Adversity in 'Lord of the Flies'

Categories: Allegory

Adversity is presented in many forms during ‘Lord of the Flies’ for the main character Ralph. It comes not only in the form of other people but a corruption of what society the boys on the island have managed to hold onto. One of the strongest forms of adversity came in the form of a strong and outspoken boy Jack; Jack often overwhelms and disregards things that Ralph, the chief of the boys on the island, has said to be done.

Ralph, we can see, struggles to hold his control over the group of boys when Jack refuses to believe the importance of these jobs.

Ralph’s biggest struggle against adversity against Jack happens during a time of panic and distress. We know he struggles for power as Jack ‘interrupted’ him, use of the word ‘interrupt’ shows that there is no respect between the two of them. As there is no respect, especially for the chief of the tribe, it causes adversity between the more outspoken members of the tribe and Ralph because they believe they can override his authority.

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Here Golding explores adversity through his language choices.

His language choices can be very important when portraying adversity within the group of boys; certain words portray different levels of adversity for example ‘mutinously’ shows that there is a high level of adversity as the boys are unhappy with the situation they are in. Golding also explored adversity through the emotional turmoil of being on an adult-less island. Without adults, the children have no boundaries and therefore have to understand for themselves the boundaries of adult life; what is socially acceptable and unacceptable.

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They did this by making mistakes and learning from them, they do everything they to keep what society has instilled upon them; with rules and roles in their society. They have had to grow up and overcome the adversity by becoming adults and learning to survive and fend for themselves and the littluns by building their shelters and learning to hunt and ‘kill the pig’. He has explored the struggle of adversity particularly well through Ralph, this is because it easy to see how well he steps into the role of chief and protector of the group, he overcomes the adversity of growing into adult thought well.

He understands what the basics are as he knows they need food, hygiene for safety and smoke signal for passing ships to see, this is obvious because he knows they need a smoke signal or they ‘will die’. One of the biggest forms of adversity with which the boys struggled was undoubtedly learning to cope and overcome the fear the littluns had instilled upon themselves associated with ‘the beast’.

Golding does this by changing the way Ralph handles the crisis and changing his basic survival instincts back to that of the society the boys have left behind and learn to be compassionate towards the obviously scared young boys. This is obvious because throughout the book Ralph has been harsh, we can see this most in the first few chapters where he himself is obviously scared at the prospect of surviving with no adult help or guidance, we can see this through the way Golding has made Ralph speak and react to the other characters, such as his harshness to another key figure in the book, Piggy.

An example of this is the fact that Ralph continuously tells Piggy to ‘Shut up’. However, when he understands the littluns fear of ‘the beast’, his tone softens and he understands that they need to be protected and looked after to feel safe, this is obvious because he made sure that a bigger child was there to look after them when all of them go on hunts, this shows that they have overcome their instincts to look after only themselves.

However, they overcome the adversity of adjusting to life in fear of ‘the beast’ very well. They adjust everything about the way they were living, moving the fire to their beach instead of leaving it on top of the mountain where they knew the beast was. We can see he is doing this for the protection of everybody as they do it so they ‘needn’t go near-‘. The use of the word ‘needn’t’ in this context shows that Ralph is protecting the group because he’s keeping them out of what they believe to be harm’s way.

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Adversity in 'Lord of the Flies'. (2016, Jul 15). Retrieved from

Adversity in 'Lord of the Flies'
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