Lord of the Flies by William Golding

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Why is the officer's question in Chapter 12 of "Lord of the Flies" ironic? The officer asks Ralph if they were having "a war or something."

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Although Ralph tries to evade Jack's tribe in Chapter Twelve, he is eventually forced to flee his hiding place once he realizes that Jack has set the jungle on fire to smoke him out. He is chased by the crazed hunters down to the beach, where he collapses, only to see a naval officer standing in front of him. The officer's ship had come to the island after spotting the fire, and he wonders whether the boys are "having a war or something" or up to "fun and games." 

This is ironic in multiple ways. First, although the officer does not mean the term literally, what is occurring on the island is indeed very much a war with real lives at stake. There is something sinister in how easy it is to...

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