Two separate illustrations of an animal head and a fire on a mountain

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

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Is there cannibalism in Lord of the Flies?

Quick answer:

No, there is no cannibalism in Lord of the Flies. However, it could be argued that had the naval officer not turned up when he did, the boys' barbarism may have led them to become cannibals.

Expert Answers

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While the boys in Lord of the Flies do not resort to cannibalism, one could argue that this is only because there was other food around and because the naval officer rescued them before hunger or the quest for power had an opportunity to drive them to cannibalism.

The boys are living off a diet of wild pigs, and the closest they get to cannibalism on their journey to savagery is tearing and biting at Simon's skin during his murder. Simon, arguably the most civilized of the lot, arrives to tell Jack's gang that the "beast" they have been afraid of is nothing more than the body of a parachutist. The gang, however, has fallen under Jack's spell to the point that they are behaving as if they have been drugged, and it would perhaps not have been surprising if William Golding had chosen to insert cannibalism into this scene.

This classic novel is filled with just about every other form of savagery that a group of young boys could have thought up. From Roger intentionally lobbing a boulder in Piggy's direction and murdering him to Jack's fearmongering among the younger boys, this story portrays a picture of a group of boys who have embraced savagery and would arguably be likely to embrace cannibalism.

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