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

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

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What are examples of trust and distrust in Lord of the Flies?

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One example of trust in Lord of the Flies (though it is misplaced) is when Piggy, understanding himself to be weaker than the other children, tries to ally with Ralph and his cohort. He tries to achieve this by letting Ralph know an embarrassing secret: that people usually denigrate him using the nickname "Piggy." Ralph exploits this for his own gain, immediately announcing it to the tribe. Though Piggy goes on to be Ralph's advisor, this moment helps lead to Piggy's demise, foreshadowed by Jack's later campaign to "hunt Pigs."

An example of distrust is the relationship between Ralph and Jack. They have conflicting agendas on the island: while Ralph wants to establish a form of governance and an ethical code, hoping that they will be rescued, Jack perceives the island as a "survival of the fittest" scenario. As he internalizes the danger of the island, Jack becomes more animalistic and hostile to Ralph, morphing into an antisocial character foil of Ralph and his campaign for society.

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What are examples of betrayal in the novel Lord of the Flies?

In my opinion, the most notable act of betrayal throughout the novel is when the majority of the boys choose to join Jack's tribe at the other end of the island. In Chapter 8, Jack fails at his attempt to usurp power and leaves Ralph's group. Shortly after, the majority of the boys sneak away to join Jack's tribe while they are in the middle of collecting wood for the fire. Ralph feels utterly betrayed by the boys because he was democratically elected to be their leader. Ralph is deeply troubled by the fact that the boys joined Jack's tribe and contemplates giving up. Jack's decision to leave the group and the boys' deciding to join his tribe are considered acts of betrayal. At the beginning of the story, they put their trust in Ralph and agree to make him their leader. By leaving his group and following Jack, the majority of the boys on the island betray Ralph. 

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What are examples of betrayal in the novel Lord of the Flies?

One example of betrayal in Lord of the Flies occurs early on when the boys first meet on the island.  Piggy reveals his unflattering nickname to Ralph, asking him not to tell the other boys.  Later at the first assembly, Jack mockingly calls Piggy 'Fatty' to which Ralph blurts out Piggy's old nickname for all the other boys to hear.  Later Piggy confronts Ralph:

"Piggy's classes were misted again--this time with humiliation.

'You told 'em.  After what I said.'

His face flushed, his mouth trembled.  [...] 'About being called Piggy. I said I didn't care as long as they didn't call me Piggy; an' I said not to tell and then you went an' said straight out---'" (25).

Ralph['s early betrayal of Piggy reveals his immaturity and lack of sensitivity when dealing with relationships.  The scene between the two boys also shows Ralph to be earnest and practical when he reminds Piggy that Jack's nickname was much more insulting. 

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