What value is attached to the behavior of the littluns and biguns throughout the novel Lord of the Flies?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Throughout the novel, the littluns rely on the help of biguns to collect food, make decisions, provide shelter, and protect them from the "beasty." Initially, the littluns listen to their chief, Ralph, and participate in collecting wood for the fire and helping build the first shelter. As the novel progresses, the littluns lose interest in work, and prefer to pick fruit, play, and swim on the island. The littluns, with the exception of Percival, have not been conditioned by society and choose to satiate their physical needs. They become easily frightened by the thought of the "beasty" and do not differentiate between leaders. They follow either Ralph or Jack, depending on who seems more popular. After analyzing their behavior, one can surmise that Golding suggests that the idea of original sin applies to all humans. The littluns are void of society's restrictions and have not been conditioned by civilization yet. They act according to their physical needs and are generally immoral beings, which is evident by their refusal to listen to Ralph, and Johnny's choice to throw sand in Percival's face in Chapter 4.

At the beginning of the novel, the biguns attempt to establish a functional group that maintains a signal fire, builds shelters, holds assemblies, and hunts together. Their organization and democratic tendencies have been impressed upon them by the civilization they have recently left. As the novel progresses, the group of boys divide themselves amongst two tribes under the leadership of Ralph and Jack. The majority of the boys choose to follow Jack's tribe and live like savages. Eventually, barbarism and savagery reign over civility and structure, and Jack's tribe attempts to kill Ralph. Their behavior suggests that all humans are inherently evil, and void of society's laws and restrictions, primitive instincts will be exposed and thrive. Golding believes that without limitations and boundaries, humans' evil instincts will take over.

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Lord of the Flies

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