Who are Maurice and Roger in Lord of the Flies by William Golding?

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Roger and Maurice are two of the older boys on the island in Lord of the Flies, by William Golding. 

Maurice is not a bad boy, though he certainly ends up among the savages. He tries to cheer the littluns up when they are distraught about the potential of a beast on the island by doing something comical. He "of all the boys . . . was the most at home" on the island, and he is helpful when it comes to making signal fires which require much more smoke than fire. Despite that, he is not convinced that there are no beasts on the island. 

As the novel progresses, Maurice follows Jack's lead and becomes less civilized. He and Roger deliberately destroy the littluns' sand castles and Maurice is an active participant in developing the pig-killing rituals; he suggests adding the ominous drums. While his savagery never rises to the same level as Jack's or Roger's, Maurice must be considered one of the savages by the end of the story.

Roger, on the other hand, is a cruel and morose boy from the beginning. He keeps "to himself with an inner intensity of avoidance and secrecy," and he is convinced they will never be rescued (think Eeyore). 

He was not noticeably darker than when he had dropped in, but the shock of black hair, down his nape and low on his forehead, seemed to suit his gloomy face....

Not only does he kick down the sand castles with Maurice, but then Roger tests the limits of his self-restraint by throwing rocks near Henry, one of the littluns. 

Roger gathered a handful of stones and began to throw them. Yet there was a space round Henry, perhaps six yards in diameter, into which he dare not throw. Here, invisible yet strong, was the taboo of the old life. Round the squatting child was the protection of parents and school and policemen and the law. Roger’s arm was conditioned by a civilization that knew nothing of him and was in ruins.

Though he has some restraint now, he quickly devolves into savagery. He is the one who drops the boulder on Piggy, smashing both him and the conch. He is the one Jack uses to perpetrate violence on the other boys to make them comply, including Samneric. There is even an indication that Roger's savagery is worse than Jack's, hinting that if a rescue had not happened, Jack would have eventually succumbed to Roger's violence.

Roger edged past the chief, only just avoiding pushing him with his shoulder.

Roger's self-restraint is evident now, but his history says he will get worse. 

Both boys are examples of how humanity deteriorates into savagery when there is no civilization or restraint to keep it from happening.