What do the littl'uns represent in Golding's Lord of the Flies?

Expert Answers

Want to remove ads?

Get ad-free questions with an eNotes 48-hour free trial.

Try It Free No Thanks
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Much like the Roman mob in Shakespeare's tragic play, Julius Caesar, the littl'uns are led by whoever has the most persuasive techniques.  While the Romans are first swayed by the reasonable arguments of Brutus, and shout their approval of him, Marc Antony engages them with his funeral oration in which he employs rhetorical language, employing visual effects such as the bloody stab wounds in Caesar; he persuades the mob that Caesar loved them enough that he bequeathed money to them,.  In fact, the Roman citizenry are so incited by Marc Antony that they riot in the streets.

Similarly, at first the littl'uns are respectufl to Ralph and Piggy sho appeal to their reason by explaining that shelters and fire must be maintained.  However, when Percival relates his dream and sighting of the "beast," and their fears are aroused, along with their hunger, Jack--like Marc Antony--appeals to their stomachs and their emotional needs, telling the small boys that he can kill the beast if there is one just as he and the hunters kill the pig, providing them food.  Thus, the littl'uns are persuaded to join Jack and the hunters since man's primal needs must always first be satiated.  And, when brute force is added to the equation, there is only one response for the littl'uns:  savagery.

By their being persuaded and manipulated by the older boys, the littl'uns represent the "herd" that is often much of mankind.  They are the common, uneducated, and deprived who follow the stronger leader--humanity at its base level.  As such, they provide the voting power for the leaders who are cognizant of their immature and underdeveloped reasoning ability. 

oooooo0 | Student

i agree

Read the study guide:
Lord of the Flies

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question