Roger is throwing stones at another of the children, Henry.  Roger intentionally throws the stone to miss Henry. He throws it to land a few feet from him.  His arm, according to the story, is conditioned to avoid hitting the boy because of that taboo against harming another person.  The stone itself, a relic formed in ancient times, is symbolic of those ancient times when savagery was the norm because savagery often meant survival. It is only the remembrance of civilization that keeps Roger at this point from hitting Henry.  Sadly, that civility will leave Roger soon.

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blametherain | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

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The word "Taboo" can be seen as prohibition from religious or social conventions, making this part of the novel all the more evidence for Golding's book as a microcosm of World War 2. Here taboo could be seen as a comparison to the military background and is synonymous of the way many people are fighting in something that they don't undestand. Similarly Maurice and Roger are still attached to the "taboo of old life" that they were forced to live by previously and have kept these rules because they are bound by the constraints of society despite not understanding their purpose.

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